Electronic cigarettes may have helped about 18,000 people in England to give up smoking last year and there is no evidence of any serious side effects associated with their use for up to two years, according to studies published on Tuesday.
Researchers at University College London (UCL) analysed the latest data on smoking and quitting in England – including details on smokers who worked with the health-worker devised Stop Smoking Services to set a quit date.
While they found no direct evidence that e-cigarettes prompted more people to make the decision to try and quit, the team did find that as more people used e-cigarettes, more people also successfully stopped smoking.
In a separate scientific analysis also published on Tuesday, researchers at the Cochrane Review found that the overall weight of evidence on e-cigarettes suggests they can help people stop smoking and have no serious side-effects.
E-cigarettes, which heat nicotine-laced liquid into vapour, have rapidly grown into a global market for “vaping” products that was estimated at around $7 billion in 2015.
Unlike nicotine chewing gum and patches, they mimic the experience of cigarette smoking because they are hand-held and generate a smoke-like vapour.
Tobacco smoking kills half of all those who indulge, plus at least another 600,000 non-smokers a year via second-hand smoke. This makes it the world’s biggest preventable killer, with a predicted death toll of a billion by the end of the century, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
Many public health specialists think e-cigarettes, or vapes, which do not contain tobacco, are a lower-risk alternative to smoking, but some question their long-term safety.
Experts estimate that around 2.8 million people in the UK use e-cigarettes and they have become the nation’s most popular smoking cessation aid.
130 total views, 1 views today