An insightful study, published by the New England Journal of Medicine in February 2019, compared the effectiveness of e-cigarettes, versus other nicotine replacement therapies, in helping smokers quit combustible cigarettes. While we’ve already discussed some of the elements addressed in this study in a recent blog post, there are still a few advancements and details that are worth noting.
A summary of the study
A UK-based study was conducted on 866 randomly assigned adults who were involved in the NHS stop-smoking services — a free program designed to help smokers work towards their quitting date. The group was split up into two separate sub-groups — those who were assigned a traditional nicotine replacement therapy and those who were assigned an e-cigarette starter kit. Each participant was given a three-month supply, information on their assigned products and future recommendations on which flavors and strengths would be best suited for their lifestyle. Weekly behavioral support was also provided for the first four weeks.
The objective was to observe those who remained abstinent from conventional cigarettes for an entire year and note whether they were using traditional nicotine replacement therapies or e-cigarettes. Data was then gathered through three National Health Service (NHS) sites over the course of a two-and-a-half-year period (May 2015 to February 2018).
What were some additional details of the study?
- The group that was selected to use traditional nicotine replacement therapies were offered a wide range of available products, including the patch, gum, lozenges, nasal spray, an inhaler, mouth spray, mouth strips and micro tabs and were able to select whichever product(s) they preferred.
- Combining nicotine replacement therapies was encouraged, with the use of the patch along with an oral product being the typical choice.
- Participants using traditional nicotine replacement therapies were able to mix things up and change their products throughout the course of the study. The e-cigarette participants were also able to mix up strengths and flavors.
Review from an expert physician about the study:
Thomas Houston, M.D., of Dublin, Ohio thought the study was conducted and designed very well. He noted that although e-cigarettes came out on top, with almost double the success rate, in the real-world those who vape usually do not have regular counseling to help them overcome their dependencies.
What are your thoughts on the recent e-cig study? Drop a comment below to start a conversation.