Vaping helps smokers quit – even if they don’t want to, new study finds.
Vaping helps smokers quit – even if they do not want to, new research suggests. Some 17 per cent of e-cigarette users once enjoyed smoking and had no intention of quitting, a study found today.
Lead author Dr Caitlin Notley, from the University of East Anglia, said: ‘They hadn’t intended to quit smoking and had tried vaping on a whim, or because they had been offered it by friends.
‘They went on to like it and only then saw it as a potential substitute for smoking.’
Around 2.9 million people vape in the UK, while 15 percent of adults use e-cigarettes in the US.
Vapers interviewed by researchers for the study, were asked how long they used e-cigarettes, their favourite flavours and why they took up the habit, as well as about their previous attempts to quit smoking.
Dr Notley said: ‘We found that vaping may support long-term smoking abstinence.
‘Not only does it substitute many of the physical, psychological, social and cultural elements of cigarette smoking, but it is pleasurable in its own right, as well as convenient and cheaper than smoking. ‘Our study group also felt better in themselves – they noticed better respiratory function, taste and smell.
‘But the really interesting thing we found was that vaping may also encourage people who don’t even want to stop smoking, to eventually quit.’ Results further suggest that although most vapers ditch cigarettes for good, some still occasionally indulge due to ‘social or emotional reasons’.
Alison Cox, Director of Cancer Prevention at Cancer Research UK, which funded the study, added: ‘The evidence so far shows that e-cigarettes are far safer than tobacco. ‘(some) E-cigarettes do still contain nicotine which is addictive, but it’s not responsible for the major harms of smoking. This is why they have great potential as an aid to help people quit smoking for good. ‘It’s great to see this early indication that e-cigarettes could encourage smokers who weren’t originally thinking of quitting to give up.
‘But more research is needed to understand exactly how e-cigarettes are being used by people who don’t want to stop smoking and how often this results in quitting.’