A recent analysis of over 300 clinical trials involving more than 150,000 adult smokers worldwide has found that nicotine e-cigarettes, or vapes, are among the best tools to help people quit smoking. The study also identified two medications, varenicline and cytisine, as highly effective in aiding smoking cessation. The success rates of these interventions were closely followed by those of dual nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), which involves using two aids simultaneously, such as a nicotine patch and gum or lozenges.
The research, published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, aims to provide clarity on the relative effectiveness of these stop-smoking aids. Lead study author, Nicola Lindson, stated that while e-cigarettes, varenicline, and cytisine were found to be the most successful interventions, only e-cigarettes are widely available at present. Varenicline is accessible in the U.S., but not in many other countries due to recent shortages. Cytisine, meanwhile, is only licensed in select countries in eastern and central Europe, western Asia, and Canada. However, it is currently in late-stage clinical trials in the U.S.
On average, the study found that 14 out of 100 people attempting to quit smoking were successful for at least six months using e-cigarettes, varenicline, or cytisine. This compares to 12 out of 100 for dual NRT, 9 out of 100 for single NRT, and 6 out of 100 who did not use any stop-smoking aids.
Despite these findings, the study emphasized the need for further data on the long-term consequences of using these aids beyond the initial six-to-12-month timeframe. Additionally, there is ongoing research into the potential environmental impact of e-cigarettes and their use by individuals who have never smoked.
In summary, the research highlights the effectiveness of nicotine e-cigarettes and medications in smoking cessation. The authors recommend that individuals who have already smoked should consider using e-cigarettes to quit, as they are believed to be significantly safer than smoking. However, it is advised that individuals who have never smoked refrain from using e-cigarettes.
– Nicotine e-cigarettes, or vapes: handheld devices that deliver nicotine via an aerosol
– Varenicline: a medication commonly used to aid smoking cessation
– Cytisine: a medication licensed in select countries to assist with quitting smoking
– Dual nicotine replacement therapy (NRT): using two nicotine aids simultaneously for smoking cessation