Research Shows Younger Smokers Use Ecigs to Quit
Electronic cigarettes are not smoking cessation tools, but there have been countless testimonials that verify their effectiveness in kicking the habit, especially among the young and resolute.
According to the a study by the University of Hawaii Cancer Center Prevention and Control Program, those who use e-cigs to wean off cigarettes tend to be younger and more motivated to quit as compared to other smokers.
Included in the survey are certified smokers who have consumed at least 100 cigarettes in their lifetime in the frequency of over three cigarettes per day.
The researchers analyzed each participant’s nicotine dependence, number of quit attempts in the past, and motivation to quit smoking.
Among the respondents observed by Dr. Pallav Pokhrel and Dr. Thaddeus Herzog, approximately 13 percent had tried e-cigarettes as a means of quitting smoking. They are younger both in age and in smoking years compared to other smokers.
Smokers who had used nicotine replacement gum, patches, bupropion, or varenicline were 2-4 times more likely to have also tried using e-cigarettes.
“If e-cigarettes are found to be relatively safer and effective as cessation aids, the appeal that they have for younger adults should be used to enhance smoking cessation among younger smokers,” Dr. Pokhrel said. “Conversely, if e-cigarettes are ineffective as cessation aids and are potentially a risk, strategies need to be developed to help younger smokers find effective cessation aids.”
Tobacco smoking is banned on all city beaches, parks, and bus stops in Honolulu. Electronic cigarettes are still exempted so many smokers are using them on the shore.
Based on demographic information provided by the respondents, the study found that Native Hawaiians were significantly less likely to use electronic cigarettes than Caucasians.
The study also revealed that motivation to quit smoking was higher among those who tried e-cigs than those who tried other nicotine replacement therapy aids.
“We were surprised about the results because we did not know how serious smokers are using electronic cigarettes to quit smoking,” said Dr. Pokhrel.
“Despite the lack of firm evidence regarding safety or effectiveness, e-cigarettes appear to have become cessation aids of choice for some smokers who appear to show a relatively higher motivation to quit smoking,” Dr. Herzog said. “Thus, this study confirms the importance of promptly developing appropriate e-cigarette regulations that address smokers’ use of e-cigarettes as cessation products.”
Still, there is no proof that e-cigs are healthier than cigarettes, less addictive, or even if they really help people quit smoking.
“Well, it is such a new product. There’s still much that’s not known about it. So, we don’t know the long-term safety of e-cigarettes,” said Dr. Herzog. “We also don’t know how effective e-cigarettes are for quitting smoking. We need more, thorough studies about that. So ours is just the first study showing that indeed people are using e-cigarettes to try to quit.”
You can read the entire study on the online and print versions of the American Journal of Public Health.