A new study published by the Public Library of Science has found that using electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS), better known as e-cigarettes, did not result in any increase in quit rates for combustible cigarettes. The authors of the study concluded that they found “no evidence that ENDS use, within context of the 2015–2016 US regulatory and tobacco/vaping market landscape, helped adult smokers quit at rates higher than smokers who did not use these products. Absent any meaningful changes, ENDS use among adult smokers is unlikely to be a sufficient solution to obtaining a meaningful increase in population quit rates.” The study’s lead researcher, Scott Weaver, PhD, of Georgia State University, noted that “in many instances, they had significantly lower quitting rates.”
According to an article published in MedPage Today, Dr. Weaver cautioned, however, that there is an important caveat to this study. “[E]lectronic cigarettes used when the study subjects were surveyed in 2015 and 2016 tended to deliver lower levels of nicotine than did newer-generation products, like the JUUL brand, that have become best sellers since then. Most of these products did not match the nicotine-delivery profile of a cigarette, and many smokers who tried them told us in surveys that they found them to be insufficient for suppressing nicotine cravings”.
The authors of the study argue that there is still a strong need for products that will deliver nicotine safely and at levels that will encourage and enable smokers to quit. “Our study suggests that use of current ENDS products in real-world conditions does not seem to improve the chances of quitting for smokers, and, under the current landscape, may not be the disruptive technology that increases the population quit rate and reduces the harm of combustibles…additional research is needed to reconcile the divergent literature and monitor the impact of ENDS in an environment of rapidly evolving markets and regulatory policies.”