Published: Sat, February 02, 2019
Health Care | By Cedric Leonard

Anti-smoking advocates: Florida needs to do more to reduce tobacco use

Anti-smoking advocates: Florida needs to do more to reduce tobacco use

TAMPA, USA - E-cigarettes are twice as effective as nicotine patches or gum at helping people quit smoking traditional cigarettes, according to major British study Wednesday, January 30, involving almost 900 people.

The researchers analyzed data from three waves of the nationally representative Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH) Study (2013-2016) in their effort to evaluate the association between prior e-cigarette use and use of other non-cigarette tobacco products with later cigarette initiation over a roughly 2-year period.

The debate over the potential harms and benefits of vaping has raged on for years.

Extrapolating their data, the researchers estimated that 820,414 youths had smoked a cigarette over the examined years, with almost 180,000 of those having used e-cigarettes previously.

At the same time, there have been conflicting studies on whether e-cigarettes actually help smokers kick the habit.

E-cigarettes have no tobacco, but contain nicotine-laced liquids that the user inhales in a vapor.

They addressed the possible long-term safety issues, saying that people's continued use of e-cigarettes "can be seen as problematic if e-cigarette use for a year signals ongoing long-term use, which may pose as-yet-unknown health risks".

"By removing cigarette users at the beginning, this design may overlook youth who started with e-cigarettes and already made the transition to cigarette smoking", she said.

"We only support methods that are FDA approved and regulated". Peter Hajek of Queen Mary University of London describes a randomized trial comparing smokers attempting to quit using a vaping product with others using NRT. To objectively measure their progress, they also had their breathing levels of carbon monoxide (a common toxin in cigarette smoke that lingers in exhaled air) monitored.

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Jamie Hartmann-Boyce, a behavioral expert at Britain's Oxford University, said the study adds to growing evidence that e-cigarettes can improve health by helping smokers quit. And even though the study participants who attempted to quit by vaping were given the choice of just one product, the results were impressive.

The researchers didn't test e-cigarettes against new drugs such as Pfizer's Chantix, which has shown higher rates of success than older nicotine-based treatments.

"This is great news for cigarette smokers who want to quit", said Richard Miech, from the University of MI in the United States who has studied e-cigarettes but was not involved in this trial. These devices now often have more nicotine and come in a more convenient form than the first-generation vaping devices.

Electronic cigarettes, which have been available in the USA since about 2007 and have grown into a $6.6 billion-a-year industry, are battery-powered devices that typically heat a flavored nicotine solution into an inhalable vapor.

Those given e-cigarettes were encouraged to buy future supplies of their own choice of strengths and flavours, and all participants received weekly one-on-one behavioural support for at least four weeks.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more about e-cigarettes and teenagers. "That's not to say it couldn't be an effective cessation device, but we're just not there yet".

Myers' group is one of several anti-smoking organizations suing the FDA to immediately begin reviewing e-cigarettes. The other thing it does is show that the magnitude of risk is even higher for those at low risk for using cigarettes.

"We know that if we can keep our youth from starting to smoke, and particularly over the age of 21, we know that they're not likely to become addicted to the substance, and they're not likely to become regular, daily smokers", Strother said.

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