A landmark study consisting of almost 20,000 smokers has been conducted by scientists at the University College London. The research assesses the effectiveness of Nicotine Replacement Therapies (NRTs) and e-cigarettes in helping smokers Quit. E-cigarettes were shown to be almost three times as effective as NRTs and smokers were 95% more likely to quit with the help of an e-cigarette than if they used nothing at all.

The quitting methods and techniques which were tracked in the study included: e-cigarettes, patches, gum, lozenges and Champix. The success rates of smokers aiming to give up with no cessation aid were also tracked and compared with the various techniques.

The headline take out from the research is that vapers were 95% more likely to be successful than those not using e-cigarettes. Simply put, you’re almost twice as likely to quit with the help of an e-cigarette.

A successful quit attempt was classed as somebody who had not been smoking for at least 12 months. The research also took into consideration factors such as age, social status and previous number of quit attempts.

Dr Jamie Brown, study co-author, commented: ‘It is important that e-cigarettes appeared to be equally effective for smokers of all ages and social backgrounds.

‘Smoking is one of the biggest contributors to health inequality between rich and poor and the growth in e-cigarette use may ultimately start to reduce this gap.’

E-cigs more effective than patches and gum

The effectiveness of Nicotine Replacement Therapies, such as patches and gum, was also measured. These were also shown to increase your chances of quitting compared with going cold turkey, but only by 34%. This therefore shows that e-cigarettes are almost three times as successful as NRTs at helping smokers to quit.

With regards to NRTs, the research also shows that attempts where only successful when the items where prescribed. When bought from a shop they were shown to be as ineffective as going cold turkey.

Dr Sarah Jackson was the lead author on the study, she said:

‘Our study adds to growing evidence that use of e-cigarettes can help smokers to quit.’

She added: ‘It also raises concerns about the apparent lack of effectiveness of NRT bought from a shop.’

The study was funded by Cancer Research UK and the results of the study have now led experts to question whether NRTs are still a worthwhile expense to the taxpayer, particularly when compared with the results from those who quit with the help of an e-cigarette.

Are Nicotine Replacement Therapies still needed?

Whilst Nicotine Replacement Therapies may have seen an increase of 34% in successful attempts, their importance is being scrutinised. Not only did they pale in comparison to e-cigarettes they were also outdone by Champix, which was shown to increase rates by 82%.

The latest research also mirrors previous research led from Professor Peter Hajek, from January, 2019. The previous research also compared e-cigs and NRTs and showed e-cigs to be almost twice as effective.

Experts are now deliberating whether the likes of patches and gum are becoming outdated and unnecessary. Dr Debbie Robson, a tobacco addiction researcher at King’s College London, said:

‘smokers should be wary that NRT ‘may not increase their chances of quitting’.

‘They may well be better off investing in alternative nicotine replacement such as e-cigarettes.’

Experts back research and recommend e-cigarettes

Positive evidence into e-cigarettes is now mounting up and vaping is being increasingly endorsed. Not only have the health benefits been explored in depth, the effectiveness of attempts which see smokers quit with the help of an e-cigarette have also been covered. Health experts have spoken out amid this recent study and have called for change.

Penny Woods, chief executive of the British Lung Foundation, said:

‘This study also provides further evidence that e-cigarettes are an effective quitting tool. The choice to switch to e-cigarettes must be made easier.

‘Doctors and pharmacists should be very clear there’s a range of quitting tools available including e-cigarettes, and smokers can try vaping as a way to quit.’

Martin Dockrell, tobacco control lead at PHE, said:

‘This is yet more evidence, adding to a major recent UK trial, that vaping offers some of the most effective help for smokers to quit smoking, especially when combined with expert support.’

If you’re a smoker and want to quit with the help of an e-cigarette, visit our new to vaping page for more information.