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Latest Vaping Health Facts 2024

The Research Evolution of Vaping as a Smoking Cessation Aid

The landscape of smoking cessation has transformed significantly with the advent of vaping. Research and expert recommendations have converged to provide a robust foundation for the use of vaping as a safer and more effective alternative to traditional nicotine replacement therapies (NRT). 

Safety and Regulatory Assurance

The National Centre for Smoking Cessation and Training (NCSCT) emphasises that the primary objective is to assist individuals in transitioning from smoking to vaping, thereby reducing the harm associated with tobacco use. This stance is supported by the stringent regulations in the UK that ensure the safety and quality of vaping products. Consumers are advised to purchase only from recognised and reputable retailers, ensuring they benefit from these high standards.

Neil O’Brien OBE, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Primary Care and Public Health, highlights that vapes used for smoking cessation over a period of up to two years are no more hazardous than licensed medicines. This reassurance is pivotal for those considering vaping as a cessation method. (NCSCT Vaping Briefing)

Research-Backed Effectiveness

The 2022 Cochrane Review provides compelling evidence that nicotine-containing e-cigarettes are more effective than NRT in helping individuals quit smoking for at least six months. 

nicotine-containing e-cigarettes as a first-choice stop smoking aid and recommended that people who smoke and want to quit should be advised that nicotine-containing e-cigarettes, when combined with behavioural support, are more likely to result in them successfully stopping smoking.

2021 NICE Guidance

Study of Vaping vs. NRT in Smoking Cessation

Research comparing vaping with traditional nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) has provided significant insights into the effectiveness of these methods in aiding smoking cessation. Among vapers, the primary motivations are to quit smoking (22%) and to prevent relapse (16%). Both vaping and NRT aim to provide nicotine to the body, mimicking the intake previously obtained from smoking.

Groundbreaking Research: The 2019 RCT

Until recently, comprehensive research on the effectiveness of vaping within local stop-smoking services was scarce. However, this was changed by a pivotal randomised controlled trial (RCT) in 2019. This study recruited 888 smokers from stop-smoking services in London, Leicester, and East Sussex. Participants willing to try either method were randomly assigned to receive either their choice of NRT, including combination therapies (447 participants), or a vaping starter pack with a refillable device and e-liquid (439 participants). All participants received standard weekly behavioural support.

Key Findings

The study yielded several critical findings:

Higher Quit Rates: One year sustained quit rates, verified by carbon monoxide (CO) readings, were significantly higher in the vape group (18%) compared to the NRT group (10%). When excluding participants who switched products, quit rates were 18% for vapers versus 8% for NRT users.

Continued Use: Participants who quit smoking with vapes were more likely to continue using their product after one year than those in the NRT group (80% vs. 9%).

Reduced Urges and Discomfort: Vape users experienced fewer urges to smoke and less withdrawal discomfort.

Cigarette Reduction: Among those who did not quit smoking, participants in the vape group reduced their cigarette consumption by more than 50%, significantly more than those in the NRT group.

Health Improvements: Vapers reported a greater reduction in coughs and phlegm production compared to those using NRT.

Cost-Effectiveness: Vaping was found to be more effective and less costly than NRT, making it a more economical option for smoking cessation.

Supporting Evidence

These findings align with recent Cochrane Reviews, which present strong evidence that vaping helps people quit smoking more effectively than traditional NRT such as patches and gum. Additionally, data from NHS Digital for 2022-23 indicate that vapes were used in 14% of quit attempts within stop smoking services. Of those using vapes exclusively, 59% reported quitting after four weeks, compared to 54% for those using only NRT.

This real-world evidence further demonstrates the popularity and effectiveness of vaping as a smoking cessation tool, reinforcing the view that vaping is a viable and efficient method to help individuals quit smoking.

Health and Economic Benefits

The advantages of switching to vaping extend beyond smoking cessation. Participants in the vaping group of the 2019 study reported a significant reduction in coughs and phlegm production compared to those using NRT. Additionally, vaping proved to be a more cost-effective solution due to its higher efficacy and lower costs.

The Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) survey published in 2023 reveals that 9.1% of the adult population in Great Britain vape, with over half of these individuals having successfully quit smoking. This data highlights the growing acceptance and effectiveness of vaping as a cessation tool.

Collaborative Efforts and Real-World Impact

The NCSCT encourages local commissioners to collaborate with vape shops, enhancing the support network for individuals looking to quit smoking. This initiative, coupled with the findings from NHS Digital that vapes were used in 14% of quit attempts in 2022-23, underscores the real-world impact and popularity of vaping.

The evidence supporting vaping as a safer and more effective method to quit smoking is robust and growing. With continued research and support from health organisations, vaping stands out as a beacon of hope for those seeking to escape the clutches of tobacco addiction. By adhering to UK regulations and leveraging support from reputable sources, individuals can confidently turn to vaping as a viable path to a healthier, smoke-free life.

SourceVape Blog
Sophie Turner
Sophie Turner
Sophie Turner, our Vape Health writer, has been a dedicated vaper for the last six years and is a passionate freelance writer. A fitness enthusiast who enjoys yoga and endurance cycling in her spare time, Sophie brings her enthusiasm for health and well-being into her writing for the Vape Blog. Her articles offer a unique perspective, exploring the intersection of vaping with wellness and personal growth and emphasising the importance of lifestyle balance.
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