Vaping can help smokers quit, even hardened smokers who need it, even if they do not want to stop smoking. Also, smokers who make the switch might even be better off in the long term and not relapse when they start vaping instead.
A new study conducted by the University of East Anglia (UEA) found that people who switched from cigarettes to vape pens actually found it more enjoyable and this is one of the reasons why it can effectively replace smoking. Lead researcher Dr Caitlin Notley of the UEA, on the habit of vaping, or using electronic cigarettes said that they, "are at least 95 per cent less harmful than tobacco smoking, and they are now the most popular aid to quitting smoking in the UK.
"However", she added, "the idea of using e-cigarettes to stop smoking, and particularly long-term use, remains controversial.
"We wanted to find out about how people use e-cigarettes to quit smoking- and whether vaping supports long-term smoking abstinence."
Researchers studied 40 vapers, notes a release, and grilled them about their history with tobacco, their attempts to kick the habit as well as how they made the switch to vaping instead. Going through their entire journey from when they decided to start, their setup, and what they vaped, including flavour, strength, and asked them why they switched. The researchers wanted to find out if the vapers moved away from cigarettes purely to stop smoking or if there was any other motivation.
"We found that vaping may support long-term smoking abstinence," said Notley.
"Not only does it substitute many of the physical, psychological, social and cultural elements of cigarette smoking, but it is pleasurable in its own right, as well as convenient and cheaper than smoking."
Researchers found that people who went from cigarettes to e cigarettes actually had better respiratory function, as well as improved sense of taste and smell since they stopped smoking. Having said that, one of the more interesting outcomes of this study, said Notley, was that, vaping moved people to stop smoking, Smokers who "don't even want to stop smoking, to eventually quit."
In the long term, the study found that while some people did relapse into cigarettes, it was only an impulsive decision that could have been because of social or emotional stresses, but even then, they were found to get back to vaping soon after.
In response to the study, Alison Cox, director of cancer prevention at Cancer Research UK, said: "The evidence so far shows that e-cigarettes are far safer than tobacco." Smoking, however, is bad for not only the smoker, it has been found to be harmful for both second and third hand smokers.
A paper titled, 'The unique contribution of e-cigarettes for tobacco harm reduction in supporting smoking relapse prevention' will be published in Harm Reduction Journal.