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Do e-cigarettes undermine desire to quit smoking?

E-cigarettes appeared to reduce smokers’ motivation to quit. When their use of e-cigarettes was taken into account, exposure to other people using e-cigarettes appeared to have little impact on how motivated smokers were to stop, and whether they made a recent quit attempt.

health Updated: Nov 14, 2018 15:12 IST
Asian News International
Asian News International
Asian News International
E-cigarettes seemingly reduce a smoker’s motivation to smoke
E-cigarettes seemingly reduce a smoker’s motivation to smoke(Photo by Marcus P. on Unsplash)
         

Trying to quit smoking? Spend time with people who use e-cigarettes.

The University College London research has found that smokers who were regularly exposed to vapers (as opposed to other smokers) were around 20 percent more likely to have reported both a high current motivation to quit and made a recent quit attempt.

The findings have been published in BMC Medicine.

“Our results found no evidence that spending time with vapers discourages smokers from quitting, which should help to alleviate concerns about the wider public health impact of e-cigarettes,” said the study’s lead author, Dr Sarah Jackson.

Around a quarter (25.8 percent) of smokers in the study said they regularly spent time with vapers. Of these, around a third (32.3 percent) had made an attempt to quit smoking in the previous year - a higher rate than was observed among smokers who did not regularly spend time with vapers (26.8 percent).

“A key factor driving these differences may be that smokers who are regularly exposed to e-cigarette use by others are more likely to use e-cigarettes themselves. When smokers’ own use of e-cigarettes was taken into account, exposure to other people using e-cigarettes appeared to have little impact on how motivated smokers were to stop, and whether they made a recent quit attempt,” explained Dr Jackson.

E-cigarettes are estimated to be around 95 percent safer than smoking tobacco, according to Public Health England. The authors say the findings should offer some reassurance in terms of the wider public health impact of e-cigarettes, particularly given evidence that the alternative, cigarette smoking, appeared to reduce other smokers’ motivation to quit.

Kruti Shrotri, Cancer Research UK’s tobacco control expert, said: “So far, there hasn’t been much evidence about whether e-cigarettes might make smoking tobacco seem normal again. So it’s encouraging to see that mixing with people who vape is actually motivating smokers to quit. As the number of people who use e-cigarettes to quit smoking rises, we hope that smokers who come into contact with them are spurred on to give up tobacco for good.”

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First Published: Nov 14, 2018 15:11 IST