by Kevin Peters

Kicking the habit

New technology may not be the answer to quit smoking

New technology may not be the answer to quit smoking
Kicking the habit

The effectiveness of e-cigarettes in helping smokers kick their habit has been called into question recently after a study found smokers who used them were actually less likely to stop smoking than those who didn't.

The study questioned 2 500 people trying to quit smoking who phoned into smoking cessation hotlines and followed up with these participants again seven months later. 

Results revealed that around 31% of those who didn't use e-cigarettes were tobacco-free after the seven months, but quitting success was only achieved by 21% of e-cigarette users.

E-cigarettes are often touted to be a good nicotine replacement method for those hoping to quit. The electronic device produces vapourised nicotine.

According to the researchers, one-third of smokers used e-cigarettes at some point during the study to kick their habit and about 9% were frequently using them at the time of the follow-up.

Study researcher Katrina Vickerman said that many factors could determine why a smoker would use e-cigarettes, including that they have struggled to quit in the past and using e-cigarettes presents a new way for them to try quitting. However, there is very little research around whether or not using e-cigarettes is an effective method of giving up smoking for good.

Critics say that the long-term health effects of inhaling nicotine vapour are unclear and further research is required. 

Research has shown that the amount of chemicals detected in the vapour of e-cigarettes is still 1 000 times lower than compared to tobacco smoke, according to Dr Michael Siegel, a professor of community health sciences at the Boston University School of Public Health.

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