Electronic cigarettes offer smokers a realistic way to kick their tobacco smoking addiction, according to a story in MedicalXpress citing the results of a new study.
In a report of the study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, scientists at KU Leuven [Katholieke Universiteit, Leuven, Belgium] reported that electronic cigarettes successfully reduced cravings for tobacco cigarettes, with only minimal side effects.
MedicalXpress described electronic cigarettes as having been developed as a less harmful alternative to tobacco cigarettes.
It said they emulated the experience of smoking a tobacco cigarette even though they contained 100 to 1,000 fewer toxic substances.
In their 8-month study, the KU Leuven scientists examined the effect of using electronic cigarettes on 48 participants, all of whom were smokers with no intention of quitting.
The participants were divided into three groups: two electronic cigarette groups, whose members were allowed to vape and smoke tobacco cigarettes for the first two months of the study, and a control group whose members had access only to tobacco. In a second phase of the study, the control group was given electronic cigarettes and all participants were monitored for a period of six months via a web tool.
At the end of the 8-month study, 21 percent of all participants had stopped smoking tobacco entirely, something that was verified with a CO test, and 23 percent reported cutting the number of tobacco cigarettes they smoked per day by half.
Across all three groups, the number of tobacco cigarettes smoked per day decreased by 60 percent.
“With guidance on practical use, many smokers could use electronic cigarettes delivering nicotine to reduce their smoking or quit altogether, said Professor Frank Baeyens and postdoctoral researcher Dinska Van Gucht of the Psychology of Learning and Experimental Psychopathology Unit. “E-cig users get the experience of smoking a cigarette and inhale nicotine vapor, but do not suffer the damaging effects of a tobacco cigarette,” they said.
Electronic cigarettes with nicotine are banned in Belgium.
The text of the study is available here.