Vaping helps people stop smoking – and can even encourage them to quit when they aren’t looking to do so, according to new research from the UK’s University of East Anglia (UAE).
In a piece on the eurekalert.org website, the University said its study had shown that smokers who switched to vaping might be better able [than those using other quit methods] to stay smoke-free in the long term.
It had shown, too, that even people who weren’t looking to stop smoking had eventually quit because they found vaping more enjoyable than smoking.
“E-cigarettes are at least 95 percent less harmful than tobacco smoking, and they are now the most popular aid to quitting smoking in the UK,” said lead researcher Dr. Caitlin Notley of the UEA’s Norwich Medical School.
“However, the idea of using e-cigarettes to stop smoking, and particularly long-term use, remains controversial.”
The research team carried out in-depth interviews with 40 vapers and, in doing so, found that vaping might support long-term smoking abstinence.
“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,” said Notley. “Our study group also felt better in themselves – they noticed better respiratory function, taste and smell.
“But the really interesting thing we found was that vaping may also encourage people who don’t even want to stop smoking, to eventually quit.”
While most of the sample group reported long histories of tobacco smoking and multiple previous quit attempts, a minority (17 percent) said they enjoyed smoking and had never seriously attempted to quit.
“These were our accidental quitters,” said Dr Notley. “They hadn’t intended to quit smoking and had tried vaping on a whim, or because they had been offered it by friends. They went on to like it, and only then saw it as a potential substitute for smoking.”
“Many people talked about how they saw vaping …as a no pressure approach to quitting,” she said.