More Than 90 Percent Of Smokers Using E-cigarettes Still Smoking A Year Later
Users of e-cigarettes and other electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) in the United States are no more likely to quit smoking cigarettes than people who don’t use such devices, according to a study by a group of tobacco researchers at the School of Public Health at Georgia State University.
The researchers found “no evidence” that ENDS as they have been marketed and used in the U.S. are effective at helping smokers quit at a population level, despite anecdotal reports that some smokers have found them useful.
“Absent any meaningful changes, ENDS use among adult smokers is unlikely to be a sufficient solution to obtaining a meaningful increase in population quit rates,” the authors wrote in a newly released article in the journal PLOS ONE. “We observed no instance where ENDS users were more likely to quit (smoking cigarettes) than non-ENDS users.”
At the end of the one-year study, the researchers found 90 percent of “dual users” (people who used ENDS and traditional cigarettes at the start of the study) were still smoking. Among the dual users, nearly 54 percent were smoking cigarettes as well as using ENDS after a year, and more than 37 percent were still smoking cigarettes but had stopped using ENDS.
The researchers also found that users of e-cigarettes and related products were more likely to try to quit smoking, but those attempts did not translate into greater success. Even study participants who said they were using ENDS to help them stop smoking (a majority of ENDS users) were less likely to manage to quit than those who did not use the devices.
“Many smokers are using ENDS in their smoking quit attempts, but these devices may not be providing a sufficiently satisfying nicotine delivery and overall user experience to completely supplant their smoking,” Weaver said. “Coordinated regulation aimed at improving the appeal and satisfaction of ENDS available to smokers, while reducing the nicotine levels in combustible tobacco products to non-addictive levels may be necessary for ENDS to have a meaningful role in reducing the staggering public health burden of smoking.”
The study analyzed the responses of 858 smokers who participated in an initial survey in late 2015 and a follow-up a year later as part of a national, online panel conducted by marketing research institute GfK.