New research has found that electronic cigarettes are 60 percent more effective at helping cigarette addicts kick their habit than nicotine gum, the patch or going cold turkey, reports The Daily Mail.
Researchers at the University of London monitored nearly 6,000 smokers over five years who attempted to quit traditional cigarettes without the aid of prescription medication or professional support.
Their findings, published in the journal Addict, suggest that e-cigarettes could have a profound impact on smoking reduction rates and therefor dramatically reduce tobacco-related deaths.
Leader of the study, Professor Robert West, from University College London, explained to The Daily Mail that the devices have great potential to benefit public health, “E-cigarettes could substantially improve public health because of their widespread appeal and the huge health gains associated with stopping smoking.”
Professor West addressed concerns from some members of the health community and policy makers that e-cigarettes will “re-normalize’” smoking.
He told The Daily Mail that at the moment there is no reason to fear an uptick in the use of tobacco cigarettes, “we are tracking this very closely and see no evidence of it,” said West.
In fact, he added, “Smoking rates in England are declining, quitting rates are increasing and regular e-cigarette use among never smokers is negligible.”
Because the e-cigarette industry is relatively new, there have not been any conclusive studies on the long-term impact of using the devices, but West says it is already clear that e-cigarettes are much safer than their tobacco alternative.
Despite anecdotal and now hard evidence that e-cigarettes can help curb smoking habits, Senate Democrats have been leading a campaign in the US to push tighter regulations on the devices.
Referring to the variety of nicotine flavors e-cigarettes offer, Illinois Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin and five of his colleagues called the devices “candy flavored poison” in a letter to the Food and Drug Administration. They drafted a bill that aimed to restrict the use, sale and advertising of the product.
This past April, the FDA became involved in the debate and announced its plans to exert authority over the industry.
The proposed regulations — now going through a period of public comment — would limit the sale of the devices to youths, mandate ingredient disclosure, federal approval of warning labels, but do not prohibit fruit or candy-like flavors, Internet sales to adults, or TV marketing — unless they make health claims.
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