Should smoking cessation include electronic cigarettes?

Can electronic cigarettes be used as a smoking cessation aid?

Professors Kenneth Warner and Neal Benowitz, leading American experts on tobacco addiction, have published a new study on the need to rethink smoking cessation, particularly since the advent of e-cigarettes.

K. Warner believes there is sufficient evidence to support the use of e-cigarettes as a first-line smoking cessation aid for adults. “Far too many adults who want to stop smoking fail to do so,” he states. “E-cigarettes are the first new tool to help them in decades. Yet relatively few smokers and health professionals appreciate their potential value.” In the study he publishes, Warner and colleagues take a global view of vaping, examining which countries encourage vaping as a means of smoking cessation and which do not. In the authors’ view, although agencies in the USA and Canada recognize the potential benefits of e-cigarette use, they consider there to be insufficient evidence to recommend the use of e-cigarettes for smoking cessation. In contrast, in the UK and New Zealand, e-cigarettes enjoy a high level of support and promotion as a first-line treatment option for smoking cessation.

For the authors, e-cigarettes are not the miracle solution that will end the devastation caused by cigarettes, but they can contribute to this noble public health goal.

K. Warner & coll. Nicotine e-cigarettes as a tool for smoking cessation. Nat Med. 2023 Mar, 29(3):520-524. DOI: 10.1038/s41591-022-02201-7

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