Electronic Cigarettes for Smoking Cessation
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Electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) are novel vaporising devices that, similar to nicotine replacement treatments, deliver nicotine but in lower amounts and less swiftly than tobacco smoking. However, they enjoy far greater popularity than these medications due in part to their behaviour replacement characteristics. Evidence for their efficacy as cessation aids, based on several randomised trials of now obsolete e-cigarettes, suggests a modest effect equivalent to nicotine patch. E-cigarettes are almost certainly far less harmful than tobacco smoking, but the health effects of long-term use are as yet unknown. Dual use is common and almost as harmful as usual smoking unless it leads to quitting. Population effects, such as re-normalising smoking behaviour, are a concern. Clinicians should be knowledgeable about these products. If patients who smoke are unwilling to quit or cannot succeed using evidence-based approaches, e-cigarettes may be an option to be considered after discussing the limitations of current knowledge.
KeywordsElectronic cigarettes E-cigarettes Tobacco Nicotine Smoking Cessation Harm reduction Dependence
Compliance with Ethics Guidelines
Conflict of Interest
Chris Bullen declares he has received in-kind support from the manufacturer of a smoking cessation medication for giving a guest lecture but has no other conflict of interest.
Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent
This article contains reference to studies the author conducted with human participants, all who gave informed consent and were conducted with appropriate ethical review. No animal subjects were involved in studies performed by the author.
Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance
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