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E-cigarettes help 18000 people to quit smoking

young woman smoking electronic cigarette

E-cigarettes have been rising in popularity and may have helped 18,000 people in England to quit smoking, says new research published in the British Medical Journal. 

Although there was no evidence that e-cigarettes prompted more people to try and quit, over the time period, as more people used e-cigarettes, more people successfully quit smoking.

Alison Cox, director of prevention at Cancer Research UK, explains: “E-cigarettes can play a role in helping people quit and the evidence so far shows e-cigarettes are much safer than tobacco.”

It is estimated that 2.8 million people in the UK use e-cigarettes, making them the most popular smoking cessation aid in the UK.

However, the most effective way of quitting smoking is still through prescription medication and local Stop Smoking Services. Although less people (450,000 a year) take up these services than those who use e-cigarettes, a smoker that uses a Stop Smoking Service is three times more likely to quit than going cold turkey on their own.

Professor Robert West, Health Behaviour Research Centre at UCL, said: “England is sometimes singled out as being too positive in its attitude to e-cigarettes. These data suggest that our relatively liberal regulation of e-cigarettes is probably justified.”

Alison Cox, director of prevention at Cancer Research UK, said: “Giving up smoking can be really tough. It’s important to remember that getting support from Stop Smoking Services is still the most effective way to quit.

“E-cigarettes can play a role in helping people quit and the evidence so far shows e-cigarettes are much safer than tobacco. This study shows the positive impact they’ve had on helping people give up the deadly addiction.

“We’ll continue to fund research into e-cigarettes to build our understanding, and encourage people to combine the most popular method with the most effective – Stop Smoking Services. But this study reassures us of the promise these products have.”

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