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E-Cigarettes Beat OTC Nicotine Replacement for Helping Smokers Quit — Physician’s First Watch

Medical News |
May 21, 2014

E-Cigarettes Beat OTC Nicotine Replacement for Helping Smokers Quit

By Kelly Young

Electronic cigarettes may be more effective than over-the-counter nicotine replacement therapies for smoking cessation, according to a cross-sectional study in Addiction.

Researchers surveyed nearly 6000 adults in the U.K. who tried to quit smoking at least once in the past year. Those who said they only used e-cigarettes to try to quit had a higher rate of self-reported abstinence (20%) than people who used OTC nicotine replacement therapies (10%) or no smoking cessation aids (15%). The differences remained after adjusting for the level of nicotine dependence.

The authors note that "the evidence still favors the combination of behavioral support and prescription medication as providing the greatest chance of success." But they add that e-cigarettes may "substantially improve public health because of their widespread appeal and the huge health gains associated with stopping smoking."

Editor's note: While the embargo on this study has lifted, the study has not yet been published online. We're providing a link to the journal's Early View page, where the article will eventually appear.

Reader Comments (1)

L.M. Colasanti, MA Other

There are at least three interesting items in this short piece. First, how is it possible to say that "the evidence still favors the combination of behavioral support and prescription medication as providing the greatest chance of success" when the evidence provided suggests otherwise? Second, somewhat related, and at least a bit remarkable, is the fact that OTC NRTs had the lowest rate of self-reported abstinence. {It would be highly informative to compare the relative success rates of OTC NRTs vs. Rx NRTs.} Third, and most disturbing, why on earth is there an "embargo" on this study? I should think an embargo would be reserved for those invading and annexing portions of the Ukraine or those suspected to developing nuclear weapons, not scientific papers.

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