Electronic e-cigarettes’ can improve the success rate of people trying to quit smoking by 60pc compared with nicotine patches and gum, or relying on will power alone, research has shown.
The findings follow a survey of 5,863 smokers who attempted to stop smoking without the aid of prescription medication or professional support.
Of those using e-cigarettes, a fifth reported having quit “real” cigarettes at the time the study was carried out.
The research, carried out in England, suggests that e-cigarettes could play a positive role in reducing smoking rates, say experts.
Study leader Professor Robert West, from University College, London, said: “E-cigarettes could substantially improve public health because of their widespread appeal and the huge health gains associated with stopping smoking.
“However, we should also recognise that the strongest evidence remains for use of stop-smoking services. These almost triple a smoker’s odds of successfully quitting compared with going it alone or relying on over-the-counter products.”
The same team, chiefly funded by Cancer Research UK, also found that most e-cigarette use involved cigalike’ products rather than newer devices that use refillable cartridges and a wider choice of nicotine concentrations and flavours.