Study finds e-cigarettes least helpful way to quit smoking

Reporter: Amy Oshier Writer: Derrick Shaw
Published: Updated:

A long-term study shows e-cigarettes are not providing the smallest benefit many smokers hoped for.

It’s widely thought swapping traditional cigarettes for electronic ones is a good way for people to get off of smoking. But it turns out, it is the least effective form of smoking cessation, lagging behind all the tried-and-true methods.

Lee Health Pulmonologist Shyam Kapadia is extinguishing the notion that e-cigarettes serve as a bridge to kick the habit.

“A recent study came out that 9.9% of the people that picked up an e-cigarette in efforts to try to quit smoking ended up still smoking cigarettes after about 12 months,” said Dr. Shyam Kadapadia, a pulmonologist and critical care specialist at Lee Health.

The reason is that the components that make cigarettes so addictive and harmful are found in e-cigarettes.

“Some of those methods are pharmaceutical. Others are in the form of nicotine replacements such as patches or gums. Finally, cold turkey is always the best method. But you don’t want to pick up one bad habit for another such as e-cigarettes,” Kapadia said. “These E-cigarettes contain nicotine. They contain carcinogens, tin, nickel, and these things are lodged into your lungs.”

Still, e-cig sales are strong, about $3.8 billion in the U.S. in 2018. And the market is continuing to expand.

“It’s just easier to vape than to smoke cigarettes,” said smoker Thomas Schumate. “It at least helps them not smoke the cigarettes. They’ll just smoke the vapes but who knows if it’s better for them or not.”

Schumate and Michael Carnery fit into the target demo of E-cigarette consumers. In their friend group of young adults, many are snubbing cigarettes in favor of vaping.

“Some of them have done it to try to quit because they were on cigarettes and some people think it’s better than cigarettes,” Carney said.

Further inflaming the situation, a growing number of young people are bypassing cigarettes and going straight to vaping.

Health officials are closely watching to see whether last year’s ban on the sale of flavored e-cigarette products to teens will impact future habits.

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