And that even people who didn't want to stop smoking have eventually quit because they found vaping more enjoyable. E-cigarettes contain nicotine, which is the addictive component of cigarettes also, but it's toxic chemicals in smoke that cause the harms of smoking. That is why e-cigarettes have caught on as an aid to help people quit smoking for good, whereas patches and gums are only effective for about 10 percent.
"E-cigarettes are at least 95 per cent less harmful than tobacco smoking, and they are now the most popular aid to quitting smoking in the UK," said lead author Dr. Caitlin Notley from University of East Anglia's Norwich Medical School. "However, the idea of using e-cigarettes to stop smoking, and particularly long-term use, remains controversial. We wanted to find out about how people use e-cigarettes to quit smoking - and whether vaping supports long-term smoking abstinence."
Source: American Council on Science and Health
This was learned by in-depth interviews with 40 vapers. They asked them about their tobacco smoking history and prior quit attempts, and about how they started vaping, their vape set up, preferred flavors and strength, and whether they had switched to vaping in attempt to quit smoking. They also asked them about situations and experiences that caused them to relapse into tobacco smoking.
"We found that vaping may support long-term smoking abstinence," said Notley. "Not only does it substitute many of the physical, psychological, social and cultural elements of cigarette smoking, but it is pleasurable in its own right, as well as convenient and cheaper than smoking. Our study group also felt better in themselves - they noticed better respiratory function, taste and smell. But the really interesting thing we found was that vaping may also encourage people who don't even want to stop smoking, to eventually quit."
While most of the sample group reported long histories of tobacco smoking and multiple previous quit attempts, a minority (17 percent) said they enjoyed smoking and had never seriously attempted to quit.
"These were our accidental quitters," said Notley. "They hadn't intended to quit smoking and had tried vaping on a whim, or because they had been offered it by friends. They went on to like it, and only then saw it as a potential substitute for smoking. Many people talked about how they saw vaping was a no pressure approach to quitting," she added.
While most of the group switched quickly and completely from smoking to vaping, some found themselves using both cigarettes and vaping, and then stopped smoking.
"We found that people did occasionally relapse with a cigarette, mainly due to social or emotional reasons, but it didn't necessarily lead to a full relapse. This study suggests that vaping is a viable long-term substitute for smoking, with substantial implications for tobacco harm reduction," concluded Notley.