An Australian study suggests that e cigarettes don’t have a big impact on public health.
Key points:The study found that the number of smokers in the United States who have tried e cigarettes fell from 16.5% to 13.4% between 2008 and 2012The study looked at people aged 18-24 in the US and found that e cigarette use dropped by 6.2% from the year 2000 to 2012.
The authors, from the University of New South Wales, said the data showed e cigarettes were no more effective than cigarettes as a smoking cessation tool.
They said the study showed e cigs were less effective than conventional cigarettes in reducing smoking rates and quitting, and that the lack of efficacy made them unsuitable for long-term use.
They found that about three-quarters of people who had tried e cig and quit smoking had smoked conventional cigarettes for the same amount of time, with about half of them having tried a conventional cigarette in the same period.
The study also showed that a small proportion of smokers reported a desire to try e cigarettes.
They were asked if they ever smoked traditional cigarettes and whether they ever tried an e cigarette.
The majority of respondents said they never had tried an electronic cigarette, with the remaining two-thirds saying they had tried one.
They also looked at the proportion of people reporting smoking in the past week, and found e cigarette smokers were more likely to report that they had smoked in the previous week than non-e cigarette smokers.
“The results indicate that e cig use in the U.S. is not a particularly effective method of smoking cessation,” the authors wrote in the study.
“It may be that e-cigarettes are less effective at reducing the use of tobacco, and therefore less effective in terms of smoking prevention.”
E-cigarettes may have an impact on people quitting, but their health impacts are unclear, the study said.
It found that a significant proportion of non-smokers who had been using e cig for at least a year and who were smoking conventional cigarettes reported that they felt “less” or “negative” about the use, and many of them reported feeling they had “taken a risk”.
Dr Sarah Crouch, an associate professor of health policy at Sydney University, said while the study was not conclusive, it did show that e smoke was more harmful than conventional cigarette smoke, as people were trying to quit using the nicotine.
“What this study shows is that there’s no evidence that e Cigarettes are as effective as conventional cigarettes at quitting,” Dr Crouch said.
“There is some evidence that they’re more harmful in terms that they don’t deliver a very long lasting effect.”
Dr Crouch also said there was no evidence to support claims that e nicotine could be used as a substitute for conventional cigarettes.
“One of the criticisms of e cig is that they tend to be more expensive and more dangerous,” she said.
“There’s no clear evidence that the costs associated with vaping outweigh the health benefits.”
Dr Paul O’Connell, an expert on tobacco control at the Australian National University, is not convinced that the data was conclusive.
“You’re still looking at a very small sample of smokers who are likely to be at greater risk than non smokers,” he said.
Dr O’Connor said it was important to note that the proportion who said they had been “smoking for a long time” was a very narrow one, and so it was difficult to say what impact the study had on that.
“If we were to compare it with people who have smoked for a shorter period of time to those who have never smoked, it’s likely to produce more adverse effects,” he explained.
The research was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.