Compared to Nicotine Replacement Therapy, e-cigarettes Increases the Likelihood of Quitting: Study


According to studies released lately, those who use nicotine e-cigarettes are more likely to stop smoking than people who use nicotine replacement therapy.

Jamie Hartmann-Boyce, MA, DPhil, assistant professor of health policy and promotion in the School of Public Health and Health Sciences at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, told Healio that while vaping (using e-cigarettes) is not risk free, it is far less damaging than smoking. “Evidence from well-conducted randomized controlled trials [RCTs] demonstrates that nicotine e-cigarettes are more successful than nicotine replacement therapies in helping people quit smoking.”

Hartmann-Boyce and colleagues examined the differences in 6-month smoking abstinence between e-cigarettes, nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), non-nicotine e-cigarettes, and behavioral support/no treatment in this update of a living systematic review. In 2022, this review was last updated.

Researchers searched MEDLINE, Embase, PsycINFO, and the Cochrane Tobacco Addiction Group’s Specialized Register through February 2023 in order to locate pertinent studies.

Through Issue 6 of CENTRAL 2023, researchers additionally consulted, the WHO International Clinical Trials Registry Platform, and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials.

Since the 2022 update, 10 of the 88 trials/studies (n = 27,235; 47 RCTs) that were included in this analysis have been published.

Ten trials had a low risk of bias, while more than half of the trials (58 studies) had a high risk of bias. The researchers did not know if there was a possibility of bias in the remaining investigations.

A total of seven trials (n = 2,544) compared nicotine replacement treatment with e-cigarettes. Researchers discovered strong evidence of increased quit rates associated with nicotine e-cigarette usage between the two treatments (RR = 1.59; 95% CI, 1.29-1.93). This might mean four more people successfully quit for every 100.

In five of the trials (n = 2,052), researchers also discovered a similar rate of adverse events between those using e-cigarettes and those using NRT (RR = 1.03; 95% CI, 0.91-1.17), which was backed by moderate certainty evidence.

The evidence available at the time of the evaluation of significant adverse occurrences between the two groups of people was insufficient to draw any conclusions about this result. Notably, researchers found that rarely did participants from any trial arm report these occurrences.

Comparison of e-cigarettes with and without nicotine.

Researchers discovered higher quit rates with nicotine e-cigarettes (RR = 1.46; 95% CI, 1.09-1.96) using six studies (n = 1,613) that compared the rates of cessation between non-nicotine e-cigarette users and users of nicotine e-cigarettes. This could imply three more quitters per 100. Notably, the data supporting this outcome was only moderately certain.

As a living systematic review, Hartmann-Boyce explained, “we are constantly looking for new evidence and regularly updating the review.” “When viewed from that angle, the findings align well with the picture that has been developing over the last five years or so — that is, the proof that e-cigarettes containing nicotine can assist individuals in quitting is unequivocal.”