Electronic cigarettes as smoking cessation tool: are we there?

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Abstract

Purpose of review

Electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) use is rapidly increasing, with many users reporting trying e-cigarettes as a method to quit combustible cigarettes. This review highlights recently published studies assessing the use of e-cigarettes as a tool for cessation of combustible cigarettes.

Recent findings

When evaluating data from four randomized controlled trials and multiple cohort studies, differential association between e-cigarette use and cessation rates was seen. Cessation rates are highest in UK cohort studies and in studies using a multifaceted approach, such as with the addition of varenicline. The largest evidence base is derived from observational cohort studies. Overall, the current evidence remains too small for conclusive results regarding efficacy of e-cigarettes for combustible cessation. There does appear to be a consistent reduction in daily combustible cigarette use in regular e-cigarette users.

Summary

Currently, there are conflicting data which can be used to support or dismiss e-cigarettes as a tool for smoking cessation. As larger population-based studies become available, the potential harms and benefits of e-cigarettes will become clearer. In the short term, shared decision-making with combustible cigarette users will be imperative when considering e-cigarettes as a smoking cessation tool.

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