Electronic cigarettes and nicotine patches are equally effective at helping smokers quit, according to findings from what’s thought to be the first clinical trial to compare the two methods.
However, e-cigarettes were more effective in reducing cigarette use among smokers who didn’t quit.
E-cigarettes are battery-powered devices that deliver nicotine, flavorings and other chemicals. They turn these substances into vapor that is inhaled by the user.
The new study included 657 smokers who used either e-cigarettes, fake e-cigarettes (they didn’t contain any nicotine) or nicotine patches for 13 weeks. At the end of the six-month study, about 6 percent of the participants had successfully quit.
Rates of those who successfully quit were 7.3 percent in the e-cigarette group, 5.8 percent in the nicotine patch group and 4.1 percent in the fake e-cigarette group.
These differences were not statistically significant, according to study leader Chris Bullen, director of the National Institute for Health Innovation at the University of Auckland in New Zealand, and colleagues.
The findings suggest that e-cigarettes are comparable to nicotine patches in helping people quit smoking for at least six months.