- The Washington Times - Monday, July 9, 2018

E-cigarettes are an ineffective tool for smoking cessation, according to new research that found 90 percent of people who used electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) and traditional cigarettes were still smoking a year later.

E-cigarettes are often touted as a safer alternative to combustible cigarettes, which continue to kill over 480,000 people per year and cause other illnesses affecting more than 16 million Americans.

Smoking rates reached record lows in 2017, with only about 13.9 percent of U.S. adults reporting using cigarettes.

Much of this success is due to increased legislation and public awareness campaigns aimed at shifting cultural attitudes away from smoking and increasing authority within the Food and Drug Administration to regulate the tobacco industry.

Among their efforts was to encourage innovation from tobacco companies for non-combustible cigarettes as a healthier alternative for smokers and possible cessation tool.

Yet more and more research has found that e-cigarette use isn’t a reliable path to quitting cigarettes.

A study published in May in the New England Journal of Medicine found that offering people money to stop smoking was more effective than any other method, including using e-cigarettes.

The latest research, conducted by researchers from Georgia State University’s School of Public Health, surveyed 858 smokers during 2015 about their smoking habits and followed up with them one year later.

Ninety-percent of people who used e-cigarettes were still smoking traditional cigarettes at the time of the follow-up. Eighty-eight percent of respondents said they were motivated to use e-cigarettes to stop smoking cigarettes and 46 percent said they tried to “completely quit.” However, only nine percent were successful at full cessation.

“Absent any meaningful changes, ENDS use among adult smokers is unlikely to be a sufficient solution to obtaining a meaningful increase in population quit rates,” the authors wrote in the study, published in the journal PLOS ONE. “We observed no instance where ENDS users were more likely to quit (smoking cigarettes) than non-ENDS users.”

• Laura Kelly can be reached at lkelly@washingtontimes.com.

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