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New Study Suggests that E-Cigarettes Could Significantly Reduce Tobacco Use

Posted August 26th, 2013 in News by Steve

A recent study at the prestigious Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota has found that e-cigarettes can help people significantly reduce the number of tobacco cigarettes that they smoke, even when they express a desire not to smoke less. This interesting and in many ways counter-intuitive finding will be published in the upcoming issue of the American Journal of Health Behavior.

The study was composed of 28 adult smokers who were not interested in quitting smoking, but were nonetheless given electronic cigarettes to use. Twenty-five of them, which accounts for nearly 90 per cent of the participant population, reduced the number of cigarettes they smoked during the first week of the experiment. About one-third of the participants reduced the number of cigarettes that they smoked by half. The overall average reduction in the amount of cigarettes smoked was 39 per cent.

It was also found that the rate of nicotine absorption was very similar to that of other nicotine replacement therapies (NRTs) such as patches and gums, which have been approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The research concluded that the e-cigarette “delivered enough nicotine to suppress craving”.

One of the researchers, Mitchell Nides, called the results “a very good signal to go forward” with more research into whether electronic cigarettes have the ability to help people quit smoking in the long term. Nides has been researching tobacco cessation for more than 25 years and stated that e-cigarettes “have tremendous potential as [a] smoking-cessation aid”. Furthermore, he added that “there’s a real potential for efficacy, with potentially few side effects”, but that “more research is needed”.

The study was funded by one of the biggest electronic cigarette retailers in the United States and comes at a time when sales are projected to reach $2 billion annually in the United States alone. The three biggest American tobacco manufacturers – Philip Morris (Altria), Reynolds American (RJR) and Lorillard – have entered the e-cigarette market, either buying existing companies or setting up their own. This is a clear sign that they believe that electronic cigarettes have a bright future. That said, e-cigarette sales are minuscule compared to tobacco cigarette sales, which were valued at around $80 billion last financial year for the United States. Global sales are much greater.

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