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expert reaction to Cochrane review on electronic cigarettes for smoking cessation

A review published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews looks at the use of e-cigarettes for smoking cessation.


Prof Nicholas Hopkinson, Professor of Respiratory Medicine and Honorary Consultant Physician, National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College, said:

“Smoking is the leading cause of premature death and disability, and a powerful driver of health inequality. There are still more than 6 million people in the UK who smoke, and these findings strongly support making e-cigarettes available as one of the options to help them to quit. Smoking cessation services can continue to be confident supporting smokers to switch to e-cigarettes.

“An important real world issue is that these services are woefully underfunded. A polluter-pays levy on tobacco industry profits would bring in around £700 million to the Department of Health to fund these and other public health measures. The government must move swiftly to implement this and other recommendations from Javed Khan’s review “making smoking obsolete” to deliver on its Smokefree 2030 ambition.”


Dr Sarah Jackson, Principal Research Fellow, UCL Tobacco and Alcohol Research Group, said:

“E-cigarettes are popular among smokers who want to quit, with one in every three quit attempts in England involving an e-cigarette. A growing number of trials have tested whether e-cigarettes make smokers more likely to quit successfully. This review provides the most rigorous and up-to-date summary of this evidence.

“With more data available than ever before, the authors concluded that there is now high-certainty evidence that e-cigarettes are even more effective in helping people to quit than traditional nicotine replacement therapies, such as nicotine patches and gum.

“These findings follow a recent review of the harms of e-cigarettes, which showed clear evidence that vaping poses only a small fraction of the health risks of smoking. Taken together, these reports should provide reassurance to smokers that e-cigarettes are much safer to use and can increase your chances of quitting.”


Prof John Britton, Emeritus Professor of Epidemiology, University of Nottingham, said:

“This comprehensive evidence review confirms, once again, that nicotine e-cigarettes help smokers to quit smoking; and that these products are more effective than medically licensed nicotine replacement therapies. All smokers should therefore try vaping as a means to end their dependency on smoking tobacco.”

DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD010216.pub7



Declared interests

Dr Sarah Jackson: “No conflicts of interest to declare.”

Prof John Britton: “No conflicts.”

Prof Hopkinson is the Chair of Action on Smoking and Health (ASH).


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