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expert reaction to study of smoking cessation aids

Research published in Addiction demonstrates that people attempting to quit with the help of e-cigarettes are about 95% more likely to report succeeding than those trying without.


Dr Debbie Robson, Senior Post Doc Researcher in Tobacco Addiction at the National Addiction Centre, King’s College London, said:

“Throughout the UK, smokers can access a wide range of support if they choose to make a quit attempt. Findings from this latest study by Sarah Jackson and colleagues at UCL further our understanding about which type of support increases one’s chance of successfully quitting and importantly, takes into account other factors that may influence quitting such as a person’s level of cigarette dependence and socioeconomic status. The results add to our understanding about the usefulness of e-cigarettes or varenicline to help smokers in England successfully quit. They also help to shed light on less common types of support, such as websites and who may benefit from them the most.

“Stop smoking practitioners and health professionals will find this study useful for guiding their tailoring of interventions so that the people who use their services have the best possible chance of quitting.  Smokers should also take heed that the millions of pounds they collectively spend each year on buying nicotine replacement therapy such as patches and gum from a shop, may not increase their chance of quitting and they may well be better off investing in alternative nicotine replacement such as e-cigarettes.”


Dr Leonie Brose, Senior Lecturer at the National Addiction Centre, King’s College London, said:

“This very robust study surveyed almost 19,000 individuals in England who had tried to quit smoking and showed that those who used varenicline or e-cigarettes were most likely to have been successful.

“This is in line with what has already been found in randomised controlled trials and extends these findings to adult smokers in the real world. While success rates were similar for varenicline and vaping, vaping is much more popular among smokers trying to quit smoking and thus helped more smokers quit.”


Prof Peter Hajek, Director of the Tobacco Dependence Research Unit, Queen Mary University of London (QMUL), said:

“The study reports two important findings regarding e-cigarettes. They help smokers quit at least as much as stop-smoking medications, and they are used by many more smokers. This means that they generate many more quitters and do this at no cost to the NHS.”

  ‘Moderators of real-world effectiveness of smoking cessation aids: a population study’ by Sarah Jackson et al. will be published in Addiction at 00.01 UK time on Thursday 23 May 2019, which is also when the embargo will lift.  


Declared interests

Dr Brose and Dr Robson: No financial links with pharmaceutical, e-cigarette or tobacco manufacturers or their representatives. Co-author of evidence reviews on e-cigarettes commissioned by Public Health England. Have worked with the authors of the paper on projects unrelated to this paper.    

Prof Hajek: none to declare

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