Washington: The first ever trial to compare e-cigarettes with nicotine patches has found that both methods result in comparable success in quitting, with roughly similar proportions of smokers who used either method remaining abstinent from smoking for six months after a 13 week course of patches or e-cigarettes.
The study is only the second controlled trial to be published which evaluates e-cigarettes, and is the first ever trial to assess whether e-cigarettes are more or less effective than an established smoking cessation aid, nicotine patches, in helping smokers to quit.
Led by Associate Professor Chris Bullen, Director of the National Institute for Health Innovation at The University of Auckland in New Zealand, a team of researchers recruited 657 smokers. Study participants were all people who wanted to quit smoking, and were divided into three groups.
Over 13 weeks of using the cessation aids, and 3 months further follow-up, participants underwent testing to establish whether they had managed to remain abstinent from cigarettes. At the end of the six-month study period, around one in twenty study participants had managed to remain completely abstinent from smoking.
While the proportion of participants who successfully quit was highest in the e-cigarettes group (7.3percent, compared to 5.8percent for those in the nicotine patches group, and 4.1percent in the placebo e-cigarettes group), these differences were not statistically significant.
The results suggest that e-cigarettes are comparable to nicotine patches in helping people to quit for at least six months. Additionally, the results found no statistically significant difference in any adverse changes to health reported by participants in the e-cigarettes and the nicotine patches group.
The study was published in the journal The Lancet.