People who use e-cigarettes are less likely to quit smoking than those who don’t try the devices, a new study has warned.
The rapid increase in use of e-cigarettes has led to heated debates between opponents who question the safety of these devices and proponents who claim the battery-operated products are a useful cessation tool.
Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine found that smokers who used e-cigarettes were 49 per cent less likely to decrease cigarette use and 59 per cent less likely to quit smoking compared to smokers who never used e-cigarettes.
The population-based study followed 1,000 California smokers over the course of one year.
“Based on the idea that smokers use e-cigarettes to quit smoking, we hypothesised that smokers who used these products would be more successful in quitting,” said Wael Al-Delaimy, professor and chief of the Division of Global Public Health in the Department of Family Medicine and Public Health.
“But the research revealed the contrary. We need further studies to answer why they cannot quit. One hypothesis is that smokers are receiving an increase in nicotine dose by using e-cigarettes,” said Al-Delaimy.
Although e-cigarettes do not contain tobacco, users, known colloquially as “vapers,” exhale a mixture of volatile organic compounds, heavy metals and ultrafine particles that usually contain aerosolised nicotine in a cloud of vapour.
The findings show that daily smokers and women were more likely to have tried e-cigarettes.
The study was published in the American Journal of Public Health.