E-Cigarettes With Nicotine May Help Smokers Quit

Medically Reviewed

Evidence continues to suggest that smokers who use e-cigarettes that contain nicotine are more likely to kick the habit than people who use the devices without nicotine.

The findings, from British researchers, are an update of a 2014 review from the same group, which also found that nicotine e-cigarettes are a more effective smoking cessation aid than their nicotine-free counterparts.

The update also found that there were no serious side effects associated with e-cigarette use for up to two years.

For the current analysis, the researchers examined 11 new studies that followed participants for at least six months, including two randomized controlled trials involving 662 people.

One of the randomized trials also compared use of e-cigarettes with nicotine patches, but there were too few participants in the study to allow the researchers to determine which method was more effective. The most commonly reported adverse effects from e-cigarettes were irritation of the mouth and throat.

The investigators caution that much of the evidence reviewed, while supportive of the findings, was from lower quality studies.

Also, be aware that the long-term safety of e-cigarettes is unknown. Nevertheless, these devices may be a reasonable smoking cessation aid for some people.

Bottom line

If you’re trying to stop smoking, talk to your doctor about the pros and cons of using e-cigarettes to help.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, September 2016