Senior author Stanton Glantz said, “We found that e-cigarette use was associated with significantly less quitting. E-cigarettes are being promoted as a means of quitting, but they’re actually having the opposite effect.”
Advocates of e-cigarettes suggest that they are a safer alternative to smoking traditional tobacco and that they can help smokers of cigarettes quit.
Previous research has already suggested that e-cigarettes are not beneficial when it comes to quitting smoking and so Glantz and his team reviewed 38 studies assessing the relationship between e-cigarette uses and smoking cessation.
“We looked at every single paper out there we could find. We did not do any cherry-picking at all,” explained Glantz.
The researchers then combined 20 studies of control groups not using e-cigarettes and compared them with smokers who were using e-cigarettes. The researchers found the odds of quitting smoking with the use of e-cigarettes was reduced 28 percent lower compared to those who did not use the electronic cigarette.
Dr. Norman Edelman, senior scientific advisor to the American Lung Association, added, “It tells us simply switching from one nicotine delivery system to another nicotine delivery system doesn’t lead to quitting the first nicotine delivery system. People will not naturally give up cigarettes, even though in most venues e-cigarettes are cheaper and people consider e-cigarettes to be safer.”
Another problem with e-cigarettes is that it keeps people hooked as they can be used indoors as opposed to traditional cigarettes which in many states can only be used outdoors.
In 2014, though, the FDA proposed that agencies were allowed to regulate the use of e-cigarettes in similar fashion to regular cigarettes, but the official rule is not currently in affect.
Edelman added, “The American Lung Association has been saying for over a year that the FDA ought to go ahead and regulate these devices. Once they did that, the companies could not make any claims without approval.”
Glantz concluded, “This shows me the FDA today needs to clamp down on e-cigarette companies’ claims that these things help people quit smoking. Not only is that misleading people, it’s actually hurting them by reducing the odds that people who are current smokers will quit.”