The effectiveness of e-cigarettes as an alternative can be measured by how many people have been able to quit through the use of vaporizers. E-cigarettes as an alternative to smoking has been a large part in the reason for the rise in its popularity. However, many have claimed that e-cigarettes are actually not effective in helping people quit smoking and actually leads more people to start smoking. Stone Hearth News has published an article that touches upon the effectiveness of e-cigarettes by saying,
“Researchers from University College London estimate that use of e-cigarettes produced 16K-22K additional long-term quitters in England in 2014.1 A long-term quitter is someone who has not smoked for at least one year.
The UCL team has been tracking the rapid rise in use of e-cigarettes using monthly national surveys and estimates that in 2014 almost 900,000 smokers used one of these products to try to quit (see “Electronic cigarettes in England – latest trends” (ref STS140122)).
Previous research has found that when used in this way, e-cigarettes increase the chances of success by around 50% compared with using no support or one of the traditional nicotine products such as gum or skin patch bought from a shop.2,3 This raises the long-term success rates from around 5% to around 7½%. The increased success rate amounts to an additional 22K people stopping who would otherwise have continued smoking. Some of these people may have used an e-cigarette instead of one of the more established aids to cessation such as the Stop-Smoking Services. Adjusting for this, the number helped by e-cigarettes may be somewhat lower, at 16K.
Professor Robert West, who led the research team, said “E-cigarettes appear to be helping a significant number of smokers to stop who would not have done otherwise – not as many as some e-cigarette enthusiasts claim, but a substantial number nonetheless.”
Professor West added, “There have been claims by some public health researchers that e-cigarettes undermine quitting if smokers use them just to cut down, and that they act as a gateway into smoking. These claims stem from a misunderstanding of what the evidence can tell us at this stage, but this is clearly something we need to watch carefully.” (article available)
The point that I would like to highlight is that though e-cigarettes may not work for everyone, it is still helping thousands to quit smoking. Researchers are continuously studying e-cigarettes to test whether these devices can be deemed safe or not. Though more research may be needed, information gathered thus far indicates e-cigarettes to be less hazardous compared to smoking. In such a case, those several thousand people in England who were able to quit, are now using a device that could save their lives and also of those around them who are exposed to second hand smoking.
Data points out that e-cigarettes are playing a role in reducing the number of smokers in our society. The majority of people who smoke already know that smoking kills but are unable to quit because they are already addicted. That is probably why e-cigarettes were able to become so popular. Many smokers have been looking for an alternative that could help them quit. Before e-cigarettes, other smoking cessation tools had a relatively low success rate.
However, the dynamics of e-cigarettes are quickly changing as many are working towards regulating and banning these devices. The year 2016 is a crucial year that may determine the future of e-cigarettes in various countries. The question that I really want to ask is, what will happen to those who have been able to quit through the use of e-cigarettes if vaporizers were to be banned?