A lot has been said about the trusty/not-so-trusty small devices and whether they help or hinder people trying to quit cigarettes, but the largest study ever done on electronic cigarettes should silence some of the naysayers.
In an article published in the British Medical Journal, researchers have looked at the smoking trends of both e-cigarette and normal cigarette users over the past few years. With more than 160,000 people surveyed in the US, the report concludes that: "The substantial increase in e-cigarette use among US adult smokers was associated with a statistically significant increase in the smoking cessation rate at the population level."
But the paper did also address that a huge national campaign to quit smoking, along with a 'large federal tobacco tax increase in 2009', could have worked in tandem with e-cigarettes.
Professor of Public Health Christopher Bullen says this new study builds on a similar one published in the UK: "The research by Zhu and colleagues suggests that where such permissive approaches to e-cigarettes exist-ones that enable smokers to have ready access to products that deliver nicotine effectively, at a price lower than that of tobacco cigarettes-then substantial numbers of smokers will make the transition away from smoking, and a substantial population benefit can result."
While this appears good for the e-cigarette industry, another research paper reckons that the devices could encourage some to experiment with tobacco cigarettes, but that's only for people who use the product who have never actually smoked before.
Dr Catherine Best, Research Fellow at the University of Stirling told Science Daily: "Uniquely, we also found that e-cigarette use had a greater impact on the odds of cigarette experimentation in young never smokers who had a firm intention not to smoke and/or whose friends didn't smoke."
But the purpose of e-cigarettes is the exact opposite of the above point; they're designed as a step down from cigarettes without users having to fully quit. An undercover investigation found nine out of ten British vape shops were breaking the industry code of conduct by selling products to non-smokers.
Guidelines within the Independent British Vape Trade Association (IBVTA) try to stop non-smokers from becoming addicted to nicotine, with sellers having to sign a code of conduct which states: "Vape products are for current or former smokers and existing users of vaping devices, therefore [you should] never knowingly sell to anyone who is not a current or former smoker, or a current vaper."
But the investigation has found 87 percent of shops were selling products to people who have never smoked or vaped before.
Featured Image Credit: PA