While this study provides some evidence that e-cigarettes can help people quit, the devices aren't necessarily without flaws.
"Further research is required to discover how experimentation with e-cigarettes might influence attitudes to smoking in young people traditionally at lower risk of becoming smokers; and importantly how many of this group who do experiment with cigarettes go on to smoke regularly". "The overall population cessation rate for 2014-15 was significantly higher than that for 2010-11, 5.6% v 4.5% (1.1%, 0.6% to 1.5%), and higher than those for all other survey years (range 4.3-4.5%)." reported the researchers.
The report, which surveyed 161,054 people in the USA across nearly 15 years, also found that substantially more people in the States are using e-cigarettes, and that this was linked to a "statistically significant increase in the smoking cessation rate at the population level". The usage of e-cigarettes among smokers had increased dramatically by 2014, with estimates from various studies ranging from 15% to 30%.
The latest study that focused on e-cigarettes and vaping showed that those who used e-cigarettes were more likely to stop smoking altogether than those who didn't. It's based on the largest representative sample of smokers and e-cigarette users available. But it did find that e-cigs do have a role in helping people quit.
A link was found between the use of the electronic devices by those who have never tried smoking and their first experimentation with cigarettes in the following year. The authors write that things like national ad campaigns against smoking and a tobacco tax probably helped, too.
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"This is the first statistically significant increase observed in population smoking cessation among United States adults in almost a quarter of a century".
According to Action on Smoking and Health, over half (52 per cent) of e-cigarette users are now ex-smokers.
For the study, Zhu and colleagues collected data on more than 160,000 people who took part in five surveys between 2001 and 2015. "But if those don't work - try an e-cigarette".
"We are pretty confident that e-cigarettes are less unsafe, but that is only because cigarettes are so bad", he said.
E-cig users also report finding it easier to refrain from their habit when in no-vaping areas, the study found.
"This study suggests that we should be receptive to the kind of approach that health authorities in England have taken, encouraging smokers who can not quit otherwise to try e-cigarettes", Warner said.