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E-Cigarettes Modestly Effective for Helping Smokers Quit

Second study shows increase in population-level quit attempts with TV advertising campaign

MONDAY, Sept. 9 (HealthDay News) -- Electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) are modestly effective for helping smokers quit; and, a three-month television antismoking campaign is effective for increasing quit attempts, according to two studies published online Sept. 9 in The Lancet.

Christopher Bullen, M.B.Ch.B., from the University of Auckland in New Zealand, and colleagues investigated whether e-cigarettes are more effective than nicotine patches for helping smokers to quit. A total of 657 adult smokers were randomized to nicotine e-cigarettes (289 participants), patches (295 participants), and placebo e-cigarettes (73 participants). The researchers found that, at six months, the verified abstinence was 7.3, 5.8, and 4.1 percent, respectively. Due to the lower than anticipated achievement of abstinence, statistical power was insufficient to conclude the superiority of nicotine e-cigarettes.

Tim McAfee, M.D., from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, and colleagues examined the effects of the three-month antismoking campaign, Tips From Former Smokers (Tips), that was introduced in the United States in March 2012. Assessments were completed at baseline and follow-up by 3,051 smokers and 2,220 nonsmokers. The researchers found that, during the three-month campaign, 78 percent of smokers and 74 percent of nonsmokers recalled seeing at least one Tips advertisement on television. Among smokers there was a 12 percent relative increase in quit attempts, from 31.1 percent at baseline to 34.8 percent at follow-up. For smokers who made a quit attempt, the prevalence of abstinence at follow-up was 13.4 percent. An estimated 1.64 million additional smokers made a quit attempt nationally, and at follow-up, 220,000 remained abstinent.

"The high-exposure Tips media campaign was effective at increasing population-level quit attempts," McAfee and colleagues write.

Several authors from the Bullen study disclosed financial ties relating to the smoking cessation industry, including manufacturers of e-cigarettes.

Abstract - Bullen
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Abstract - McAfee
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