The debate over the benefits and potential harms of e cigarettes has raged on across the media in recent months. Now, research published in JAMA Internal Medicine finds that there is no association between e cigarette use and reduced cigarette consumption.

Medical News Today recently ran a spotlight feature summarizing the controversies surrounding electronic cigarettes (e cigarettes) the popular cigarette substitutes that are often marketed as a smoking cessation tool.

In that piece, Dr. Maciej L. Goniewicz, from the Roswell Cancer Park Institute in Buffalo, NY, told us

“Statistics provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed slight decrease in smoking prevalence among US adults between 2008 and 2011. We do not know whether it can be attributed to increasing popularity of e cigarettes. We need to closely monitor this trend over the next few years to understand effects of e cigarettes on population level.”

Generally, medical professionals have argued that it is too soon to judge whether e cigarettes are an effective tool for helping to quit traditional cigarettes, or whether they actually encourage smoking.

Earlier this month, JAMA Pediatrics also published a study highlighting an association between the use of e cigarettes and conventional cigarettes in American adolescents, which suggested that e cigarettes may contribute to nicotine addiction.

In the new study, researchers surveyed 949 current smokers, asking

  • How many cigarettes the participants smoke each day
  • How long it is until the participants’ first cigarette of the day
  • If and when they intend on quitting smoking
  • Whether the participants had used e cigarettes in the past 30 days.

E cigarette users were not more likely to either successfully quit or want to quit
Although 13.5% of the study sample did quit smoking, very few of the successful quitters used e cigarettes.

From their results, the researchers found that significantly more women, younger adults and people with less education used e cigarettes.

Also, people who used e cigarettes were more likely to smoke their first cigarette less than 30 minutes after waking up. The study also reports that e cigarette users were not more likely to want to quit smoking than non users.

Overall, the researchers found that there was not a significant link between using e cigarettes and quitting smoking. Although 13.5% of the sample did quit smoking, very few of the successful quitters used e cigarettes.

The authors of the study conclude by asserting that

“Regulations should prohibit advertising claiming or suggesting that e cigarettes are effective smoking cessation devices until claims are supported by scientific evidence.”

In a linked comment, Dr. Mitchell H. Katz, deputy editor of JAMA Internal Medicine, writes that “Although there are no data showing that e cigarette use helps with cessation, there is potential harm. In particular, e cigarettes are currently unregulated.”

He continues

“Therefore, the tough restrictions on the sale of tobacco to minors do not exist for e cigarettes. Also, the limitations on where people can smoke do not currently apply to e cigarettes, with the result that the progress on changing social norms through smoking bans may be threatened. Finally, we simply do not know what potential harm e cigarettes may cause to their users.”

Written by David McNamee

View all articles written by David, or follow David on

Ban sale of cigarettes to anyone born after 2000, doctors say – telegraph

E-cigarettes: kodak moment

Leading doctors have called for a ban on cigarette sales to those born after 2000 in a programme of “progressive prohibition” aimed at curbing smoking related deaths.

They urged the British Medical Association to lobby for a complete ban on the sale of cigarettes to anyone born in this century at the body s annual public health medicine conference.

Tim Crocker Buqu , a specialist registrar in public health medicine with the NHS, said “Humanity has never developed anything more deadly than the cigarette.

“The combination of its addictive power and devastating health effects combined with historical social norms and powerful advertising campaigns killed 100 million people in the 20th century.”

Dr Crocker Buqu said eight out of 10 smokers began smoking as teenagers and someone who began smoking at 15 was three times more likely to die from smoking related cancer than someone who started in their 20s. “This is a highly addictive product that kills 50 per cent of the users and it is so patently over the balance of harm that we must now work to prevent the next generation from falling into the nicotine trap,” he added.

Related Articles

  • Unbranded cigarettes could mean people smoke more, experts warn

    24 Mar 2014

  • Packets of ten cigarettes banned under EU rules

    26 Feb 2014

  • Cigarette pack health warnings ‘could encourage people to keep smoking’

    09 Dec 2009

  • Teenage girls will be able to stock up on morning after pill under new NHS guidance

    25 Mar 2014

  • ‘Cancer had never crossed my mind, not for a second

    25 Mar 2014

  • Just when you thought it was safe to drink the water…

    25 Mar 2014

Mark Temple, a co chairman of the BMA s public health medicine committee, agreed, adding “If we prevent access to a group that is growing older through time then gradually we will stop easy access to tobacco products.”

But Ian Kennedy, another public health medicine registrar, questioned if banning cigarettes for a certain section of the population was a sustainable policy, and asked why 13 to 14 year olds were being targeted.