MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Pamela Ling, MD MPH
Associate Professor, Department of Medicine
Director, Tobacco Control Policy Fellowship
Center for Tobacco Research and Education
University of California San Francisco
San Francisco, CA 94143-1390
MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study?
Dr. Ling: We followed a sample of smokers from a nationally representative panel for one year. We found that there was no difference in the rate of quitting between smokers who used an e-cigarette and those who did not. Put another way, smokers who had used e-cigarettes at the beginning of the study were equally likely to have quit smoking one year later as those who did not use e-cigarettes. There was no relationship between e-cigarette use and quitting even after taking into account measures of tobacco dependence (number of cigarettes smoked per day, how early in the day a smoker has his first cigarette) and intention to quit smoking.
MedicalResearch.com: Were any of the findings unexpected?
Dr. Ling: Since electronic cigarettes are frequently advertised with health and smoking cessation claims (smoking cessation claims were made on 64% of websites we analyzed in another recent study) it’s surprising that we did not find a significant effect on smoking cessation.
MedicalResearch.com: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?
Dr. Ling: When used by a broad sample of smokers under “real world” conditions, e-cigarette use did not significantly increase the chances of successfully quitting cigarette smoking one year later.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Dr. Ling: Future research on e-cigarettes and smoking cessation should include greater numbers and more detailed information about e-cigarette motivations, type of product use and frequency and intensity of use, in addition to known factors associated with cessation as was done in our study. More population based studies with representative samples of e-cigarette users, not only highly selected or motivated groups (such as clinical trial participants or convenience samples recruited from consumer lists or the internet) are also needed. As e-cigarette devices and liquids continue to evolve rapidly, research is needed to address the newest products.