Friday, November 21, 2014

Electronic cigarettes reduce tobacco cravings, make it easier to quit smoking, study finds

In some wealthy areas, smoking rates have declined, while smoking rates in working class and rural areas have remained stable. Use of electronic cigarettes among rural teens has also risen in recent years, prompting the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to propose rules to give it authority over e-cigarettes, an industry that accounts for about $2.5 billion in annual sales. (Getty Images photo by Joe Raedle)

But e-cigarettes could actually be a healthy alternative to regular cigarettes by reducing tobacco cravings and making it easier to quit, says a study by Belgian researchers published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.

"Over an eight-month period, Belgian researchers tracked 48 smokers who were unwilling to quit smoking," Christopher Ingraham reports for The Washington Post. "The smokers were divided into three groups: two who were given e-cigarettes over the entirety of the period and a third that switched from tobacco to e-cigarettes two months into the study period."

By the end of the study, 21 percent of the subjects had quit smoking entirely, and another 23 percent cut their daily smoking in half, Ingraham writes. Overall, tobacco consumption fell by 60 percent.

Authors Frank Baeyens and Dinska Van Gucht wrote: "The nicotine e-cig offers many smokers a successful alternative for smoking less—or even quitting altogether. E-cig users get the experience of smoking a cigarette and inhale nicotine vapor but do not suffer the damaging effects of a tobacco cigarette.” (Read more)

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