"This study is the first to indicate that even though smokers are successful in quitting with electronic cigarettes, they still need to be monitored by doctors and health professionals to avoid long-term recidivism." said Ramchandar Gomajee, senior author of the journal and researcher at the Institute of Epidemiology and Public Health Pierre Louis in France.
The findings suggest that the use of e-cigarettes may affect current smokers and former smokers differently: helping addicts to quit, perhaps, but also attracting some smokers who have already quit.
The study, published in the medical journal JAMA Internal Medicine, tracked more than 5,000 daily smokers on average for two years in France. It was found that smokers who vapotaient consumed fewer cigarettes a day and were more than one and a half times more likely to quit smoking altogether.
The researchers also examined more than 2,000 former smokers and found that those who used e-cigarettes were more likely to start smoking again. "So while [e-cigarette] The use can help people reduce their tobacco use in the short term, "wrote the researchers," nothing proves that it is an effective help to stop smoking. " long-term ".
New e-cigarettes could reduce risk of relapse
The study found that the increased risk of relapse was lost among those who had quit smoking more recently, which, according to researchers, could be due to the improved technology of the electronic cigarette.
For example, the study as a whole considered anyone who quit smoking as of 2010 and found that in this sample, vaping increased the risk of relapse. However, when researchers only took into account people who quit smoking in 2013, former smokers were no more likely to relapse in the event of vaping.
The researchers noted in their study that "measurements of plasma levels of nicotine showed that, compared to older models of [e-cigarettes], the new generation provides higher levels of nicotine in the blood ", which can make them more satisfying.
Other "technical improvements in [e-cigarettes] over time, "they said, this could also explain why people who have recently quit and switched to e-cigarettes are less likely to relapse than those who quit earlier.
Gregory Conley, president of the American Vaping Association, said that electronic cigarettes had undergone profound changes in recent years. "Before the technological advances made around 2013, electronic cigarette devices were difficult to use and only effective for those who are more keen on quitting," he said.
The devices used years ago "look nothing like current technology," he said, "so using old data is not particularly helpful in understanding whether vaping products can help smokers to stop smoking today. "
The big debate on the vape
It is unclear why vaping increased the risk of relapse for some former smokers, but Gomajee noted that "[people] "If they have withdrawal symptoms but can not vape or if their vape is not satisfactory, then" they are likely to smoke again, "he said.
Previous research has highlighted some of these same risks, while showing that e-cigarettes can be an effective tool to stop smoking.
The research comes at a time of great attention for the manufacturers of electronic cigarettes.
For Dr. Robert Jackler, founder of the Stanford Research group on the impact of tobacco advertising, this alternative has a cost.
"While e-cigarettes may provide market exit potential for adult smokers," he said, "they have proven to be a stark gateway to nicotine addiction among young people."