New study shows vaping more effective to quit smoking than counselling
Vaping is long-regarded by mental health care professionals as a safe and effective way to quit smoking. As far back as 2018, three major medical organizations have publicly endorsed the use of electronic cigarettes as a smoking cessation aid. The most notable include The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP), the Drug and Alcohol Nurses of Australia Incorporated (DANA), and the Mental Health & Smoking Partnership (MHSP) in the UK.
In the past, these healthcare organizations have largely believed that vapor therapies are most effective when used in combination with conventional counseling. The reason for this stance perhaps stems from the basis of which their research was conducted. When the RANZCP, the DANA, and the MHSP were conducting their clinical trials several years ago, their focus was on the severely mentally challenged, such as patients living with schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress disorder, and bipolar disorder.
Related Article: Three major mental health organizations endorse vaping
But is vaping also an effective way to quit smoking for the average smoker – with or without professional counseling involving a licensed psychiatrist or psychologist? This is the question that investigators from the Jewish General Hospital in Quebec wanted to answer.
The benefits of vaping as a smoking cessation aid
In their paper A Randomized Controlled Trial Evaluating The Efficacy And Safety Of E-Cigarettes For Smoking Cessation published in The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), the co-authors begin by stating some common facts about smoking. First and foremost, “Smoking cessation improves morbidity and mortality among smokers who achieve long-term abstinence.”
For decades, the medical community has been in agreement that smoking is terrible for long-term health. However, the divergences of opinion begin to appear when physicians start debating how best to help their patients in their quest to quit. The investigators of the recent Canadian study conducted a clinical trial involving several hundred participants enrolled in 17 different therapy centers across the nation. Participants were closely monitored for a full 52 weeks following the 12-week trial where they were first divided into three categories:
- Use of nicotine-enhanced vapor products combined with individual counselling
- Use of non-nicotine e-cigarettes combined with individual counselling
- Individual counselling only (no vaping)
At the conclusion of the clinical trial, nearly 25 percent of participants who received professional counseling while vaping was successful in quitting smoking permanently compared to less than 10 percent who had only engaged in professional counseling. Furthermore, of the other approximate 75 percent of participants who failed to quit smoking long-term, they enjoyed an average 50 percent reduction in daily cigarette consumption.
Using a baseline daily consumption rate of 21 cigarettes per day, the nicotine-enhanced vaping group was able to reduce their daily cigarette consumption rates by 13 cigarettes per day on average. The non-nicotine vapers reduced their rates even more significantly to just 11 cigarettes per day.
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