Taping more effective than drugs, says new report

Counselling for smoking cessation is significantly more effective than other methods. This is according to a major review of 16 independent studies in Australia.

New research from Queensland University in Australia shows that e-cigarettes are far more effective in smoking cessation than traditional nicotine medicines. The researchers compared the results of 16 studies with a total of 12 700 participants. 

"The results show that e-cigarettes are up to 50 per cent more effective than nicotine medicines. And 100 per cent more effective compared to a placebo" says Dr Gary Chantwhich compiled the report.

The report confirms previous research which compared smoking cessation using vejpning with other established products such as nicotine gum, patches, mouth and nose sprays, tablets and inhalers. 

"Electronic cigarettes work better than other methods. Probably because they not only provide the user with a smaller amount of nicotine to counteract withdrawal. They also promote the same behaviour and feeling as cigarette smoking," says Gary Chant.

Prohibited nicotine liquid on prescription

The researchers selected studies that measured long-term outcomes. The aim was to evaluate Australia's current policy for doctors advising patients on smoking cessation. Currently, e-liquid containing nicotine is banned from sale in the country. However, doctors are able to prescribe nicotine for smokers who have already tried other smoking cessation methods.

"The medical community recommends e-cigarettes as a second-line solution," says Gary Chan. "Our review shows that it may be time to change that recommendation."

"E-cigarettes have the potential to reduce smoking"

Australia is one of the few developed countries that do not allow nicotine-containing e-liquid to be sold over the counter. Several organisations are campaigning to make this possible in the future. However, there is strong opposition from both the medical community and the government. Researchers at the University of Queensland now hope that their report can change the conditions for smokers in the country to quit cigarettes.

"E-cigarettes have the potential to accelerate the decline in smoking rates. Our research shows that, if we maximise their use, e-cigarettes can put an end to the very widespread smoking we see today," said Gary Chan.

Not smoking cessation in Sweden

The Swedish Public Health Agency says that e-cigarettes are not a smoking cessation aid and the Swedish Medical Products Agency has previously tried to classify nicotine-containing e-liquid without success. The Swedish government's latest inquiry into e-cigarettes also proposes to restrict flavours and availability of the products in Sweden. 

The Australian report was published in the journal Addictive Behaviours.

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