More smokers choosing e-cigarettes over nicotine medicines

French smokers prefer to use e-cigarettes to quit smoking. Instead of medicines. This is according to a new survey by the Ipsos Institute and the French health authority.

E-cigarettes are a popular method of quitting smoking in France. The newspaper reports El Espaniol. According to the French Ipsos Institute 15% of smokers choose vejping to become smoke-free. 12% use nicotine medicines and 3% use a combination of both. However, the vast majority, 70%, choose to try to quit smoking without aids. Only 1.6% choose prescription drugs such as Zyban or Champix.

E-cigarettes more common among younger people trying to quit smoking. According to the French health authority, it is mainly smokers aged 25 to 49 who favour e-cigarettes, while older people lean more towards traditional nicotine medicines. 

E-cigs are controversial

E-cigarettes have become controversial since they entered the market almost 10 years ago. The technology allows smokers to inhale nicotine via vapour instead of smoke, which can radically reduce the amount of harmful substances by up to 95%. Studies show that smokers improve their cardiovascular health already after one month and that the effect on lung function is the same as for users of nicotine medicines.. At the same time, the technology is new and the long-term effects are not yet fully known. 

Competing with medicines and tobacco

E-cigarettes emerged in a market previously dominated by tobacco and pharmaceutical companies and challenge traditional smoking cessation methods. This has led to difficulties in reaching independent information on the technology. According to a survey in the UK, a large proportion of smokers believe that e-cigarettes are as harmful as analogue cigarettes, which worries British health experts.

"It is very important that smokers receive accurate information on e-cigarettes and the relatively lower risk they pose compared to smoking" said John Newton, responsible for tobacco and health issues at The UK Department of Health on the occasion of the publication of the report "E-cigarettes - an evidence update". updated last year.

E-cigarettes most effective

British health authoritiesas well as several other health institutions in England, are encouraging smokers to at least try regulated e-cigarettes to quit smoking. The hope is that the more smokers who try them, the more likely they are to quit smoking. According to UK studies, e-cigarettes help 50,000 Brits to smoke every year.

"Vaping is currently the most effective method and increases the chances of quitting smoking by 20 per cent compared to no aids at all. E-cigarettes are twice as effective as nicotine-only medicines," said Jamie Hartmann-Boyce, who led the work on the report "Electronic cigarettes for smoking cessation" which was published in the Cochrane Library in autumn 2020.

Strategy to reduce smoking 

The current French study is based on surveys of 25,000 smokers from 2017. E-cigarettes have been part of the French government's authorities' strategy to reduce smoking in France. French vejpshops (which only sell e-cigarettes and accessories) were initially closed at the country's first lockdown because of Covid-19. But they got open again as the authorities considered them to have a socially important function.

Sources for this article:

France establece el vapeo como primer método para dejar de fumar: sólo el 1% usa prescripción médica

Vaping is less harmful than smoking and helps to quit tobacco: these 24 institutions support it.

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