AMHERST, Mass. (WWLP) – A team of scientists analyzed people trying to quit smoking and found that those likely to succeed used a nicotine e-cigarette in combination with a smoking cessation aid.

According to a multinational review by a team of scientists, including a University of Massachusetts Amherst public health and health policy researcher, nicotine e-cigarettes, prescription drugs, and dual nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) were identified as the most effective stop-smoking aids. The combination of these helps more people quit such as an e-cig, a patch with gum, or a lozenge, help more people quit.

“The best thing someone who smokes can do for their health is to quit smoking,” says Jamie Hartmann-Boyce, assistant professor of health policy and management in the School of Public Health and Health Sciences. “Our findings provide clear evidence of the effectiveness of nicotine e-cigarettes and combination nicotine replacement therapies to help people quit smoking. The evidence also is clear on the benefits of medicines cytisine and varenicline, but these may be harder for some people to access at the moment.” 

Researchers compared the results of the different stop-smoking aids that have been used in over 300 clinical trials involving more than 150,000 people.  

The analysis found that out of 100 people, the following are likely to quit smoking:

  • 14 people out of 100 are likely to quit smoking that used a nicotine e-cigarette, and varenicline or cytisine
  • 12 people out of 100 are likely to quit smoking that used two forms of NRT
  • 9 people out of 100 are likely to quit smoking that used one form of NRT
  • 6 people out of 100 are likely to quit smoking that did not use any aids

Due to the addictiveness of nicotine, many people are finding it hard to quit. Smoking is the leading cause of preventable disease and death worldwide. This study shows more effective tools are needed for smokers to quit for good.

The prescription drug brand-name form of varenicline, Champix, is not available in the U.S. and other parts of the world due to a manufacturing problem however, generic forms are approved by the FDA. Cytisine is not currently licensed or marketed in the U.S.

Hartmann-Boyce says, “Broad scientific consensus is that regulated nicotine e-cigarettes are highly, highly likely to be much less harmful than conventional cigarettes, but not harmless.”  

The research was focused on evaluating the effects of a range of smoking cessation methods, not on the use of e-cigarettes by nonsmokers and young people. 

Local News

WWLP-22News, an NBC affiliate, began broadcasting in March 1953 providing local news, network, syndicated, and local programming to western Massachusetts. Follow 22News on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram