E-cigarettes are almost twice as effective as nicotine replacement treatments (NRTs) in smoking cessation, according to a clinical trial led by Queen Mary University of London.
The multicentre trial randomly assigned 886 adults attending NHS stop-smoking services to either nicotine-replacement therapy (NRT) products of their choice, including product combinations, provided for up to 3 months, or an e-cigarette starter pack, with a recommendation to purchase further e-liquids of their choice. Treatment included weekly behavioural support for at least 4 weeks.
The 1-year abstinence rate was 18.0% in the e-cigarette group, as compared with 9.9% in the NRT group (relative risk [RR], 1.83; 95% CI, 1.30-2.58; P<.001 among participants who were abstinent at those in the e-cigarette group more likely than nrt to use their assigned product weeks.>
The authors say the findings are particularly noteworthy given that NRT was used under expert guidance, with access to the full range of products and with 88.1% of participants using combination treatments.
Overall, throat or mouth irritation was reported more frequently in the e-cigarette group, and nausea was more frequent in the NRT group. Compared to those on NRT, the e-cigarette group reported greater declines in the incidence of cough (RR, 0.8; 95% CI, 0.6-0.9) and phlegm production (RR, 0.7; 95% CI, 0.6-0.9) from baseline to 52 weeks. There were no significant between-group differences in the incidence of wheezing or shortness of breath.