According to new data from Smoking Toolkit Study (STS), there is a marked increase in smokers who are attempting to quit smoking in the UK. This is very interesting in the fact that there is also a marked increase in the use of electronic cigarettes in the past few years. In this article, we will look at some of the possible connections between these two trends and why we think that smoking cessation attempts are directly linked to e-cig use.
Over the past two years, there has been an eight-fold increase in the amount of people who report using electronic cigarettes. For those groups who are against e-cig use this is an alarming increase. But if one looks at smoking trends overall, there seems to be a correlation between the increase in e-cig use and the attempts at quitting tobacco cigarettes. It is also interesting to note that over 30% of those who were attempting to quit smoking where using electronic cigarettes to help them achieve this goal. This is an increase from under 5% two years ago. All other quitting aids have fluctuated greatly over the past few years, while electronic cigarette use as a quitting aid has steadily increased.
Of course, everyone interprets information differently, and there is still a need for more studies to help sort out all aspects related to this trend in cessation attempts. That being said; there seems to be very compelling evidence that electronic cigarettes are having a positive influence on tobacco smokers. E-cigs offer a more healthy option to smokers that was not available in the past. It is true that e-cigs are not designed with the intent to start a cessation program, but they do offer an option to smokers of being able to control their nicotine intake. This is an option that was not as readily available to smokers in the past. This ability to control nicotine levels may be one of the reasons for the marked increase in smoker using e-cigs as a quitting aid.
We have been focusing on how e-cigs affect smokers because it seems that e-cigarettes are having the most effect on this group of people. Anti-smoking groups who are against electronic cigarettes fear that e-cigs are a gateway for non-smokers to start a nicotine addiction. While their fear is understandable to a degree, the evidence so far seems to indicate the opposite. It is not the non-smoking community, but the smoking community who is most effected by e-cigarettes. It is still to be seen how many of these attempts at quitting smoking will hold up in the long run, but the fact that there are more attempts at quitting is very encouraging. The other issue brought up by anti-smoking groups is that e-cigs will continue a dependence on nicotine, even if the individual is able to break the habit of tobacco smoking. This may be true in some cases while, in others, the ability to gradually decrease ones dependence on nicotine through an e-cig will help them become completely nicotine free.
Another issue to look at is the fact that some heavy smokers who have tried to quit and failed may not have any other healthy options. For smokers in this situation, dependence to some level of nicotine may be a better alternative than total dependence on tobacco cigarettes. As the STS seems to have shown, there is some link between cessation attempts and electronic cigarettes. What it truly means for the long term is still to be determined, but there seems to be growing evidence that electronic cigarettes are helping the smoking community.