The study involved nearly 900 smokers in the UK who were indiscriminately divided and assigned to two separate groups, according to the report. Over the course of three months, the first group received a traditional nicotine-replacement therapy of their choice such as patches, gum, lozenges, sprays, inhalators or a combination of products. The second group received an e-cigarette starter pack and the option of selecting e-liquids of their own choice, CNN reported.
In addition to that, all group members had behavioural counselling for each week for four weeks and were biochemically tested to confirm that they had quit smoking at the end of the year.
The study found that the one-year abstinence rate was 18 per cent (79 people) in the e-cigarette group versus about 10 per cent (44 people) in the traditional nicotine-replacement group.
Also, the people who used e-cigarettes to quit smoking were more likely to have not smoked traditional cigarettes, as well as have coughed less and had less phlegm production at the end of the year-long study.
Study participants who used e-cigarettes as a nicotine-replacement therapy reported having less of an urge to smoke than those participants who used traditional nicotine-replacement therapy methods to quit smoking, according to the report.
Robert West, a professor of health psychology and director of tobacco studies at University College London, commented on the study results, saying, “This study is of huge significance. It provides the clearest indication yet that e-cigarettes are probably more effective than products such as nicotine gum and patches.”
In a statement, Peter Hajek, lead researcher of the study from Queen Mary University of London, was quoted as saying, “E-cigarettes were almost twice as effective as the 'gold standard' combination of nicotine replacement products.”
The study, however, also found that the majority of study participants who used e-cigarettes to quit smoking were still vaping at the end of that year. Of the 79 people who used e-cigarettes to quit smoking, 63 were still smoking, CNN reported. Of the 44 participants who quit smoking using traditional cessation products, only four were still using those products at the end of that year.