Bullen, et al conducted a randomized cross-over trial with 40 subjects and found that the product “alleviated desire to smoke after overnight abstinence, was well tolerated and had a pharmacokinetic profile more like the Nicorette inhalator than a tobacco cigarette.” The findings by Darredeau, et al reported at the 12th SRNT Europe conference, suggest that regardless of nicotine content, electronic cigarettes may provide an effective means of relieving acute tobacco craving in at least some smokers.
Population surveys indicate that electronic cigarettes are much more effective than currently available smoking cessation treatments. Heaver, et al, surveyed over 300 e-cigarette consumers and found that 79% were using the e-cigarette as a complete replacement for smoking, 17% had significantly reduced the number smoked, and only 4% still smoked as much as before. The most recent published survey by Etter and Bullen surveyed 3,587 subjects, median age 41, of which 2,850 used e-cigarettes with nicotine, and 112 used e-cigarettes without nicotine. Among 2,896 daily users, 2,234 (77%) no longer smoked at all, and the median duration of smoking abstinence was 152 days.
Are e-cigarettes safe?
No research conducted to date has provided any evidence that e-cigarettes—with or without nicotine—are harmful. Vansickel, et al compared two brands of e-cigarettes containing nicotine against smokers own brand of tobacco cigarettes and “sham smoking’ (placebo condition) and found, “Under these acute testing conditions, neither of the electronic cigarettes exposed users to measurable levels of nicotine or CO, although both suppressed nicotine/tobacco abstinence symptom ratings. “ Japanese researchers reported in the Journal of Urban Living and Health Association regarding research on e-cigarettes containing no nicotine “Following the treatment, no abnormal changes in blood pressure, hematological data, or blood chemistry and no severe adverse events were observed.”
Kahn and Siegel reviewed existing evidence on e-cigarette safety and efficacy. Their report states, “A preponderance of the available evidence shows them to be much safer than tobacco cigarettes and comparable in toxicity to conventional nicotine replacement products. We conclude that electronic cigarettes show tremendous promise in the fight against tobacco-related morbidity and mortality.”
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