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Educational intervention can help vapers use their e-cigarettes to stop smoking

Researchers at the Moffitt Cancer Center say the results could help expand the public health potential of e-cigarettes

E-cigarettes raise many concerns, especially when it comes to teenagers vaping. However, new evidence suggests that e-cigarettes can be a helpful tool for smoking cessation. Researchers at the Moffitt Cancer Center’s Tobacco Research and Intervention Program wanted to build on this evidence by testing whether it could help dual users, people who use both flammable cigarettes and e-cigarettes, quit smoking. In a new article published in The Lancet Public Health, they report the results of a first-of-its-kind nationwide study looking at a targeted intervention aimed at stopping e-cigarettes from being used by double users of a product that they quit smoking could sustain transform into a tool that is used for smoking cessation. 

Stop or reduce

An estimated 8 million adults in the United States use e-cigarettes, often with the aim of quitting or reducing smoking. Nearly 41% are double users, a practice that maintains and in some cases can exacerbate both nicotine addiction and exposure to toxins.

“We were concerned that smokers who started vaping to quit often used both products instead,” said Thomas Brandon, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Health Outcomes and Behavior and director of the Tobacco Research and Intervention Program at Moffitt. “This prompted our team to develop an easy-to-distribute intervention that could improve double-user efforts to quit smoking and maintain abstinence.” e-cigarette advice found online.

The research team, which included Virginia Commonwealth University staff; East Virginia School of Medicine; and the University of Auckland, New Zealand, interviewed vapers who could and could not quit smoking. Based on what they learned, they developed a series of “If You Vape” brochures that contain smoking cessation advice specifically geared towards dual users.

National attempt

To test their intervention, the Moffitt team started a national study with nearly 2,900 double users. Participants were randomized into three groups: an evaluation group who received no intervention, a generic support group who received standard smoking cessation materials, and the targeted intervention group who received the new “If You Vape” brochures. Participants completed surveys every three months for two years to report their current smoking and vaping.

The results showed that the targeted intervention led to a 5 to 10 percentage point higher smoking abstinence rate than the evaluation group during the 18 months of treatment. The generic intervention resulted in abstinence rates between the other two arms. The researchers found that while those who reported little to no dependence on flammable cigarettes had greater overall success in quitting, more dependent smokers benefited most from the new intervention. For example, of the dependent smokers who received the brochures, about 20% had quit smoking within six months, compared with 13% of those in the review arm. buy e liquids online now possible.

Specific interventions

“Our study shows that dual users could benefit from specific interventions that take advantage of their persistent e-cigarette use, which in turn could expand e-cigarette public health potential,” said Brandon. “I think it’s important to note that while our materials didn’t advocate the beginning of vaping, they didn’t demonize consumption either. We treated vapers with respect and shared information to help them achieve their goal of quitting smoking. “

Although the brochures suggest that participants might consider cutting off all nicotine, the researchers found no differences in vaping between groups.

The research team aims to expand its efforts to test alternative modalities of intervention such as a mobile app, improve long-term smoking cessation, and test the intervention in clinical settings.