Smoking cessation counseling and e-cigs may be effective for breaking the habit

Among traditional cigarette smokers, breaking the habit may be both a necessity and an infeasible problem. But new research shows that smoking cessation counseling in adjunction with electronic cigarettes may increase the chances of quitting, considerably.

Appearing online in a study published by the American College of Cardiology (ACC), researchers there focused on nearly 370 participants in Canada, most of which were in mid-adulthood and had a profound history of excessive cigarette consumption stretching decades.

For participants, although more than 20 cigarettes a day was the norm of their daily lifestyle routines, and many previously failed to cease smoking, they were still motivated to break the habit when enrolled for the experiments.

According to researchers, the majority of participants attempted to cease the habit through certain smoking cessation drug treatments and behavioral therapy, but to no avail.

As part of the new study, one-third of the participants received e-cigarettes with nicotine, while one-third were instructed to consume e-cigarettes without nicotine, and another one-third refrained from any form of cigarette use.

Regardless of use, all of the participants underwent more than one hour of counseling on how to cease the smoking habit over the span of three months. During the three-month period, participants assessed their cessation progress through voice calls and clinic visitations, undergoing a breath test for traces of cigarette consumption to validate the inputted data.

Throughout the three-month time span, if a participant was considered to have fully ceased their smoking habit in a one-week timeframe, and tested negative for traces of cigarette consumption, they were regarded as a former smoker. If smokers did not cease the habit but reduced their consumption, the total count of cigarettes per day was taken into consideration and compared to data from the study’s initiation.

What researchers found was that clinical outcomes of e-cigarette consumption may be correlated with decreased traditional cigarette consumption, based on the results.

Of a smoker who consumed nearly 21 cigarettes a day, nicotine-based e-cigarettes were said to reduce their habit by nearly half of their daily consumption. The effects were more beneficial when taken with counseling, but the results pointed to potential problematic adverse events as a direct result of the nicotine-based e-cigarette consumption.

“We desperately need information on whether e-cigarettes are effective for smoking cessation, but [we] also [need] safety data, as well,” Mark J. Eisenberg, the study’s lead author, stated. “These findings show that nicotine e-cigarettes are effective for smoking cessation in the short term.”

While the findings may denote e-cigarettes as effective for smoking cessation, the study did note adverse reactions, including a possible case of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease among one of the participants. As such, precaution might be necessary when viewing e-cigarettes as a possible form of intervention against traditional nicotine cigarette use.

Last year, ACC released a different study on e-cigarettes linking its usage to health risks of significant concern, including cardiovascular adversities, coronary artery disease, and even changes in the affective domain. Their study has since been retracted for inconsistency.

In addition, a separate USC study near the time of ACC’s publication uncovered a potential correlation between e-cigarette use and the early development of cancer-related molecular changes in oral tissue, similar to that of traditional cigarette smokers.

Image courtesy of Getty Images
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