Research Questions the Value of Vaping and Other Technology in Stopping Smoking

A survey published in an authoritative journal suggests that vaping technology may actually be ineffective in assisting people with quitting smoking.

In fact, simply going cold turkey tends to be more successful.

The study in the Annals of Internal Medicine indicated that volunteers who used this approach were 25% more likely to remain abstinent half a year from the date that they give up than smokers who tried to gradually wean themselves off instead.

This goes against the idea that offering e-cigarettes to patients – now available via NHS prescription – can be an effective form of treatment.

Instead, it seems that willpower will ultimately decide whether or not an individual is able to stop smoking.

In accordance with this research, the NHS suggests that selecting a convenient date to quit is extremely important in the process.

“Whenever you find yourself in difficulty say to yourself, ‘I will not have even a single drag’ and stick with this until the cravings pass,” the health service suggests.

Additionally, seeking professional support from a GP is considered particularly important in ultimately successfully quitting smoking.

In the British Heart Foundation-funded study, nearly 700 UK volunteers were randomly assigned to one of two groups – a gradual quit group or an immediate quit group.

With all participants also offered advice and support, along with access to nicotine patches and replacement therapy, it was notable that the abrupt-cessation group of the two was significantly more successful.

After six months, 15.5% of the participants in the gradual-cessation group were abstinent compared with 22% in the abrupt-cessation group.

Commenting on the study, lead researcher Dr Nicola Lindson-Hawley, from Oxford University, observed that the results somewhat clashed with conventional wisdom.

“The difference in quit attempts seemed to arise because people struggled to cut down. It provided them with an extra thing to do, which may have put them off quitting altogether.”

Even though more people in the study said they preferred the idea of quitting gradually than abruptly, individuals were still more likely to stop for good in the abrupt group.

Dr Lindson-Hawley asserted that it was still better to cut down on cigarettes than do nothing at all.

There are about 10 million adults who smoke cigarettes in Great Britain, smoking rates have more than halved since 1974.

Surveys show that about two-thirds of current smokers would like to stop smoking, but only about 30%-40% make a quit attempt in a given year.


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