US Study Says Many Smokers Trying to Quit Wind Up Being Dual Users

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There is ongoing debate among experts regarding dual use of e-cigarettes and traditional cigarettes, with some arguing that it can still result in harm reduction due to a reduction in cigarette consumption. The researchers acknowledge that while some individuals successfully transition to vaping products, many end up using both cigarettes and e-cigarettes. They suggest that smoking cessation treatments, including nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) and counseling, may be beneficial for dual users looking to quit.

Lead study author, Dr. Li-Shiun Chen, an associate professor of psychiatry, recommends FDA-approved treatments such as NRT and the drug varenicline, along with counseling, for cigarette smokers. Despite the growing number of individuals using both cigarettes and e-cigarettes, the researchers emphasize that tobacco treatment can still be effective in helping these individuals quit smoking and overcome nicotine addiction.

It is worth noting that tobacco harm reduction experts and vaping advocates generally discourage dual use, as the primary goal of vaping is to reduce or eliminate cigarette consumption. However, some argue that even with dual use, individuals may still be smoking fewer cigarettes, thereby potentially reducing harm.

Higher quit attempts among dual users

In a recent study titled “Associations Between Dual Use of E-Cigarettes and Smoking Cessation: A Prospective Study of Smokers in England,” researchers examined tobacco use behavior among a cohort of 1,498 smokers in England.

The findings indicated that while dual use of e-cigarettes and cigarettes was not associated with lower overall quit rates compared to exclusive smoking or dual use of nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), it was linked to a slightly higher quit attempt rate than exclusive smoking, but lower than dual use of NRT.

The study abstract states, “Overall quit rates were not lower in dual e-cigarette users compared to exclusive smokers. Dual users of e-cigarettes were more likely to attempt to quit, but this difference was not significant after adjusting for other factors. Among those attempting to quit, success rates did not significantly differ. Dual users of e-cigarettes were less likely to attempt to quit compared to dual users of NRT, but success rates of quit attempts and overall quit rates did not differ significantly.”

These findings suggest that while dual use of e-cigarettes and cigarettes may result in higher quit attempt rates, it does not significantly impact overall quit rates compared to exclusive smoking or dual use of NRT.


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