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E-cigarette smokers are younger and more motivated to quit

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted July 29, 2013

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Adults who try electronic cigarettes to quit smoking appear to be serious about wanting to kick the habit, said a study of smokers in Hawaii posted online July 18 in the American Journal of Public Health.

Thirteen percent reported trying e-cigarettes during their attempts to quit. A majority (68%) were heavy smokers, meaning they smoked more than 10 cigarettes a day.

Those who used e-cigarettes as a cessation tool were younger, significantly more motivated to quit smoking and more likely to previously have used federally approved cessation products compared with smokers who didn’t try the electronic product for quitting purposes.

The FDA lacks regulations for e-cigarettes as therapeutic drug delivery devices and intends to regulate them as tobacco products, the study said. There is debate about whether the products deserve consideration as possible effective cessation aids. Much of the discussion has been fueled by uncertainties regarding the public health risks and benefits of e-cigarettes, the study said.

Rigorous testing of e-cigarettes is needed to assess their safety and cessation effectiveness, the study authors said. If the products are ineffective and potentially risky, strategies are needed to help smokers find effective cessation aids, said the study (link).

Researchers examined data on 1,567 smokers 18 and older who participated in a survey between January 2010 and August 2012 on their smoking habits and attempts to quit. Participants smoked at least 100 cigarettes in their lifetime.

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