Smokers using electronic cigarettes are less likely to quit smoking than those who don’t use the devices, California study finds

The sudden increase in use of electronic cigarettes has prompted questions about whether they actually help people quit smoking. A study published online in the American Journal of Public Health found that individuals who use e-cigarettes are actually less likely to quit smoking than those who do not. In Kentucky, 24 percent of adults and 41 percent of those aged 18 to 29 reported using e-cigarettes, according to a Kentucky Health Issues Poll.

The study, conducted by researchers from the University of California San Diego School of Medicine, discovered that smokers who use e-cigs are 59 percent less likely reduce cigarette use and 59 percent less likely to stop smoking altogether, compared to smokers who have not used e-cigs.

“Based on the idea that smokers use e-cigarettes to quit smoking, we hypothesized that smokers who used these products would be more successful in quitting,” said Wael Al-Delaimy, professor and chief of the Division of Global Public Health in UC-San Diego’s Department of Family Medicine and Public Health. He said the research showed the hypothesis was false, and more studies are required to find out why these people can’t stop smoking. “One hypothesis is that smokers are receiving an increase in nicotine dose by using e-cigarettes,” he said.

E-cigs don’t contain tobacco, but smoking them releases ultra-fine particles and volatile organic compounds such as heavy metals. The study also found that women and those who smoke daily are more likely to have tried e-cigarettes.

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