The most complete examine so far investigating whether or not e-cigarettes analyzing if e-cigarettes function a gateway into or out of smoking, reveals that, on a broader scale, e-cigarettes and related different nicotine supply programs don’t encourage smoking.
This examine, carried out by Queen Mary University of London and funded by the National Institute of Health and Care Research (NIHR), additionally means that these merchandise may be accelerating the decline of smoking by competing with conventional cigarettes. However, this commentary is preliminary, and extra knowledge is required to determine the magnitude of this affect.
Study Methodology and Comparisons
The examine in contrast the time course of use and gross sales of digital cigarettes with that of smoking charges and cigarette gross sales in nations with traditionally related smoking trajectories, however differing present e-cigarette rules.
It in contrast the United Kingdom and the United States with Australia, the place gross sales of nicotine-containing e-cigarettes are banned. It additionally checked out interactions between smoking and nicotine options which are in style in different nations, together with the usage of oral nicotine pouches in Sweden and merchandise that warmth somewhat than burn tobacco in Japan and South Korea the place they’re broadly used.
Findings and Implications
The decline in people who smoke in Australia has been slower than within the UK, and slower than in each the UK and the USA amongst younger folks and in decrease socioeconomic teams. The decline in cigarette gross sales has additionally accelerated quicker within the UK than in Australia. The enhance in heated tobacco product gross sales in Japan was accompanied by a big lower in cigarette gross sales.
Researchers observe that as a result of folks might use each cigarettes and different merchandise, prevalence figures for these merchandise overlap, and so longer time durations are wanted to find out any results of unique use of the brand new merchandise on smoking prevalence. They additionally say that the indications that different nicotine merchandise are changing smoking – particularly the dimensions of this impact – have to be confirmed when extra knowledge change into obtainable. As additional prevalence and gross sales knowledge emerge, the analyses will change into extra informative.
Professor Peter Hajek, Director of Health and Lifestyle Research Unit, Wolfson Institute of Population Health, Queen Mary University of London, stated: “The results of this study alleviate the concern that access to e-cigarettes and other low-risk nicotine products promotes smoking. There is no sign of that, and there are some signs that they in fact compete against cigarettes, but more data over a longer time period are needed to determine the size of this effect.”
Co-author, Professor Lion Shahab, Co-Director of the UCL Tobacco and Alcohol Research Group, stated: “This comprehensive analysis provides reassurance that countries which have adopted a more progressive stance towards e-cigarettes have not seen a detrimental impact on smoking rates. If anything, the results suggest that – more likely than not – e-cigarettes have displaced harmful cigarettes in those countries so far. However, as this is fast-moving field, with new technologies entering the market every year, it remains important to continue monitoring national data.”
Professor Brian Ferguson, Director of the Public Health Research Programme (NIHR) commented: “The initial findings from this study are valuable but no firm conclusions can be drawn yet. More research is needed in this area to understand further the impact that alternative nicotine delivery products, such as e-cigarettes, might have on smoking rates.”
Reference: “Effects of reduced-risk nicotine-delivery products on smoking prevalence and cigarette sales: an observational study” by Francesca Pesola, Anna Phillips-Waller, Emma Beard, Lion Shahab, David Sweanor, Martin Jarvis and Peter Hajek, September 2023, Public Health Research.
This analysis was funded by the National Institute for Health and Care Research.