Background: Electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) are battery-powered devices that deliver nicotine without any combustion or smoke. These devices have generated much publicity among the smoking-cessation community and support from dedicated users; however, little is known about the efficacy of the device as a smoking-cessation tool.
Purpose: This study aimed to examine the effectiveness of e-cigarettes for smoking cessation using a survey of smokers who had tried e-cigarettes.
Methods: Using as a sampling frame a cohort of all first-time purchasers of a particular brand of e-cigarettes during a 2-week period, a cross-sectional, online survey was conducted in 2010 to describe e-cigarette use patterns and their effectiveness as a smoking-cessation tool. There were 222 respondents, with a survey response rate of 4.5%. The primary outcome variable was the point prevalence of smoking abstinence at 6 months after initial e-cigarette purchase.
Results: The primary finding was that the 6-month point prevalence of smoking abstinence among the e-cigarette users in the sample was 31.0% (95% CI=24.8%, 37.2%). A large percentage of respondents reported a reduction in the number of cigarettes they smoked (66.8%) and almost half reported abstinence from smoking for a period of time (48.8%). Those respondents using e-cigarettes more than 20 times per day had a quit rate of 70.0%. Of respondents who were not smoking at 6 months, 34.3% were not using e-cigarettes or any nicotine-containing products at the time.
Conclusions: Findings suggest that e-cigarettes may hold promise as a smoking-cessation method and that they are worthy of further study using more-rigorous research designs.
Copyright © 2011 American Journal of Preventive Medicine. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.