July 28 (UPI) -- A new study suggests e-cigarettes are effective as an aid to quit smoking and are linked to an increase in smoking cessation rates.
The study, published July 26 in The BMJ, included 160,000 participants from a series of large population surveys from 2010-2011 to 2014-2015, when e-cigarette use rose from more than 1 percent to 30 percent, respectively.
Professor Shu-Hong Zhu, of the Department of Family Medicine and Public Health at the University of California, San Diego, and colleagues calculated quit attempt and quit success rates among regular smokers who used e-cigarettes and those who did not.
Researchers then measured the difference in quit rates between the two time periods and found a noticeable increase in e-cigarette use from 2010 to 2015 in the United States, which was associated with a large and unprecedented increase in quit attempts.
The study also showed a significant increase in population quit rates from 4.5 percent to 5.6 percent. This increase is higher than that found in all other survey years since 2000.
Researchers found that although there was a large federal tobacco tax increase in 2009 and a nationwide mass media campaign against smoking, those two factors could not account for the increase in quit attempts and quit rates alone.
The study was unable to address the long-term safety of e-cigarettes, which is a factor for clinicians and policy makers in making policy decisions regarding regulation.