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Study: E-cigarettes can help smokers quit, but have higher rate of relapse

By Tauren Dyson
Researchers say that for former smokers that have switched to e-cigarettes, a longer duration of vaping increases the risk for relapse to smoking. Photo by sarahjohnson1/Pixabay
Researchers say that for former smokers that have switched to e-cigarettes, a longer duration of vaping increases the risk for relapse to smoking. Photo by sarahjohnson1/Pixabay

July 17 (UPI) -- Vaping may help people to quit cigarettes, but the longer they use e-cigarettes, the more likely they are to start smoking again, a new study suggests.

People turn to e-cigarettes as an alternative to tobacco cigarettes, but many relapsed back to smoking within two years of quitting, according to new research published this week in JAMA Internal Medicine.

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For nearly two years, the researchers looked at about 5,400 e-cigarette users and smokers in France, and more than 2,000 who consider themselves former smokers -- though some acknowledged regular e-cigarette use.

Overall, researchers report that former smokers who used e-cigarettes were more likely to have a relapse smoking traditional cigarettes. While they note that risk of relapse decreased as more time passed from smoking cigarettes or using e-cigarettes, the new study runs counter to previous research showing that vaping can help smokers avoid relapse.

E-cigarette companies have promoted their products as less harmful alternatives to smoking due to their lack of tobacco and associated chemicals. But one study has shown the number of Americans who think e-cigarettes are unsafe continues to grow.

The FDA crackdown e-cigarettes may have also be causing many people to turn their backs on vaping.

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The researchers say their findings suggest former smokers relapse because they don't like vaping as much as cigarettes.

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