Are e-cigarettes a helpful tool in the efforts to kick the butt? Not at all, says a new study.
The study found that smokers, who used e-cigarettes were 49 percent less likely to decrease cigarette use and 59 percent less likely to quit smoking compared to smokers, who never used e-cigarettes.
"Based on the idea that smokers use e-cigarettes to quit smoking, we hypothesised that smokers who used these products would be more successful in quitting," said professor Wael Al-Delaimy from the University of California, San Diego.
"But the research revealed the contrary. We need further studies to answer why they cannot quit. One hypothesis is that smokers are receiving an increase in nicotine dose by using e-cigarettes," Al-Delaimy added.
Although e-cigarettes do not contain tobacco, users, known colloquially as "vapers", exhale a mixture of volatile organic compounds, heavy metals and ultrafine particles that usually contain aerosolised nicotine in a cloud of vapour.
The population-based study followed 1,000 California smokers over the course of one year.
The findings showed that daily smokers and women were more likely to have tried e-cigarettes.
Al-Delaimy believes the study will help the US Food and Drug Administration and other regulators as they create guidelines for e-cigarettes amid continued discussion about product safety and its attraction to people who have never used traditional cigarettes.
In January, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) released an advisory that addressed the health risks posed by e-cigarettes.
"There is a lot of misinformation about e-cigarettes. That is why I advise to avoid the use of e-cigarettes and keep them away from children of all ages," said CDPH director and state health officer Ron Chapman.
The study was published online in the American Journal of Public Health.