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Expert panel says it's still unclear whether or not e-cigarettes help smokers quit

by , 05 June 2015

According to an influential panel US panel of experts, there isn't enough data to decide whether or not e-cigarettes can get you quit smoking.

For now, the US Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends behavioural therapy and federally-approved medications (such as nicotine replacement products) for smokers who want to kick their habit.

Read on to find out more.

USPSTF recommends you choose more “appropriate” way to quit smoking

The task force, an independent panel of volunteers, makes recommendations about the prevention of medical problems through strategies like screenings, counselling services and medications.
 
According to the USPSTF, an estimated 18% of the world’s population are smokers, and smoking remains the country’s most serious preventable cause of death, disability and illness. Each year, it causes 480,000 deaths, the force says; making it responsible for about 20% of deaths.
 
Task force member Dr Francisco Garcia explains that if you decide to stop smoking, you shouldn’t just reach for an e-cigarette, because it remains unclear whether they can be helpful or not.
 
Instead, he recommends choosing a more “appropriate” way to stop smoking, like behavioural therapy or nicotine replacement products.
 
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There’s not enough proof that e-cigarettes do good, task force members argue

E-cigarette use is continuing to boom in popularity across the world. But the USPSTF says that although it’s a safer and healthier alternative to cigarettes, there’s not much proof that it can help you quit for good.
 
“There simply isn’t enough good research for the panel to make a decision about whether e-cigarettes are a good idea for adults who wish to stop smoking,” Dr Garcia says.
 
An outside expert agreed. “More studies are needed to determine the potential risks and benefits of these products before they’re recommended to patients as smoking cessation aids,” said Patricia Folan, director of the Center for Tobacco Control at North Shore-LIJ Health System in New York.
 
Folan also stressed the importance of helping pregnant women quit the habit.
 
“Smoking during pregnancy not only results in harm to the child in utero, but will also result in exposure to the hazards of second-hand smoke for the child if the mother is unable to quit or remain quit,” she said.

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