E-cigarettes are beneficial to people attempting to quit smoking, a Cochrane review has found.
The study, Electronic cigarettes for smoking cessation and reduction, used two trials of 662 smokers, the authors of the study found that nine per cent of people who use an e-cigarette in a quit attempt were able to refrain from smoking for a year or longer, compared with four per cent of people who did not use an e-cigarette.
One of the trials used smokers who wished to quit, whereas the other used people who did not. The study notes that there was little difference in the effect of e-cigarettes and nicotine patches in helping people quit for 'uncertain' reasons.
The study, performed by researchers from Queen Mary University, Oxford University, and the University of Auckland, in New Zealand, also found that 36 per cent of people using e-cigarettes managed to halve the number of conventional cigarettes they smoked. Approximately 28 per cent using placebo devices managed to do this.
Martin Dockrell, head of the tobacco control programme at PHE said: 'People are regularly using these devices to cut down or quit completely. Combined with extremely low use among young people and those who have never smoked, these products have the potential to replace smoking.'
The study's authors commented that the trials did not show any 'serious adverse events that were considered to be plausibly related to e-cigarette use'. Mr Dockrell added: 'E-cigarettes are not currently licensed and both their contents and quality varies greatly. People are entitled to know that these products are safe and effective.'
Despite the encouraging results, the authors pointed out that the trials were too small to provide a definitive conclusion, and that more studies into the efficacy of e-cigarettes were required.