A new study has found that nearly 60% of recent former smokers who were daily e-cigarette users resumed smoking by 2019. The study was published Monday in the journal BMJ which analysed the latest 2017 to 2019 data. The study followed tobacco use among Americans over time, with scientist John P. Pierce saying that this is the first time we found e-cigarettes to be less popular than FDA-approved pharmaceutical aids.
E-cigarettes were also associated with less successful quitting during that time frame, with Pierce even saying that there’s no evidence that the use of e-cigarettes is an effective cessation aid. A three-month randomised trial in the UK published in 2019 found e-cigarettes, along with behavioural interventions, did help smokers quit tobacco cigarettes. In fact, in 2021, UK National Institute for Health and Care Excellence recommended smokers use e-cigarettes to help them quit.
However, other studies in the US that study real-world environment smoking did not find that to be true. People analysed in this study who quit smoking tobacco cigarettes between 2013 and 2016 by switching to e-cigs were 8.5% more likely to resume smoking. It was also found that teens were increasingly using the vapes during the same period. By September 2018, then-FDA commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb was calling teen use of e-cigarettes an epidemic. Prior works found e-cigarettes to function as a gateway drug for many teens, with youth ages 12 to 24 who used e-cigarettes were three times as likely to become daily cigarette smokers in the future.