People who switch from smoking to vaping, or puffing on an electronic cigarette, have more or less luck quitting depending on the type of device they use.
According to a new study by addiction scientists at King’s College London, only 11% of participants who used “cigalikes,” or disposable e-cigarettes, were able to quit smoking. However, 28% of those who used refillable and rechargeable “tank” e-cigs were able to quit.
The caveat, of course, is that users had to use these devices each day. Those who didn’t use e-cigarettes of either variety each day had lower quitting numbers, although rechargeable e-cigarette users were still more likely to quit.
The study was published in the journal Nicotine and Tobacco Research, and it could help millions of Americans decide which type of electronic cigarette is best for them.
Disposable e-cigarettes may be convenient for new users because they don’t require any refilling or charging. But rechargeable models with tanks can be used again and again to deliver nicotine.
Researchers said that the tanks may also deliver nicotine more effectively through the device’s e-liquid, which is used to produce vapor. Users can also choose from different e-liquid flavors and adjust nicotine content, and they may be more economical price-wise if bought in beginner-level vaping kits with everything the user needs.
According to other studies, electronic cigarettes of any kind trump other smoking cessation products. One study found that e-cigs were 60% more effective in helping smokers quit than other products, like nicotine gum and patches.
Sara Hitchman, the head of the study and a lecturer in the King’s Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, said that the research highlights how important it is for researchers to distinguish between the different types of e-cigarettes when studying their effects.
“Our research demonstrates the importance of distinguishing between different types of e-cigarettes and frequency of use when examining the association between e-cigarettes and quitting,” Hitchman said in a statement.
However, the devices aren’t always welcomed by researchers and health officials. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have been especially outspoken against the devices.
California legislators have also taken steps to ban the devices’ use in public places, and many other states around the country are adopting similar laws, often lumping them together with existing anti-smoking laws.
Supporters of electronic cigarettes point out that their popularity has led to lower smoking rates across the country, even for teens who are often not legally allowed to buy these products.
Teen smoking rates have dropped 25% over the past year and nearly 42% since 2011, according to Joe Nocera’s New York Times op-ed. He also warns against the danger of treating e-cigarettes like traditional cigarettes when, in fact, the devices present a reduced-risk alternative to tobacco.