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Cochrane Library: Vaping Helps Quit Smoking

Cochrane Library: Vaping Helps Quit Smoking

The fourth consecutive systematic review of studies published in the Cochrane Library examines the use of electronic cigarettes to achieve long-term smoking cessation. It was found that vaping potentially helps more people quit smoking and works better than traditional nicotine replacement therapies such as patches or gum.

The Cochrane review gathers all the latest research on the impact and safety of electronic cigarette use. This specific review is the second since October 2020 when the need for reliable and immediate information on e-cigarettes led researchers to adopt a living update approach.



According to the authors of the Cochrane review: "Since their introduction to the market a decade ago, electronic cigarettes have caused significant disruption in the public health community. It is crucial that discussions around this issue are based on high-quality, relevant, and up-to-date scientific data."

"We want to include all the scientific evidence to ensure that the findings of the review are as comprehensive as possible. With the support of Cancer Research UK and the University of Oxford, we are actively seeking new evidence each month for the Cochrane review on electronic cigarettes and smoking cessation."

"The Cochrane Library systematic reviews are recognized globally as the highest standard for organizing medical research findings. The Cochrane Library is the most reliable and up-to-date source of information, based on evidence-based sources, and can assist clinicians in making decisions."

Since its initial publication on vaping in 2014, the Cochrane review has contributed to national and international guidelines. "Misinformation about e-cigarettes is significant, and we actively engage in sharing data with different audiences," state the Cochrane experts.


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The new report examines evidence on whether electronic cigarettes help people quit smoking and whether those who use them for this purpose experience any adverse effects.

The review includes 61 completed studies involving 16,759 participants, of which 34 are randomized controlled trials. Five new studies were added since the previous update in April 2021. The review now includes data up to May 1, 2021.


61 studies of 16,759 adults who smoked were reviewed. The studies compared electronic cigarettes to:

  • Nicotine replacement therapies such as patches, gum, etc.
  • Varenicline (a medication prescribed in smoking cessation clinics)
  • Nicotine-free electronic cigarettes
  • Other types of electronic cigarettes containing nicotine (e.g., pod devices, newer devices)
  • Other types of electronic cigarettes containing nicotine (e.g., pen-style devices, newer devices)
  • Psychological support, counseling, or no support for smoking cessation



  • More people achieved at least six months or longer smoking abstinence using nicotine-containing electronic cigarettes compared to those using nicotine replacement therapies (4 studies, 1,924 participants) or those vaping without nicotine (5 studies, 1,447 participants).
  • Nicotine-containing electronic cigarettes can help more people quit smoking compared to quitting alone ("going cold turkey") or with the help of counseling support (6 studies, 2,886 participants).
  • For every 100 people using nicotine-containing vaping devices to quit smoking, 9 to 14 successfully quit, compared to only 6 out of 100 using nicotine replacement therapies, 7 out of 100 vaping without nicotine, and 4 out of 100 attempting to quit alone or with counseling support.


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Nicotine vaping helps smokers quit smoking for at least six months and is more effective compared to nicotine replacement therapies (patches or gum) or vaping without nicotine.

It is also more effective than going "cold turkey" and simple counseling support, and nicotine vaping is not associated with serious adverse effects for the user.



Cochrane Library - Electronic cigarettes for smoking cessation

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