Among smokers who never had plans to quit, those who used e-cigarettes daily were eight times more likely to stop smoking cigarettes than those who did not use e-cigarettes, according to a study published yesterday in JAMA Network Open.
“A long-standing theory suggests that taking even a first step toward contemplating quitting smoking can have a positive impact on net cigarette cessation rates,” wrote Karin A. Kraza, Ph.D., of the Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center in Buffalo, N. Y., and colleagues. “Thus, evaluation of factors associated with cigarette discontinuation among smokers not planning to quit is important to understanding the range of potential impacts of e-cigarette use on net cigarette cessation.”
Kraza and colleagues analyzed four waves of the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health Study, a nationally representative cohort study of youth and adults, collected between October 2014 and November 2019. Participants completed computer-assisted interviews during which they reported current cigarette and e-cigarette use and whether they planned to ever quit tobacco for good. Participants were included in the study if they completed baseline and follow-up interviews and if, at baseline, they smoked cigarettes every day, did not use e-cigarettes at all, and had no plans to quit smoking tobacco permanently. There were two outcome measures: cigarette discontinuation, defined as having not smoked cigarettes in the past 12 months or currently smoking not at all, and discontinuation of daily cigarette smoking, defined as having not smoked in the past 12 months, currently smoking not at all, or currently smoking some days.
A total of 1,600 participants were included in the study. Overall, 6.2% of participants reported at follow-up that they had discontinued all cigarette smoking. Twenty-eight percent of those who reported cigarette discontinuation at follow-up also reported using e-cigarettes on a daily basis, while 5.8% reported no e-cigarette use. Nearly 11% of participants also reported discontinuing daily cigarette smoking at follow-up; the odds of discontinuing daily cigarette smoking were higher among those who reported using e-cigarettes daily, compared with those who did not use e-cigarettes at all. Non-daily use of e-cigarettes did not significantly increase the odds of discontinuing daily cigarette smoking.
“Smokers with no plans to ever quit smoking tend to smoke more cigarettes per day and … are also often overlooked in the population-based e-cigarette use and cigarette discontinuation literature,” the authors wrote. “Our findings here suggest that such smokers should be specifically considered when evaluating the risk-benefit potential of e-cigarettes for smoking cessation in the population.”
For related information, see the Psychiatric News article “Surgeon General on Smoking: Most Want to Quit.”
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