NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - Most people who smoke e-cigarettes want to quit and many have tried to reduce their use, according to Rutgers researchers.
The study, published in the journal Nicotine & Tobacco Research, is the first to examine e-cigarette users’ past attempts and current intentions to quit e-cigarettes in a representative sample of adult e-cigarette users in the United States.
About 10 million U.S. adults smoke e-cigarettes. Most of the users also smoke traditional cigarettes, though many use them to try to quit traditional cigarettes.
The study found that more than 60% of e-cigarette users want to quit using e-cigarettes and 16% plan to quit in the next month. More than 25% have tried to quit using e-cigarettes in the past year.
“Most of the discussion about e-cigarettes has focused on the relative harm as compared to traditional cigarettes, the efficacy of e-cigarettes as a cessation device, and the alarming increase of their use in children. In addition to those issues, our data suggests that e-cigarette users do not want to use these devices forever. Eventually, they want to stop using e-cigarettes the same way a traditional smoker wants to quit smoking cigarettes,” said study co-author Marc Steinberg, an associate professor of psychiatry at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and the director of the school’s Tobacco Research and Intervention lab.
“The strategies that people reported using to quit e-cigarettes include many of the strategies we recommend for quitting traditional cigarettes such as FDA-approved nicotine replacement products or medications, counseling, and social support,” said study author Rachel Rosen, a graduate student in the Department of Psychology.
“While e-cigarettes may be associated with reduced harm as compared to combustible cigarettes, they also are potentially addicting and the e-cigarette aerosol still contains toxic substances,” she said. “As e-cigarette use continues to increase and as more e-cigarette users want to quit, it will be important to be ready to help those who may have difficulty stopping on their own.”