We’re one week into the New Year, and there are no doubt plenty of people struggling with their New Year’s resolution to quit smoking. A new study in the journal Cancer Epidemiology suggests that electronic cigarettes could help. The small, pilot study found that smokers who were provided with e-cigarettes smoked fewer cigarettes and were more likely to quit smoking.
While e-cigarettes expose users to fewer harmful chemicals than traditional cigarettes, they are controversial. Another study released the same week highlighted a risk often cited by e-cigarette opponents, finding that adolescents who used e-cigarettes or other smokeless tobacco products were more likely to start smoking cigarettes within a year.
“We need to have smart, science-based, regulatory policy that keeps e-cigarettes out of the hands of non-users, but may get them into the hands of smokers,” said Matthew Carpenter, a tobacco control and addiction expert at the Hollings Cancer Center at the Medical University of South Carolina and the co-author of the Cancer Epidemiology study.
Above all, Carpenter said, we need more – and more rigorous – research to understand both the risks and benefits of e-cigarettes.