E-cigarettes as good as nicotine patches

A team of New Zealand researchers found more people stopped smoking for at least six months with e-cigarettes than with nicotine patches, although without statistical significance.

The study also suggested e-cigarettes were comparable to nicotine patches in terms of safety, although longer-term data was needed.

E-cigarettes simulate cigarette smoking by heating a nicotine solution encased in a battery-powered cigarette-like stick, to produce a vapour.

More than 650 smokers who wanted to quit were split into three groups who received 13 weeks' supply of commercially available e-cigarettes (16mg nicotine), 13 weeks' supply of nicotine patches (21mg, one daily) or placebo e-cigarettes.

The proportion of participants who successfully quit was highest in the e-cigarettes group – 7.3%, compared to 5.8% for those in the nicotine patches group – and 4.1% in the placebo group. 

Among those who had not managed to quit