The latest research on electronic cigarettes suggests that they actually make it less likely that smokers of regular cigarettes will kick the habit or smoke less.
E-cigarettes (or e-cigs) are often promoted as aids for smoking cessation, but most research suggests that they help keep smokers hooked. In a study published in the American Journal of Public Health, researchers from the University of California, San Diego, tracked 1,000 smokers for a year. Those who used e-cigs were 59 percent less likely to quit smoking and 49 percent less likely to cut down on smoking than those who never used e-cigs.
It’s not known how many smokers in the study were attempting to quit. And a few previous studies suggested that e-cigs may help some smokers in their attempts to quit. But overall the net effect of e-cigs on quitting rates is likely to be negative.
In 2014 the FDA proposed regulating e-cigs. In April 2015, the American College of Physicians called for accelerating strict regulation—notably banning advertising (as for cigarettes) and flavorings and taxing the sale of the devices and cartridges—in order to discourage use among children and teenagers. Clearly, there’s no time to waste. The CDC reported that more than 13 percent of high school students used e-cigs in 2014, three times as many as in 2013. For the first time, more teens used e-cigs than regular cigarettes.