Electronic Cigarettes Efficacy and Safety at 12 Months: Cohort Study

Stefania Boccia, Walter Ricciardi, Lamberto Manzoli, Maria Elena Flacco, Maria Fiore, Carlo La Vecchia, Carolina Marzuillo, Maria Rosaria Gualano, Giorgio Liguori, Giancarlo Cicolini, Lorenzo Capasso, Claudio D'Amario, Roberta Siliquini, Paolo Villari

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65 Citations (Scopus)


OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the safety and efficacy as a tool of smoking cessation of electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes), directly comparing users of e-cigarettes only, smokers of tobacco cigarettes only, and smokers of both. DESIGN: Prospective cohort study. Final results are expected in 2019, but given the urgency of data to support policies on electronic smoking, we report the results of the 12-month follow-up. DATA SOURCES: Direct contact and structured questionnaires by phone or via internet. METHODS: Adults (30-75 years) were included if they were smokers of ≥1 tobacco cigarette/day (tobacco smokers), users of any type of e-cigarettes, inhaling ≥50 puffs weekly (e-smokers), or smokers of both tobacco and e-cigarettes (dual smokers). Carbon monoxide levels were tested in a sample of those declaring tobacco smoking abstinence. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Sustained smoking abstinence from tobacco smoking at 12 months, reduction in the number of tobacco cigarettes smoked daily. DATA SYNTHESIS: We used linear and logistic regression, with region as cluster unit. RESULTS: Follow-up data were available for 236 e-smokers, 491 tobacco smokers, and 232 dual smokers (overall response rate 70.8%). All e-smokers were tobacco ex-smokers. At 12 months, 61.9% of the e-smokers were still abstinent from tobacco smoking; 20.6% of the tobacco smokers and 22.0% of the dual smokers achieved tobacco abstinence. Adjusting for potential confounders, tobacco smoking abstinence or cessation remained significantly more likely among e-smokers (adjusted OR 5.19; 95% CI: 3.35-8.02), whereas adding e-cigarettes to tobacco smoking did not enhance the likelihood of quitting tobacco and did not reduce tobacco cigarette consumption. E-smokers showed a minimal but significantly higher increase in self-rated health than other smokers. Non significant differences were found in self-reported serious adverse events (eleven overall). CONCLUSIONS: Adding e-cigarettes to tobacco smoking did not facilitate smoking cessation or reduction. If e-cigarette safety will be confirmed, however, the use of e-cigarettes alone may facilitate quitters remaining so.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e0129443-1-e0129443-14
Number of pages14
JournalPLoS One
Publication statusPublished - 2015




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