E-cigarettes for smoking cessation

N. Engl. J. Med.

Smoking is the second leading risk factor for early death and disability worldwide. Identifying the best means to support those who attempt to quit the habit has been a long-standing public health goal.

Credit: / Alamy Stock Photo

In new research, 886 smokers attending U.K. National Health Service stop-smoking services were randomly assigned to either nicotine-replacement products of their choice, including product combinations, or to refillable e-cigarettes with liquids of the flavour and strength of their choice. Both groups also received behavioural support for at least 4 weeks. After 1 year, 18% of the e-cigarette group was completely abstinent, as compared to 9.9% in the nicotine replacement group. Among those who didn’t achieve complete abstinence, more e-cigarette users managed to reduce their smoking by 50% or more than nicotine replacement therapy users.

Although the long-term effects of e-cigarette use are unknown, switching completely from cigarettes to e-cigarettes would likely reduce known health risks. This study shows that using e-cigarettes is almost twice as effective in helping smokers quit in comparison to nicotine-replacement therapy.

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to Stavroula Kousta.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Kousta, S. E-cigarettes for smoking cessation. Nat Hum Behav 3, 322 (2019).

Download citation

Further reading