A new study conducted by the researchers of the University College (UCL), published in the journal addiction, found that electronic cigarettes may boost quitting success among smokers.
About 5,863 people in England who attempted to quit smoking sometime between 2009 and 2014 were surveyed and the research concluded that smokers who used e-cigarettes were 60 percent more likely to quit smoking than those who used alternative methods like gum, going cold-turkey or using nicotine patch.
E-cigarettes gained popularity in early 2000 and became an alternative to tobacco smoking producing a nicotine-rich vapor that doesn't have the various toxins and carcinogens that make tobacco cigarettes hazardous to human health.
The new study provides empirical evidence that e-cigarettes could be a game changer and vital tool in lowering the number of smokers and tobacco-related deaths and conditions.
"E-cigarettes could substantially improve public health because of their widespread appeal and the huge health gains associated with stopping smoking," Prof. Robert West of University College London's Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, senior author of the study in a press release, said.
"However, we should also recognise that the strongest evidence remains for use of the NHS stop-smoking services. These almost triple a smoker's odds of successfully quitting compared with going it alone or relying on over-the-counter products."
There is an ongoing debate as to the extent of the advantages of e-cigarettes citing it only replaces one habit with another. According to Reuters, being a relatively new product, long-term evidence has yet to be provided and a consensus has not been reached on whether they're really effective and healthier option.
The World Health Organization estimated 100 million deaths were caused by tobacco in the 20th century and without action tobacco-related deaths will increase to more than eight million annually by 2030.
"This will not settle the e-cigarette issue by any means," NY Times of Thomas J. Glynn, a researcher at the American Cancer Society, noted, "but it is further evidence that, in a real-world context, e-cigarettes can be a useful, although not revolutionary, tool in helping some smokers to stop."