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New Study Says E-Cigs Help Smokers Quit

Updated: 05/21/2014 8:57 AM
Created: 05/20/2014 9:13 PM KSTP.com
By: Naomi Pescovitz

Electronic cigarettes can help smokers quit, according to a new study out of University College London.

The study is one of the largest of its kind and will be published Wednesday in the Journal, Addiction. Scientists surveyed 5,863 smokers between 2009 and 2014. About 60 percent were more likely to quit using e-cigarettes rather than willpower or over-the-counter products like patches or gum.

A line of eager E-smokers rarely slows down at the Uptown Vapor Shoppe. For some, e-cigs are a habit. For others, electronic cigarettes help them quit smoking conventional cigarettes.

"I'm able to work out as long as I want, and I'm not low on energy. My teeth aren't getting yellow," said Grigoriy Gorshteyn, who smoked cigarettes for six years before switching to e-cigs about a year ago.

"I could feel that heaviness in my lungs, ever since I started vaping, that disappeared," Gorshteyn said.

At Uptown Vapor Shoppe, the staff posts testimonials from former smokers. Owner Sina War says more than 90 percent of their business comes from people who want to quit.

"You'll see that there's a lot more competition now, because a lot more of the public is using it," War said.

The London study also showed that 20 percent of people trying to quit using E-cigarettes stopped smoking tobacco cigarettes.

Allina Health Tobacco Treatment Specialist Karina DiLuzio is not convinced by the study. DiLuzio says e-cigarettes need more evidence and regulation including testing a placebo e-cigarette versus tobacco.

"A large concern about the e-cigarette is how much is out there, that makes people feel that they are a very safe tool, when in the reality is that they are very unsafe. And that we have not had time yet to determine exactly how unsafe they are," DiLuzio said.

DiLuzio believes there are better, safer and proven ways to quit.

"That is a combination of medication, counseling and follow up. And it is so much more likely to help people quit than doing it cold turkey," DiLuzio said.

Last month, the Food and Drug Administration proposed a ban on e-cigarette sales to minors, along with new warning labels.

This session, Minnesota lawmakers passed a bill banning them in government buildings, on school property or in daycares. They will be allowed in bars, however business cannot sell them to minors.

There could soon be even tighter restrictions in Minneapolis. The City's Park and Recreation board is considering a ban on cigarettes and e-cigarettes in all Minneapolis parks. The board will consider the ordinance next month. There is a current policy which bans smoking within 100 feet of park buildings, playgrounds, pools, water play areas and beaches.

Click here to learn more about Allina Health's Quit to Live Well program for tobacco cessation.

Click here to learn more about the study.

Photo: AP/ Nam Y. Huh

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