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Use of E-Cigarettes May Hurt Efforts to Quit Smoking

Findings based on a study of patients trying to quit smoking following hospital discharge

WEDNESDAY, March 28, 2018 (HealthDay News) — Among smokers who plan to quit after being discharged from the hospital, electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) users are less likely to abstain from tobacco at six months, compared to nonusers, according to a study published online March 27 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Nancy A. Rigotti, M.D., from Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, and colleagues conducted secondary data analysis of a randomized controlled trial in order to determine whether e-cigarette use after hospital discharge is associated with subsequent tobacco abstinence among 1,357 smokers who planned to quit and were assigned to either a tobacco treatment recommendation (control) or free tobacco treatment (intervention).

The researchers found that 28 percent of participants used an e-cigarette within three months after discharge. Based on 237 propensity score-matched pairs, e-cigarette users were less likely to abstain from tobacco use at six months compared to nonusers (10.1 versus 26.6 percent). There was variance in the association between e-cigarette use and quitting between intervention patients, who were given access to conventional treatment (7.7 versus 29.8 percent), and control patients, who received only treatment recommendations (12.0 versus 24.1 percent; P for interaction = 0.143).

“Additional study is needed to determine whether regular use of e-cigarettes aids or hinders smoking cessation,” the authors write.

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