Do e-cigarettes make it harder to stop smoking?

People trying to give up smoking often use e-cigarettes to help wean themselves off tobacco. Most experts think they are safer than cigarettes but a surprising paper was published recently - it suggests that people who use e-cigarettes are less successful at giving up smoking than those who don't.

 

"E-cigarettes WON'T help you quit," reported the Daily Mail. "Smokers using vapers are '28% less likely to ditch traditional cigarettes,'" read the paper's headline.

 

The story was reported on many other websites around the world, including CBS: "Study: E-cigarettes don't help smokers quit," it said.

 

The study causing the fuss was written by researchers at the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education at the University of California, and published in one of the Lancet's sister journals, Lancet Respiratory Medicine.

 

It is a meta-analysis, which means the authors reviewed the academic literature already available on the topic. They sifted out the weaker papers - ones that didn't have control groups, for example - and were left with 20.

 

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