Long-Term E-Cigarette Use and Smoking Cessation: A Longitudinal Study with U.S. Population

Summary of Study

Bottom Line: This longitudinal study is the first to examine the long-term use of e-cigarettes and its association with quitting outcomes in a nationally representative sample of US smokers. The results show that prolonged use of e-cigarettes is associated with a higher smoking cessation rate, independent of baseline variables.

E-cigarettes have grown popular in recent years. The majority of e-cigarette users are current cigarette smokers. One reason e-cigarettes are so popular among smokers is that many believe that e-cigarettes can help them quit smoking and, indeed, the use of e-cigarettes appears to be associated with intention to quit smoking. 

On the other hand, there are concerns that dual use might delay quitting of cigarette smoking because many dual users state both that they use e-cigarettes at times and in places where they cannot smoke. E-cigarettes could also lessen their urgency to quit smoking. 

Many studies have examined the association of e-cigarette use and smoking cessation. However, only a few have investigated the effect of long-term use of e-cigarettes. Two studies reported high cessation rates among long-term e-cigarette users.

This study examined the relationship between long-term use of e-cigarettes and smoking cessation in a 2-year period. Non-users did not use e-cigarettes at either survey. Quit attempt rates and cessation rates (abstinent for 3 months or longer) were compared across the three groups.

At 2-year follow-up, 43.7% of baseline dual users were still using e-cigarettes. Long-term e-cigarette users had a higher quit attempt rate than short-term or non-users (72.6% vs 53.8% and 45.5%, respectively), and a higher cessation rate (42.4% vs 14.2% and 15.6%, respectively).

The difference in cessation rate between long-term users and non-users remained significant after adjusting for baseline variables, as did the difference between long-term users and short-term users. The difference in cessation rates between short-term users and non-users was not significant.

This study suggests that more than one-third of US smokers used e-cigarettes in their last quit attempt. In fact, about one-quarter of them used e-cigarettes as their only cessation aid. Among those making a quit attempt, use of e-cigarettes as a cessation aid surpassed that of FDA-approved pharmacotherapy. 

Read the full report here.

Feature Charticle

E-cigarettes Use as Predictors of Quit Attempt Rate and Cessation Rate at Follow-up

Long-Term E-Cigarette Use and Smoking Cessation: A Longitudinal Study with U.S. Population

By Yue-Lin Zhuang, Sharon E Cummins, Jessica Y Sun, Shu-Hong Zhu,

Moores Cancer Center, University of California

Page 93

  • At 2-year follow-up, long-term e-cigarette users had a higher quit attempt rate than short-term or non-users (72.6% vs 53.8% and 45.5%, respectively).
  • Long-term users also had a higher cessation rate (42.4% vs 14.2% and 15.6%, respectively).
  • The difference in cessation rate between long-term users and non-users remained significant after adjusting for baseline variables, as did the difference between long-term users and short-term users.
  • The difference in cessation rates between short-term users and non-users was not significant.