Intended for healthcare professionals


Rise in e-cigarette use linked to increase in smoking cessation rates

BMJ 2017; 358 doi: (Published 26 July 2017) Cite this as: BMJ 2017;358:j3506
  1. Christopher Bullen, professor of public health
  1. National Institute for Health Innovation, School of Population Health, The University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
  1. c.bullen{at}

New evidence supports a liberal approach to e-cigarette regulation

Evidence for the effectiveness of e-cigarettes as smoking cessation aids for individual smokers, still limited to just two randomised controlled trials of now obsolete e-cigarettes, suggests they are at least as effective as nicotine patches.1 A handful of efficacy trials currently underway with newer products will contribute much needed randomised data to this evaluation (see web extra on But perhaps more important to tobacco control policy makers than evidence at the level of individual efficacy is the question of whether the growing use of e-cigarettes is having a positive or negative impact at the population level.

Since their appearance in Western countries almost a decade ago, e-cigarettes have generated considerable debate.2 But the claims and counterclaims as to their benefits or harms, …

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