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Tobacco giants fund e-cigarettes LEAST likely to make you quit

Cigalikes are less effective at helping you quit nicotine than the “tank” model of e-cigs

Tobacco giants are funding the types of e-cigarettes that are LEAST likely to make you quit, according to a new study.

The study looked at 587 people using e-cigarettes and compared those who used “cigalikes” versus those who used “tank” models.

Cigalikes resemble tobacco cigarettes and are either disposable or use replaceable cartridges. The tank models, on the other hand, look different and have chambers that are filled with e-liquid.

In the study around 76% of participants used cigalikes while 24% used tank models.

After a year nearly a THIRD of daily tank users (28%) had quit smoking compared with 11% of daily cigalike users. This is roughly the same as those who didn’t use e-cigarettes (13%).

The cigalike model (left) is less effective for quitting nicotine than the tank model

Non-daily cigalike users were even less likely to quit than those not using e-cigarettes – with just 5% quitting smoking.

The researchers – from Kings College London – flagged this as a cause for concern, particularly since the tobacco industry owns many of the most prominent cigalike brands. Plus tobacco industry-owned cigalikes tend to be most prominently positioned in the shops that sell them.

That’s at the same time as tobacco giants are using MASSIVE lobbying power to dilute EU regulation of the industry.

“At this point we don’t know why people who use tank type e-cigarettes daily are more likely to have quit,” said the study’s author Dr Sara Hitchman.

Big tobacco has bought a lot of e-cigarette companies

“Research suggests that tanks might deliver nicotine more effectively and perhaps be more satisfying to users, but there may also be other factors, including price and the ways that tanks allow the user to adapt the product, such as the nicotine content and flavour of the liquid.”

There were a number of problems with the research, which the authors highlight, including a very small sample of volunteers – particularly in the group using the tank model of e-cigarette.

Furthermore, the small group was very different in terms of age and education so it’s hard to prove the causal link between the type of vaping device and quitting smoking.

The tank model of e-cig delivers nicotine more effectively

Finally the study is from 2013; e-cigs have evolved a lot since then.

“If this really does, eventually, turn out to be a true effect, then it argues for the use of these products within a regulated cessation programme, rather than using them as a consumer good,” said Professor Martin McKee from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.

“Given other concerns about the toxicity of long term inhalation of nicotine and the flavourings contained in these products, it seems that the precautionary approach adopted by public health authorities in many countries remains justified,” he added.

Tom Pruen from e-cig trade body ECITA says he doesn’t think tobacco companies are producing ineffective products deliberately.

“I think it’s more a reflection that the simple,sealed, cigalike products are better suited to the wholesale distribution channels they use, and the poor understanding of the market they had when buying up e-cig companies,” he said.

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