Could vapers be a good influence on smokers?
New research suggests that cigarette smokers who spent more time with people who used electronic cigarettes were more likely to try quitting smoking.
The study included more than 13 000 smokers in England. Of those, nearly 26% said they regularly spent time with e-cigarette users. Among that group, about 32% made an attempt to quit smoking in the past year, compared with just under 27% of those who did not regularly spend time with e-cigarette users, the findings showed.
That means that smokers who regularly spent time with e-cigarette users (vapers) were about 20% more likely to be highly motivated to quit and to have made a recent quit attempt, according to the University College London researchers.
The imitation game?
"It is becoming increasingly more commonplace for smokers to come into contact with vapers, and some concerns have been raised that this could 're-normalise' smoking in England and undermine smokers' motivation to quit," said lead study author Sarah Jackson. She is with the university's Institute of Epidemiology and Health Care.
"Our results found no evidence that spending time with vapers discourages smokers from quitting, which should help to alleviate concerns about the wider public health impact of e-cigarettes," Jackson added in a university news release.
A key factor in the findings "may be that smokers who are regularly exposed to e-cigarette use by others are more likely to use e-cigarettes themselves," Jackson said.
The study, funded by Cancer Research UK, was published November 13 in the journal BMC Medicine.
According to Kruti Shrotri, a tobacco control expert with Cancer Research UK, "So far, there hasn't been much evidence about whether e-cigarettes might make smoking tobacco seem normal again. So it's encouraging to see that mixing with people who vape is actually motivating smokers to quit."
And, Shrotri added, "As the number of people who use e-cigarettes to quit smoking rises, we hope that smokers who come into contact with them are spurred on to give up tobacco for good."