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Randomised controlled trial
Electronic cigarettes are at least as effective as nicotine patches for smoking cessation
  1. Lion Shahab1,
  2. Maciej Goniewicz2
  1. 1Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London, London, UK
  2. 2Department of Health Behavior, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Buffalo, New York, USA
  1. Correspondence to: Dr Lion Shahab, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London, 1-19 Torrington Place, London WC1E 6BT, UK; lion.shahab{at}

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Electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) contain refined nicotine dissolved in propylene glycol, glycerine or other humectants, which is vaporised with a battery-powered heating element, activated by suction or manually, and delivered into the airways.1 E-cigarettes have been shown to reduce craving and withdrawal symptoms in abstinent smokers and, as nicotine is delivered without tobacco combustion, are thought to be substantially safer than cigarettes.2 While e-cigarette use is rapidly increasing, relatively little is known about their efficacy for smoking cessation, particularly compared with established nicotine-containing pharmacological aids.3


A randomised controlled trial to assess the effectiveness of e-cigarettes was carried out in New Zealand. Adult participants were block-randomised (stratified by ethnicity, dependence and sex) to one of three …

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  • Competing interests LS has received honoraria for talk and travel expenses from manufacturers of medications for smoking cessation to attend meetings and workshops. MG received a research grant from Pfizer, manufacturer of smoking cessation medications. Neither author has links with the tobacco or e-cigarette industry.