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Tuesday, May 5, 2015

U.S. Preventive Services Task Force

The use of e-cigarettes has become quite common among teenagers, young adults and older Americans. In a short period of time the trendy devices became a multi-billion dollar industry; thanks, in part, to minimal legislation. While there has been limited research conducted on the efficacy of e-cigarettes for smoking cessation, many people have reported dramatically cutting back on traditional cigarettes - with some managing to quit cigarettes completely.

A task force, comprised of a ‘government-convened’ group of experts, found that there is little evidence to support e-cigarettes as a viable smoking cessation method, Time reports. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force was developed to probe the various studies on smoking cessation products, they suggest that smokers attempting to quit should instead turn to smoking cessation drugs like varenicline, behavior modification programs or a combination of both.

The task force was unable to determine if e-cigarettes were an effective resource for quitting because the research available is limited, according to the article. However, the findings do not mean that the vapor devices may not work for some people. There is a plethora of evidence that supports the use of smoking cessation drugs and behavioral therapy, but everyone is different - what works for one person may not work for another.

“We have an embarrassment of riches in terms of a menu of things to offer patients who want to quit smoking,” says Dr. Francisco Garcia, director and chief medical officer of the Pima County Health Department in Arizona and member of the task force. “But every individual is different; some might respond better to behavioral therapy, some might respond better to varenicline, some might feel nicotine replacement is important to bridge them away from tobacco use.”

One population the task force looked at was expectant mothers, which experts will argue have an imperative need to quit. While drugs, such as varenicline, may be effective, there is little research on how smoking cessation drugs will affect the fetus, the article reports. The task force suggests that future mothers rely on behavioral strategies for quitting.

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