Varenicline, Nicotine-Containing E-Cigarettes Help in Quitting Smoking

Both methods effective at six months compared with placebo
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Medically Reviewed By:
Mark Arredondo, M.D.

WEDNESDAY, June 19, 2024 (HealthDay News) -- Varenicline and nicotine-containing electronic cigarettes (ECs) are both effective in helping individuals in quitting smoking conventional cigarettes, according to a study published online June 17 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Anna Tuisku, Ph.D., from Lapland Central Hospital in Finland, and colleagues randomly assigned 458 participants (aged 25 to 75) who smoked daily and had volunteered to quit smoking to either 18 mg/mL of nicotine-containing ECs together with placebo tablets, varenicline with standard dosing together with nicotine-free ECs, or placebo tablets together with nicotine-free ECs.

The researchers found that self-reported seven-day conventional cigarette smoking abstinence as confirmed by the exhaled carbon monoxide level on week 26 occurred in 40.4 percent in the EC group, 43.8 percent in the varenicline group, and 19.7 percent in the placebo group. There were significant differences between placebo and ECs (risk difference [RD], 20.7 percent) and varenicline (RD, 24.1 percent). The difference was not significant between ECs and varenicline (RD, 3.4 percent).

"When balancing the benefits of nicotine-containing ECs in smoking cessation with the known harms as well as the uncertainty surrounding their long-term harm consumption, it seems that they may have a role in reducing tobacco-related damage to health in adults who substantially depend on nicotine and have been smoking for many years and, despite several attempts, have been unable to quit smoking conventional cigarettes," the authors write.

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