Lead study author Professor Shu-Hong Zhu said the research was based on the largest representative sample of e-cigarette users to date, and provided "a strong case" that e-cigarette use was associated with an increase in smoking cessation at the population level.
E-cigarette users were identified from the most recent survey, while smoking quit rates were obtained from those who had reported smoking cigarettes 12 months before the survey.
According to a new study out of UC San Diego, during 2015 the annual quit rate went up to about 6% from its long-time average of 4.5%.
"The rate at which people have made a quit attempt or successfully quit smoking has stagnated for many years", said Dr. Kurt Ribisl, a professor at the University of North Carolina and a member of the FDA's Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee.
To assess e-cigarette use and associated changes in population smoking cessation in the U.S., researchers analyzed data from U.S. Current Population Survey-Tobacco Use Supplement for 2001, 2003, 2006, 2010 and 2014. A significant 38.2% of current smokers and 49.3% of recent quitters had tried e-cigarettes, and 11.5% and 19.0% respectively, were current vapers.
The latest study that focused on e-cigarettes and vaping showed that those who used e-cigarettes were more likely to stop smoking altogether than those who didn't. In 2010 about 1.4% of smokers were users of e-cigarettes.
Mr Hajek said: 'It's absolutely clear that e-cigarettes help smokers replace cigarettes'.
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A link was found between the use of the electronic devices by those who have never tried smoking and their first experimentation with cigarettes in the following year. The survey details that around 8% of e-cig smokers managed to quit for at least three months compared to roughly 5% of regular smokers.
Smokers who use e-cigarettes are more likely to quit using conventional cigarettes.
Zhu added that a national tobacco control campaign that began airing in 2012 probably also helped boost quit rates. This supports the thesis that less strict control over e-cigarettes would be positive.
"This is the first statistically significant increase observed in population smoking cessation among United States adults in almost a quarter of a century". "But if those don't work - try an e-cigarette".
"If the 40 million smokers in the US switched to e-cigarettes, the nation would be a lot healthier for it", Schroeder said.
Today's study didn't address whether e-cigs are luring people who would otherwise be nonsmokers.
AACS CEO Jeff Rogut has argued that while the ban remains in place, e-cigarette users must source their nicotine online without quality assurance.
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