Interpreting the new study on vaping.
A new study published this week in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine found benefit using vaping to quit cigarettes. This much anticipated study revealed that people who used e-cigarettes were nearly twice as effective as those using nicotine replacement products (NRT) in the form of the patch, gum or lozenges. Sounds great, right?
First thing you might ask is “what were the quit rates?” The quit rates a year later were 18% vs. 9.9%. Every time someone quits smoking their health improves significantly, but those quit rates are still very low.
One important caveat was that each group received 4 counseling sessions, something all experts agree is vital to achieve long term success. In other words, they didn’t quit just from vaping or NRT alone. Quit rates for those trying NRT on their own are 3-5% six months later.
So should you go run out and start vaping to quit smoking? Hang on a second. Take a moment, and breathe.
First of all the study also revealed that a year later, a full 80% of individuals who quit cigarettes with vaping, were still vaping. Whereas only 9% of those who quit with NRT were still using nicotine. We still don’t know the full long term effects of vaping.
Second, there are more effective ways to quit smoking. Mindfulness Training for Smokers (MTS) has a significantly higher 6 month quit rate of 39-59%. That version of MTS is an intensive 7 week group course that trains individuals in using mindfulness skills to manage urges, craving and withdrawal. Medication is encouraged to help with physical cravings as it is in the study described above.
Some people can’t commit to a 7 week program which is why James Davis at Duke University, who started MTS, developed a 2 week course, Sit to Quit. This course consists of the same teaching methods (lifetime access to videos, workbook and meditations) plus 5 personal coaching calls or video chats to support each individual along the way to a healthier life.
I’ve added a few personal touches.
I offer Sit to Quit coaching sessions online as a group for 3 or more, and at a discounted price. The sessions are recorded for review or if a participant couldn’t make the live coaching session. This format is perfect for any business trying to save the $6000 annual cost of each smoker each year (according to a 2014 study by OSU).
In between coaching sessions I follow up with additional support from cheers to extra reading material and videos that support participants’ efforts.
A special bonus for businesses is a closed Facebook group that build a sense of community for those using to Sit to Quit.
The NEJM study is encouraging. But now you know even better news. For more information go to mindsatpeace.net