According to new research carried out by Dublin’s Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa), it has emerged that e-cigarettes are a ‘cost-effective’ way for smokers to quit.
While adding the caveat regarding the lack of research into the long-term effects of vaping, the report suggests that vaping is twice as effective at helping smokers quit cigarettes than with willpower alone. And when combined with Varenicline, patients were more than three and a half times more likely to avoid relapsing.
Lowering public spending
Irish health services currently spend €40 million a year on treatments and campaigns to reduce the number of people who smoke across the country. Moreover, the products that are used to help smokers quit account for a large proportion of that sum.
The primary benefit of e-cigarettes, according to experts, is the immediacy of access for those who are looking to kick the habit. The availability of an ‘opt-in’ treatment that is financed by the individual, not the state, helps to ease the burden on government spending, while providing a socially acceptable cessation method for those looking to quit.
While many argue that in the short-term, the costs associated with these new approaches to help people live a smoke-free life would increase for health services – up to €8 million a year – the money saved on future treatments for medical conditions as a result of traditional cigarettes would make the investment worthwhile.
“Hiqa’s analysis shows that increased uptake of e-cigarettes as an aid to quitting would increase the number of people who successfully quit compared with the existing situation in Ireland and would be cost-effective,” said Dr Mairin Ryan, Hiqa’s director of health technology assessment.
“Provided that the currently available evidence on their effectiveness is confirmed by further studies.”
An influential study
The study itself is also ground-breaking for being the first such report in the EU to include e-cigarettes in a state appraisal discussing how to help smokers give up. Perhaps unsurprising considering that almost a third of those who smoke in Ireland also use an e-cigarette to aid their lifestyle transition.
Within all EU member countries, there is pressure from Brussels to improve public health in an effort to decrease public spending over the coming years. While the UK and Ireland have embraced the benefits of vaping, there are hopes that this new report will act as a catalyst to increase awareness and promote usage in countries where the practice is still shunned.