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‘Do not recommend e-cigarettes for smoking cessation’, study warns

E-cigarettes should not be recommended for smoking cessation purposes as they increase the risk of heart attack, a study has warned.

Daily e-cigarette users were almost twice as likely to have a heart attack compared with those who had never used e-cigarettes.

The findings come after the House of Commons science and technology committee released a report in August calling on Government to review regulatory policies that could be 'holding back' the introduction of e-cigarettes as a stop-smoking therapy.

The study was carried out by researchers at George Washington University in Washington and used data from just under 70,000 people interviewed in a US national health survey in 2014 and 2016.

They found that patients who said they used e-cigarettes everyday were 80% more likely to have a heart attack compared to those who never used them. The risk remained similar whether or not other variables such as frequency of normal cigarette use were factored in, suggesting an independent association between e-cigarette use and heart attack.

‘Former’ or ‘some days’ e-cigarette use was not significantly associated with increased heart attack risk but the researchers also noted that dual daily e-cigarette and cigarette use was associated with an almost five-fold increase in risk.

They said in the paper: ‘Daily e-cigarette use is associated with increased odds of [myocardial infarction] independent of and in addition to the risks associated with smoking and other risk factors.

‘Dual use of e-cigarettes and conventional cigarettes – the most common use pattern among e-cigarette users – is more dangerous than using either product alone. From these findings, recreational use of e-cigarettes or use of e-cigarettes for smoking cessation should not be recommended.’

In February, PHE released an evidence review in favour of e-cigarettes, concluding that e-cigarettes could be helping 20,000 a year to quit smoking.