USPSTF Questions Efficacy of E-Cigarette Use For Smoking Cessation

There is not sufficient evidence for experts to recommend for or against the use of electronic nicotine delivery systems for smoking cessation, according to recent updates to the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) guidelines.

“Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of disease, disability, and death in the United States. Cigarette smoking results in more than 480, 000 premature deaths each year and accounts for approximately 1 in every 5 deaths,” explained the guideline’s authors.

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In the updated guidelines, the USPSTF advises that there is not sufficient evidence supporting the recommendation of electronic nicotine delivery systems for smoking cessation. Instead, clinicians should recommend cessation interventions with proven efficacy, such as counseling and pharmacotherapy.

“Evidence is lacking and conflicting, and the balance of benefits and harms cannot be determined. Given the established safety and effectiveness of behavioral and pharmacotherapy interventions, the USPSTF recommends that primary care providers direct patients who smoke to these other interventions,” they concluded.

-Michelle Canales Butcher

Siu AL. Behavioral and pharmacotherapy interventions for tobacco smoking cessation in adults, including pregnant women: US Preventive Services task force recommendation statement.  Ann Intern Med. 2015 September [epub ahead of print] doi: 10.7326/M15-2023.