Researchers found that cancer patients who use e-cigarettes (in addition to traditional cigarettes) are more nicotine dependent and are equally or less likely to quit smoking traditional cigarettes than non-users.

To examine available clinical data about e-cigarette use and cessation among cancer patients, Jamie Ostroff, of the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, and her colleagues studied 1074 cancer patients who smoked and were enrolled between 2012 and 2013 in a tobacco treatment programme within a comprehensive cancer center.

The researchers observed a three-fold increase in e-cigarette use from 2012 to 2013 (10.6 percent versus 38.5 percent).

At enrollment, e-cigarette users were more nicotine dependent than non-users, had more prior quit attempts, and were more likely to be diagnosed with lung or head and neck cancers.

At follow-up, e-cigarette users were just as likely as non-users to be smoking. Seven day abstinence rates were 44.4 percent versus 43.1 percent for e-cigarette users and non-users, respectively.

"Consistent with recent observations of increased e-cigarette use in the general population, our findings illustrate that e-cigarette use among tobacco-dependent cancer patients has increased within the past two years," said Ostroff.

"Controlled research is needed to evaluate the potential harms and benefits of e-cigarettes as a potential cessation approach for cancer patients.

"In the meantime, oncologists should advise all smokers to quit smoking traditional combustible cigarettes, encourage use of FDA-approved cessation medications, refer patients for smoking cessation counselling, and provide education about the potential risks and lack of known benefits of long-term e-cigarette use," Ostroff said.

The findings were published in the journal Cancer.

Latest News from Lifestyle News Desk