Despite the well-established risks of smoking, it continues to contribute to the death of more than 37,000 Canadians annually. Moreover, only 10 to 20 per cent of smokers will succeed in quitting using current cessation therapies, including nicotine patches, gum and counselling. The search for novel techniques prompted a new multi-centre clinical study of the effectiveness and safety of electronic cigarettes, which is being led by Dr. Mark Eisenberg at the Jewish General Hospital (JGH).
“The single most reversible cause of mortality in Canada is smoking,” emphasizes Dr. Eisenberg, a cardiologist and epidemiologist at the Lady Davis Institute at the JGH. “The goal of our study is to determine whether e-cigarettes can be used as a transitional tool from smoking conventional cigarettes to quitting completely.”
Participants over the age of 18 who have smoked at least ten cigarettes a day for more than a year and who are motivated to quit are being recruited. Investigators hope to involve 486 people. They will be randomized into one of three groups: nicotine e-cigarettes with individual counselling; non-nicotine e-cigarettes with individual counselling; or individual counselling alone. The treatment period will be twelve weeks, with follow-up for a year to evaluate whether the participants maintain abstinence, and their experience of withdrawal symptoms and side effects.
“Ultimately, multiple trials in multiple populations will be necessary to establish the efficacy of e-cigarettes,” said Dr. Eisenberg, “but ours is a significant first step.”
At the moment, neither Health Canada, nor the US Food and Drug Administration have guidelines concerning e-cigarettes. This trial will provide regulators, health care professionals, and smokers with important information about the efficacy and safety of e-cigarettes for smoking cessation.
For further information about the clinical trial, contact Shauna McGee, E3 Trial Coordinator, 514-340-8222, ext. 3240 or Shauna.McGee@ladydavis.ca