A US study of smokers with cancer found those using e-cigarettes in addition to traditional cigarettes were more dependent on nicotine.
The researchers say the findings, published in the journal cancer, raise doubts about the potential benefits of e-cigarettes for helping cancer patients give up smoking.
Those using e-cigarettes, electronic devices delivering a nicotine-rich vapour, as well as traditional cigarettes were more nicotine dependent and equally or less likely to have quit smoking than non-users.
All cancer patients who smoke are advised to quit. Some do and some don’t.
But the rising use of e-cigarettes has raised many questions among patients and their health care providers including whether e-cigarette use helps or hinders quitting.
Dr Jamie Ostroff, of the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, and colleagues studied 1,074 cancer patients who smoked.
The researchers observed a three-fold increase in e-cigarette use from 2012 to 2013.
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.
“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 Dr Ostroff.
She says research is needed to evaluate the potential harms and benefits of e-cigarettes as a potential cessation approach for cancer patients.
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