The use of electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) by smokers is not associated with greater rates of quitting cigarettes or reduced cigarette consumption after one year and should not be promoted as a smoking cessation method, according to a study conducted by researchers from the University California, San Francisco (UCSF).

The study, which was published online by JAMA, noted that e-cigarettes are promoted as smoking cessation tools but research regarding their effectiveness as such has been unconvincing.

In the UCSF study, investigators analyzed self-reported data from 949 smokers to determine if e-cigarettes were associated with more successful quit rates or reduced cigarette consumption. Approximately 88 of the smokers used e-cigarettes at baseline.

Results of the UCSF study revealed that women, younger adults, and people with less education were more likely to use e-cigarettes.

Investigators also found that e-cigarette use at baseline was not associated with quitting one year later, or with a change in cigarette consumption. However, the authors acknowledge the low numbers of e-cigarette users in the study may have limited their ability to detect an association between e-cigarettes use and quit rates among smokers.

“Nonetheless, our data add to the current evidence that e-cigarettes may not increase rates of smoking cessation,” says study author, Rachel A. Grana, PhD, MPH. “Regulations should prohibit advertising claiming or suggesting that e-cigarettes are effective smoking cessation devices until claims are supported by scientific evidence.”