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1.  Success rates with nicotine personal vaporizers: a prospective 6-month pilot study of smokers not intending to quit 
BMC Public Health  2014;14(1):1159.
Background
Electronic cigarettes (e-Cigs) are an attractive long-term alternative nicotine source to conventional cigarettes. Although they may assist smokers to remain abstinent during their quit attempt, studies using first generation e-Cigs report low success rates. Second generation devices (personal vaporisers - PVs) may result in much higher quit rates, but their efficacy and safety in smoking cessation and/or reduction in clinical trials is unreported.
Method
We conducted a prospective proof-of-concept study monitoring modifications in smoking behaviour of 50 smokers (unwilling to quit) switched onto PVs. Participants attended five study visits: baseline, week-4, week-8, week-12 and week-24. Number of cigarettes/day (cigs/day) and exhaled carbon monoxide (eCO) levels were noted at each visit. Smoking reduction/abstinence rates, product usage, adverse events and subjective opinions of these products were also reviewed.
Results
Sustained 50% and 80% reduction in cigs/day at week-24 was reported in 15/50 (30%) and 7/50 (14%) participants with a reduction from 25cigs/day to 6cigs/day (p < 0.001) and 3cigs/day (p < 0.001), respectively. Smoking abstinence (self-reported abstinence from cigarette smoking verified by an eCO ≤10 ppm) at week-24 was observed in 18/50 (36%) participants, with 15/18 (83.3%) still using their PVs at the end of the study. Combined 50% reduction and smoking abstinence was shown in 33/50 (66%) participants. Throat/mouth irritation (35.6%), dry throat/mouth (28.9%), headache (26.7%) and dry cough (22.2%) were frequently reported early in the study, but waned substantially by week-24. Participants’ perception and acceptance of the products was very good.
Conclusion
The use of second generation PVs substantially decreased cigarette consumption without causing significant adverse effects in smokers not intending to quit.
Trial registration
(ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT02124200)
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-14-1159
PMCID: PMC4247211  PMID: 25380748
Smoking cessation; Smoking reduction; Electronic cigarette; Personal vaporizers; Efficacy; Safety; Tobacco harm reduction
2.  Effect of Smoking Abstinence and Reduction in Asthmatic Smokers Switching to Electronic Cigarettes: Evidence for Harm Reversal 
Electronic cigarettes (e-cigs) are marketed as safer alternatives to tobacco cigarettes and have shown to reduce their consumption. Here we report for the first time the effects of e-cigs on subjective and objective asthma parameters as well as tolerability in asthmatic smokers who quit or reduced their tobacco consumption by switching to these products. We retrospectively reviewed changes in spirometry data, airway hyper-responsiveness (AHR), asthma exacerbations and subjective asthma control in smoking asthmatics who switched to regular e-cig use. Measurements were taken prior to switching (baseline) and at two consecutive visits (Follow-up/1 at 6 (±1) and Follow-up/2 at 12 (±2) months). Eighteen smoking asthmatics (10 single users, eight dual users) were identified. Overall there were significant improvements in spirometry data, asthma control and AHR. These positive outcomes were noted in single and dual users. Reduction in exacerbation rates was reported, but was not significant. No severe adverse events were noted. This small retrospective study indicates that regular use of e-cigs to substitute smoking is associated with objective and subjective improvements in asthma outcomes. Considering that e-cig use is reportedly less harmful than conventional smoking and can lead to reduced cigarette consumption with subsequent improvements in asthma outcomes, this study shows that e-cigs can be a valid option for asthmatic patients who cannot quit smoking by other methods.
doi:10.3390/ijerph110504965
PMCID: PMC4053879  PMID: 24814944
smoking cessation; electronic cigarette; asthma; lung function; methacholine challenge; harm reduction
3.  Smoking Cessation and Reduction in Schizophrenia (SCARIS) with e-cigarette: study protocol for a randomized control trial 
Trials  2014;15:88.
Background
It is well established in studies across several countries that tobacco smoking is more prevalent among schizophrenic patients than the general population. Electronic cigarettes are becoming increasingly popular with smokers worldwide. To date there are no large randomized trials of electronic cigarettes in schizophrenic smokers. A well-designed trial is needed to compare efficacy and safety of these products in this special population.
Methods/Design
Intervention: We have designed a randomized controlled trial investigating the efficacy and safety of electronic cigarette. The trial will take the form of a prospective 12-month randomized clinical study to evaluate smoking reduction, smoking abstinence and adverse events in schizophrenic smokers not intending to quit. We will also monitor quality of life, neurocognitive functioning and measure participants’ perception and satisfaction of the product.
Outcome measures: A ≥50% reduction in the number of cigarettes/day from baseline, will be calculated at each study visit (“reducers”). Abstinence from smoking will be calculated at each study visit (“quitters”). Smokers who leave the study protocol before its completion and will carry out the Early Termination Visit or who will not satisfy the criteria of “reducers” and “quitters” will be defined “non responders”.
Statistical analysis: The differences of continuous variables between the three groups will be evaluated with the Kruskal-Wallis Test, followed by the Dunn multiple comparison test. The differences between the three groups for normally distributed data will be evaluated with ANOVA test one way, followed by the Newman-Keuls multiple comparison test. The normality of the distribution will be evaluated with the Kolmogorov-Smirnov test. Any correlations between the variables under evaluation will be assessed by Spearman r correlation. To compare qualitative data will be used the Chi-square test.
Discussion
The main strengths of the SCARIS study are the following: it’s the first large RCT on schizophrenic patient, involving in and outpatient, evaluating the effect of a three-arm study design, and a long term of follow-up (52-weeks).
The goal is to propose an effective intervention to reduce the risk of tobacco smoking, as a complementary tool to treat tobacco addiction in schizophrenia.
Trial registration
ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT01979796.
doi:10.1186/1745-6215-15-88
PMCID: PMC3994421  PMID: 24655473
Smoking cessation; Smoking reduction; Electronic cigarette; Schizophrenia clinical trial; Cognitive; Addiction; Quality of life
5.  A fresh look at tobacco harm reduction: the case for the electronic cigarette 
Smokers of any age can reap substantial health benefits by quitting. In fact, no other single public health effort is likely to achieve a benefit comparable to large-scale smoking cessation. Surveys document that most smokers would like to quit, and many have made repeated efforts to do so. However, conventional smoking cessation approaches require nicotine addicted smokers to abstain from tobacco and nicotine entirely. Many smokers are unable – or at least unwilling – to achieve this goal, and so they continue smoking in the face of impending adverse health consequences. In effect, the status quo in smoking cessation presents smokers with just two unpleasant alternatives: quit or suffer the harmful effects of continuing smoking. But, there is a third choice for smokers: tobacco harm reduction. It involves the use of alternative sources of nicotine, including modern smokeless tobacco products like snus and the electronic cigarette (E-cig), or even pharmaceutical nicotine products, as a replacement for smoking. E-cigs might be the most promising product for tobacco harm reduction to date, because, besides delivering nicotine vapour without the combustion products that are responsible for nearly all of smoking’s damaging effect, they also replace some of the rituals associated with smoking behaviour. Thus it is likely that smokers who switch to E-cigs will achieve large health gains. The focus of this article is on the health effects of using an E-cig, with consideration given to the acceptability, safety and effectiveness of this product as a long-term substitute for smoking.
doi:10.1186/1477-7517-10-19
PMCID: PMC3850892  PMID: 24090432
Tobacco; Harm reduction; Snus; Electronic cigarettes
6.  EffiCiency and Safety of an eLectronic cigAreTte (ECLAT) as Tobacco Cigarettes Substitute: A Prospective 12-Month Randomized Control Design Study 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(6):e66317.
Background
Electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) are becoming increasingly popular with smokers worldwide. Users report buying them to help quit smoking, to reduce cigarette consumption, to relieve tobacco withdrawal symptoms, and to continue having a ‘smoking’ experience, but with reduced health risks. Research on e-cigarettes is urgently needed in order to ensure that the decisions of regulators, healthcare providers and consumers are based on science.
Methods ECLAT is a prospective 12-month randomized, controlled trial that evaluates smoking reduction/abstinence in 300 smokers not intending to quit experimenting two different nicotine strengths of a popular e-cigarette model (‘Categoria’; Arbi Group Srl, Italy) compared to its non-nicotine choice. GroupA (n = 100) received 7.2 mg nicotine cartridges for 12 weeks; GroupB (n = 100), a 6-week 7.2 mg nicotine cartridges followed by a further 6-week 5.4 mg nicotine cartridges; GroupC (n = 100) received no-nicotine cartridges for 12 weeks. The study consisted of nine visits during which cig/day use and exhaled carbon monoxide (eCO) levels were measured. Smoking reduction and abstinence rates were calculated. Adverse events and product preferences were also reviewed.
Results
Declines in cig/day use and eCO levels were observed at each study visits in all three study groups (p<0.001 vs baseline), with no consistent differences among study groups. Smoking reduction was documented in 22.3% and 10.3% at week-12 and week-52 respectively. Complete abstinence from tobacco smoking was documented in 10.7% and 8.7% at week-12 and week-52 respectively. A substantial decrease in adverse events from baseline was observed and withdrawal symptoms were infrequently reported during the study. Participants’ perception and acceptance of the product under investigation was satisfactory.
Conclusion
In smokers not intending to quit, the use of e-cigarettes, with or without nicotine, decreased cigarette consumption and elicited enduring tobacco abstinence without causing significant side effects.
Trial Registration
ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01164072 NCT01164072
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0066317
PMCID: PMC3691171  PMID: 23826093
7.  Impact of an Electronic Cigarette on Smoking Reduction and Cessation in Schizophrenic Smokers: A Prospective 12-Month Pilot Study 
Background: Cigarette smoking is a tough addiction to break. This dependence is the most common dual diagnosis for individuals with schizophrenia. Currently three effective drugs are approved for smoking cessation: nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), varenicline and bupropion. However, some serious side effects of varenicline have been reported, including depression, suicidal thoughts, and suicide. The use of bupropion also has side effects. It should not be used by people who have epilepsy or any condition that lowers the seizure threshold, nor by people who take a specific class of drugs called monoamine oxidase inhibitors. Hence, there are pharmacodynamic reason to believe they could precipitate or exacerbate psychosis. For its capacity to deliver nicotine and provide a coping mechanism for conditioned smoking cues by replacing some of the rituals associated with smoking gestures, electronic-cigarettes may reduce nicotine withdrawal symptoms without serious side effects. Our recent work with ECs in healthy smokers not intending to quit consistently show surprisingly high success rates. We hypothesised that these positive findings could be replicated in difficult patients with schizophrenia This tool may help smokers with schizophrenia remain abstinent during their quitting attempts or to reduce cigarette consumption. Efficacy and safety of these devices in long-term smoking cessation and/or smoking reduction studies have never been investigated for this special population. Methods: In this study we monitored possible modifications in smoking habits of 14 smokers (not intending to quit) with schizophrenia experimenting with the “Categoria” e-Cigarette with a focus on smoking reduction and smoking abstinence. Study participants were invited to attend six study visits: at baseline, week-4, week-8, week-12 week-24 and week 52. Product use, number of cigarettes smoked, carbon monoxide in exhaled breath (eCO) and positive and negative symptoms of schizophrenia levels were measured at each visit. Smoking reduction and abstinence rates were calculated. Adverse events were also reviewed. Results: Sustained 50% reduction in the number of cig/day at week-52 was shown in 7/14 (50%) participants; their median of 30 cig/day decreasing significantly to 15 cig/day (p = 0.018). Sustained smoking abstinence at week-52 was observed in 2/14 (14.3%) participants. Combined sustained 50% reduction and smoking abstinence was shown in 9/14 (64.3%) participants. Nausea was observed in 2/14 (14.4%) of participants, throat irritation in 2/14 (14.4%) of participants, headache in 2/14 (14.4%) of participants , and dry cough in 4/14 (28.6%) of participants. However, these adverse events diminished substantially by week-24. Overall, one to two cartridges/day were used throughout the study. Positive and negative symptoms of schizophrenia are not increased after smoking reduction/cessation in patients using e-cigarettes. Conclusions: We have shown for the first time that the use of e-cigarette substantially decreased cigarette consumption without causing significant side effects in chronic schizophrenic patients who smoke not intending to quit. This was achieved without negative impacts on the symptoms of schizophrenia as assessed by SAPS and SANS symptoms scales.
doi:10.3390/ijerph10020446
PMCID: PMC3635154  PMID: 23358230
smoking cessation; smoking reduction; electronic cigarette; electronic nicotine delivery device; schizophrenia
8.  Successful smoking cessation with electronic cigarettes in smokers with a documented history of recurring relapses: a case series 
Introduction
Smoking cessation programs are useful in helping smokers to quit, but smoking is a very difficult addiction to break and the need for novel and effective approaches to smoking cessation interventions is unquestionable. The E-cigarette is a battery-powered electronic nicotine delivery device that may help smokers to remain abstinent during their quit attempt. We report for the first time objective measures of smoking cessation in smokers who experimented with the E-cigarette.
Case presentation
Three Caucasian smokers (two men aged 47 and 65 years and one woman aged 38 years) with a documented history of recurring relapses were able to quit and to remain abstinent for at least six months after taking up an E-cigarette.
Conclusions
This is the first time that objective measures of smoking cessation are reported for smokers who quit successfully after using an E-cigarette. This was accomplished in smokers who repeatedly failed in previous attempts with professional smoking cessation assistance using the usual nicotine dependence treatments and smoking cessation counselling.
doi:10.1186/1752-1947-5-585
PMCID: PMC3276453  PMID: 22185668
9.  Effect of an electronic nicotine delivery device (e-Cigarette) on smoking reduction and cessation: a prospective 6-month pilot study 
BMC Public Health  2011;11:786.
Background
Cigarette smoking is a tough addiction to break. Therefore, improved approaches to smoking cessation are necessary. The electronic-cigarette (e-Cigarette), a battery-powered electronic nicotine delivery device (ENDD) resembling a cigarette, may help smokers to remain abstinent during their quit attempt or to reduce cigarette consumption. Efficacy and safety of these devices in long-term smoking cessation and/or smoking reduction studies have never been investigated.
Methods
In this prospective proof-of-concept study we monitored possible modifications in smoking habits of 40 regular smokers (unwilling to quit) experimenting the 'Categoria' e-Cigarette with a focus on smoking reduction and smoking abstinence. Study participants were invited to attend a total of five study visits: at baseline, week-4, week-8, week-12 and week-24. Product use, number of cigarettes smoked, and exhaled carbon monoxide (eCO) levels were measured at each visit. Smoking reduction and abstinence rates were calculated. Adverse events and product preferences were also reviewed.
Results
Sustained 50% reduction in the number of cig/day at week-24 was shown in 13/40(32.5%) participants; their median of 25 cigs/day decreasing to 6 cigs/day (p < 0.001). Sustained 80% reduction was shown in 5/40(12.5%) participants; their median of 30 cigs/day decreasing to 3 cigs/day (p = 0.043). Sustained smoking abstinence at week-24 was observed in 9/40(22.5%) participants, with 6/9 still using the e-Cigarette by the end of the study. Combined sustained 50% reduction and smoking abstinence was shown in 22/40 (55%) participants, with an overall 88% fall in cigs/day. Mouth (20.6%) and throat (32.4%) irritation, and dry cough (32.4%) were common, but diminished substantially by week-24. Overall, 2 to 3 cartridges/day were used throughout the study. Participants' perception and acceptance of the product was good.
Conclusion
The use of e-Cigarette substantially decreased cigarette consumption without causing significant side effects in smokers not intending to quit (http://ClinicalTrials.gov number NCT01195597).
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-11-786
PMCID: PMC3203079  PMID: 21989407
10.  Greater severity of new onset asthma in allergic subjects who smoke: a 10-year longitudinal study 
Respiratory Research  2011;12(1):16.
Background
Little is known about the association between cigarette smoking and asthma severity. We assessed smoking as a determinant of disease severity and control in a cohort of clinic-referred allergic subjects who developed new onset asthma.
Methods
Allergic rhinitis subjects with no asthma (n = 371) were followed-up for 10 years and routinely examined for asthma diagnosis. In those who developed asthma (n = 152), clinical severity and levels of asthma control were determined. Among these subjects, 74 (48.7%) were current smokers, 17 (11.2%) former smokers, and 61 (40.1%) never smokers.
Results
When comparing current or past smokers to never smokers they had a higher risk of severe asthma in the univariate analysis, which became non-significant in the multivariate analysis. On the other hand, the categories of pack-years were significantly related to severe asthma in a dose response relationship in both the univariate and multivariate analysis: compared to 0 pack years, those who smoked 1-10 pack-years had an OR(95% CI) of 1.47(0.46-4.68), those who smoked 11-20 pack-years had an OR of 2.85(1.09-7.46) and those who smoked more than 20 pack-years had an OR of 5.59(1.44-21.67) to develop more severe asthma. Smokers with asthma were also more likely to have uncontrolled disease. A significant dose-response relationship was observed for pack-years and uncontrolled asthma. Compared to 0 pack years, those who smoked 1-10 pack-years had an OR of 5.51(1.73-17.54) and those who smoked more than 10 pack-years had an OR of 13.38(4.57-39.19) to have uncontrolled asthma.
Conclusions
The current findings support the hypothesis that cigarette smoking is an important predictor of asthma severity and poor asthma control.
doi:10.1186/1465-9921-12-16
PMCID: PMC3037316  PMID: 21261960
11.  Therapeutic advances in the treatment of nicotine addiction: present and future 
While the proportion of the adult population that smokes has declined steadily in several westernized societies, the rate of successful quit attempts is still low. This is because smokers develop nicotine dependence, a powerful addiction that may require multiple attempts and long-term treatment to achieve enduring abstinence. Currently available first-line agents for smoking cessation therapy include nicotine replacement therapy (available in several formulations, including transdermal patch, gum, nasal spray, inhaler, and lozenge), bupropion (an atypical antidepressant), and varenicline (a partial agonist of the α4β2 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor that was recently developed and approved specifically for smoking cessation therapy). Second-line agents are nortriptyline (a tricyclic antidepressant agent) and the antihypertensive agent clonidine. With the exception of varenicline, which has been shown to offer significant improvement in abstinence rates over bupropion, all of the available treatments appear similarly effective. The adverse event profiles of nortriptyline and clonidine make them more appropriate for second-line therapy, when first-line treatments have failed or are not tolerated. However, the currently marketed smoking cessation drugs reportedly lack high levels of efficacy, particularly in real-life settings. New medications and vaccines with significant clinical advantage are now in the advanced stage of development and offer promise. These include nicotine vaccines and monoamine type B inhibitors. In this review article we discuss current and emerging pharmacotherapies for tobacco dependence focusing on their mechanisms of action, efficacy and adverse event profiles.
doi:10.1177/2040622310374896
PMCID: PMC3513862  PMID: 23251732
bupropion; clonidine; monoamine oxidase inhibitors; nicotine replacement therapy; nicotine vaccines; nortriptyline; smoking cessation; varenicline

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