An American study has found that the secret to e-cigarettes working as an aid to give up or stop smoking is that they are less addictive than regular cigarettes for former smokers.

Carried out as a survey among over 3500 long term e-cigarette users who formerly smoked regular cigarettes, researchers at the Penn State College of Medicine, lead by Jonathon Foulds, professor of public health sciences and psychiatry at the institution, compared the level of users’ previous dependence on regular cigarettes with their current dependence on electronic cigarettes.

The results, published in the scientific journal Nicotine and Tobacco Research, confirmed that both first and second generation electronic cigarettes were less addictive, citing the often lower levels of nicotine as the main reason. The survey incorporated the Penn State Cigarette Dependence Index, which uses a more modern and accurate scale than the more widely-used Fagerstrom Test for Nicotine Dependence, which was devised 25 years, when smokers on average smoked many more cigarettes.

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