NBC- A major new study finds e-cigarettes work just as well as -- if not slightly better -- than the nicotine patch in helping people quit smoking.
The study of more than 600 smokers trying to quit looked at the effects of using the patch or e-cigarettes with nicotine.
7.3 percent of e-cigarette users were able to quit smoking for 6 months, compared with 5.8-percent of patch users.
E-cigarettes use water vapor rather than tobacco to deliver a hit of nicotine, and their long-term health effects are unknown.
Smoking cessation experts say the ultimate question will be whether the benefits of e-cigarette will outweigh those of conventional nicotine therapy, like gum or the patch.
Of the people who were unable to quit smoking, more than half of the e-cigarette users reduced the number of daily cigarettes smoked substantially.
(Copyright © 2013 NBC Universal, All Rights Reserved)