The Wealthy Don’t Smoke Anymore, Ctd

Andrew Sullivan —  Jan 16 2015 @ 5:53pm

A reader calls the following quote from Keith Humphreys “excuse making for low-income smokers”:

“Although lower income people’s access to health care is being improved by the Affordable Care Act, they are still likely to lag middle class people in their access to effective smoking cessation treatments.” Access to “effective smoking cessation treatments”, like access to birth control, is ubiquitous – any drug store sells Nicorette and the patch over the counter.  A patch costs $5 a day.  A pack of cigarettes costs $7 and up, depending on where you live [upwards of $15 in New York].  The patch is very effective.  There may be structural issues specific to lower income people that make starting smoking easier and stopping more difficult, e.g. education, lower intelligence and lack of personal responsibility if one is willing to skip the PC BS, but “access” is leftish code for more unmet needs requiring government intervention.

As far as the reader’s “very effective” claim, the nicotine patch stops people from smoking only about 19% of the time, at least according to this study. What’s been found to be a more effective?

E-cigarettes are more effective than nicotine patches and gum in helping people to quit smoking, according to a study that challenges the negative views of some public health experts.

The issue of e-cigarettes has become a public health battleground, alarming those who think that their marketing and use in public places where smoking is banned risks re-normalising tobacco. Supporters say the vast majority of smokers are using e-cigarettes to kick their tobacco habit and that the health consequences of nicotine use without the tar from cigarettes appear, as yet, to be far less of a problem. The study, by a team from University College London, looked at attempts of nearly 6,000 people to stop smoking and found that, while engaging with the NHS smoking cessation services was the most effective way to quit, using e-cigarettes beat nicotine replacement therapy, as well as the efforts of people to stop with no help at all. … When the results were adjusted to account for the differences between the smokers in terms of background, age and other variables, those using e-cigarettes were around 60% more likely to quit than those using nicotine replacement therapy or just willpower.