Vaping is nearly twice as effective for getting smokers to quit than traditional methods, a new study has found.
A randomised clinical trial - involving almost 900 smokers in the UK - found that 18 per cent of e-cigarette users were smoke-free after a year.
That's compared to 9 per cent of people who were successful using nicotine-replacement products such as patches, gum, lozenges and sprays.
New Zealand experts say these findings are ground-breaking as they provide health professionals with "solid evidence" to encourage vaping as a suitable option for quitting.
"A lot of the people who are giving psychiatric services to help people quit are saying 'where's the evidence' and I think this study is going to be really important in terms of answering a lot of those questions," Action on Smoking and Health policy analyst Ben Youdan told the Herald.
The National Institute for Health Research study offered 886 adults to either nicotine-replacement products of their choice or an e-cigarette starter pack.
Treatment also included weekly behavioral support for at least four weeks.
Researchers concluded e-cigarettes were more effective for smoking cessation than nicotine-replacement therapy, when both products were accompanied by behavioural support.
Youdan said these findings weren't surprising at all as e-cigarettes were much more efficient at delivering nicotine to the brain and helping with the withdrawal symptoms for people trying to quit.
"Cigarettes are really addictive because of the nicotine but it's the smoke that kills."
Quitline spokesman Calvin Cochran said it was still early days for vaping in New Zealand but they were starting to see the benefits.
Last year, around 10 per cent of people enrolled in the Quitline service were using vaping as a tool to give up smoking, Cochran said.
This year, Cochran said he had seen a lot more interested and lots of people were coming to Quitline with questions around vaping.
"We discuss with people what works for them and we know vaping has helped some people, especially those who have tried traditional options and then gone on to give vaping a go."
However, traditional methods such as patches, gum and lozenges were still advised to smokers before vaping.
Through Quitline you get subsidised nicotine therapy such as the patches and lozenges but vaping was not subsidised, Cochran said.
He said it was likely a dedicated vaping programme would be launched by the Quitline later this year as well as a quit vaping programme.
"It's something we are looking into more and want to be able to provide people with as much information on as we can."
Jonathan Devery, director of a vaping company Alt New Zealand, said the findings were timely given the Government was set to amend the 1990 Smoke-free Environments Act, with an emphasis to support smokers to switch to significantly less harmful alternatives such as vaping.