I will be blogging in detail on this later, but for now - the headline and some links to news reports.
Make no mistake. This is enormous news - E-cigarettes have been shown by the UK's most expert team in smoking cessation to be at least 60% better than over-the-counter NRT at helping smokers quit. Note - the authors have not yet examined (or at least published) on the type of e-cigarettes used. This is the population as a whole and, similarly to the US, cigalikes still dominate front-line distribution - it is tempting to conclude that segmenting by product type would reveal even more dramatic data.
Also, this quote is quite remarkable (from the Guardian article): "He [Professor Robert West] admitted, however, that it was a controversial area. He also acknowledged opponents' fears and suspicions about the commercial involvement of scientists. "I don't and will not take any money from any e-cigarette manufacturer," he said. His department does take money from pharmaceutical companies that make smoking cessation drugs, but they are rethinking that. "I need to be able to talk about e-cigarettes without even the conception of conflict of interest," he said.
E-cigarettes more effective than patches to help quit smoking, says study | Society | theguardian.com
E-cigarettes boost quitting success among smokers, study finds | Reuters
BBC News - E-cigarettes 'help smokers to quit'
Quitting Smoking Is More Likely With E-Cigarettes, UK Study Says - Businessweek
I have written elsewhere about the extreme importance of West's study (the smoking toolkit) being carried out in the United States. I think this underscores the necessity.