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New study confirms combining vaping with nicotine patch is more effective

Posted on September 10, 2019

New evidence from a large New Zealand study has found that combining  nicotine vaping with nicotine patches can help more smokers quit, and could help hundreds of thousands of Australian smokers to break the deadly habit compared to just using patches alone.

The large randomised controlled trial is the first to test the safety and effectiveness of combining both treatments compared to nicotine patches alone. The study was published today in the leading medical journal The Lancet today. The lead investigator is Professor Natalie Walker from the University of Auckland.

1,124 adult smokers were randomly allocated to three groups:

  • nicotine patches only
  • nicotine patches plus nicotine-free e-cigarettes, and
  • nicotine patches plus an e-cigarette with 18mg/ml of nicotine

Participants were advised to start using their study products two weeks before their quit date and continue for a further 12 weeks. They were also offered a low level of telephone support.

The study found that after 6 months, 7% of smokers who used vaping combined with nicotine patches had quit, compared to 2% of those using patches alone.

All self-reported quitting was verified by carbon monoxide breath tests.

The study also found that 4% of smokers who used nicotine-free vaporisers with patches also quit, showing that the use of nicotine-free vaping combined with patches can also improve results, compared to patches alone.

Although the quit rates were not high, the authors calculated that in Australia, if vaping with nicotine was legalised, the combined therapy could potentially lead to 130,000 to 260,000 more people becoming smoke-free than if only patches were used.

The study began in March 2016 and used a second generation tank-style device, the Kangertech EVOD model with 18mg/ml nicotine. This is an older style device and more effective vaping products are now available.

Side-effects of the combined treatment were uncommon and improved with time and no serious harmful effects were caused by the treatment itself.

The study adds to the growing body of evidence that vaping helps smokers quit. A large randomised trial earlier this year found that vaping almost doubled the quit rate of nicotine patches and gum. After 12 months, 18% of smokers allocated to vaping had quit compared to 9.9% of those using a nicotine patch. This latest study shows that adding a nicotine patch to a vaping device with nicotine increases quit rates even further.

The authors point out that e-cigarettes combined with patches do not work for everyone, but should be offered as one of the many smoking cessation aids available. According to investigator Professor Chris Bullen:

“People using e-cigarettes should be encouraged to fully switch away from tobacco to e-cigarettes, with the aim of eventually also stopping vaping (if possible), given the lack of any long-term safety data for these devices.”

The trial was funded by the Health Research Council of New Zealand.


Walker N et al. Nicotine patches used in combination with e-cigarettes (with and without nicotine) for smoking cessation: a pragmatic, randomised trial. Lancet Respir Med 2019

Posted by Colin Mendelsohn,

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9 Replies to “New study confirms combining vaping with nicotine patch is more effective”

lois a manogue

I didnt get a straight answer can you vape juice is 6mg nicotine and use a 21mg patch at the same time will i get nicotine poisoning? I am a heavy smoker and i wanna quit smoking but i feel the patch is not enough so can i use both so i dont get sick?


HI Lois, In this study, subjects used 18mg/ml nicotine liquid for vaping and a 21mg patch. Side effects were uncommon. The main side effect of too much nicotine is nausea. If you get that, you should reduce your nicotine intake.

Annette Bell

I have been using 18ml vape plus patches for the last month and haven't touched a cigarette. I only vape in the evenings. I don't even have the urge to smoke. My plan is to go to down to no nicotine in vape in the next month.I have smoked cigarettes for 35 years.

Brenda Lockard

I've been using both level 1 patches and 18mg/ml nicotine vaping device (novo2) so far it has been working for me. I've been smoking for 44yrs now. Very proud of myself. First time I've ever tried to quit. Long ways to go.


Awesome job


I have tried quitting smoking with vaping alone and like it much better than cigarettes, but the higher levels of nicotine make me cough heavily. I switched to lower levels and I can vape comfortably, but not quit getting urges to smoke cigarettes. I got the idea to try patches for the extra nicotine and I'm vaping a 3mg juice. I put my first patch on today. I'm curious if anyone tried it at this level nicotine. I'm a pack or more a day smoker.


Been smoking 27 yrs and just got out of a 2 week hospital stay for too much CO2 in my blood and been using the 21mg patch while admitted of course but obviously i had to quit smoking which I did but found myself searching for a cigarette every morning even though I was on the patch and so I had the same thought you do and went and bought a zero nic vape while using the 21mg step1 patch and have been satisfied since and that was from 3 days ago. 3% nic vape I'm sure would work even better I believe.


Hi I'm on day 2 of not smoking I've got a vape at the moment 10mg but I've been given 25mg step 1 of boots nicotine patches can I smoke my vape and use the nicotine patch. Thanks


Hi can i use elf bars while on the patch i surffer from asthma or isn't it a good idea

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