BOSTON (CBS) — The first-ever clinical trial of electronic cigarettes has found they may be better than nicotine patches for those trying to kick the habit.

Michael Siegel of the Boston University School of Public Health says the findings give hope to those who have tried to quit smoking in the past but failed.

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Listen to WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Diane Stern extended interview with Siegel:

“It’s somewhat remarkable to find 13-percent of smokers who got higher dose nicotine cartridges were able to quit smoking after one year,” Siegel said.

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The study performed by Italian doctors, enrolled a group of smokers who had no intention of quitting.

The results of the study showed of those who quit smoking, 70-percent stopped using e-cigarettes as well.

“E-cigarettes are a bona fide method for quitting that is comparable to or better than nicotine replacement therapy,” Siegel said. “With nicotine replacement therapy, the long-term quitting rates are around 12-percent over a year but that’s with smokers that want to quit.”

Siegel says while critics of electronic cigarettes have said smokers are just trading one addiction for another, the study results tell a different story.

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“It’s a legitimate means of smoking cessation,” he said. “Those who have tried to quit or failed, this is a viable alternative that may give them hope where hope didn’t exist previously.”