Sure, but that doesn't matter really. Hell, heroin treatment programs would probably be more effective if they could use heroin to step them down rather than methadone, they just can't since heroin is illegal.
The benefit to methadone is its long half life (~24 hours for methadone and on the order or minutes to ~1 hour for heroin). That's why methadone clinics can get away with handing out doses once per day. Theoretically, it should also lead to a smoother withdrawal... anecdotally, I've seen plenty of people who tell me that methadone withdrawal is quite uncomfortable. Many people on methadone tend to take it long term (maintenance programs)... suboxone (buprenorphine), a partial opiate receptor agonist, is another option, too... though, in theory, any opiate would work.
Of course, that only addresses the physiological basis of addiction... in my experience, there is always a large psychological component that needs to be treated as well...
With nicotine you don't need a substitute and can just gradually go down in the amount of nicotine consumed per day to minimize side effects and make it easier to quit.
Hell, it's even true with caffeine for people who consume a ton. Quitting cold turkey brings headaches, being lethargic all day etc. so it's easier to drop one cup of coffee etc. per day every week or two to ween yourself off of it.
In addition to the nicotine products (gum, patch, lozenges, inhalers), some people also benefit from zyban (buproprion) and chantix (varenicline). The latter of these is a partial nicotine agonist (activates the receptor, but not as strongly, while outcompeting nictonine and lessening its effect).
The E-cigs have not been FDA tested and are variable... in theory, they should work, but there is no evidence for that and the doses of nicotine in them are not regulated.
The story about the E-cig blowing up in someone's face reminds me of ppl I've seen in the burn unit who tried to mix using oxygen from their nasal cannula and smoking...