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Press Release - Californian study into the use of electronic cigarettes for quitting is not very informative.

17, Apr, 2015

The latest ‘study’ from California, published last night, takes junk science to a whole new level. Only the abstract is available, so we are unable to see the full details of the methods used. However, it is immediately obvious – just from the abstract – that the conclusions are unsupportable. Worse still, they appear to bear little resemblance to the survey results, even if the method had been sufficiently robust – which it was not.

The authors of this study excluded every possible subject who would have resulted in a successful quit attempt; anyone who had used an e-cigarette and found it useful to quit smoking would have been excluded from even taking part in the study. Perhaps even worse, although the abstract mentions the specific number of subjects surveyed as 1,000 “California smokers”, they do not specify how many were lost to follow up. (According to Professor Michael Siegel, the “authors present results only for 368 participants. What happened to the other 632 smokers?” 1

This study contradicts the vast majority of other – more rigorous research – which clearly demonstrates that e-cigarettes can and do help many smokers quit smoking.2  Data from the UK shows a correlation between increase in the use of e-cigs and people successfully quitting smoking.3  The only evidence-base this ‘study’ supports is the significant – and growing – body of academic and scientific research which clearly demonstrates that ideology is driving certain areas of research, rather than robust, evidence-driven scientific endeavour.4 5 6 7 8          

As Professor Peter Hajek commented:

“The survey provides little useful information. Smokers who found e-cigarettes effective and stopped smoking were excluded and only smokers who did not find e-cigarettes helpful were followed-up. If this methodology and logic was used with e.g. headache sufferers who were not helped by painkillers, it would conclude that painkillers promote headaches.”9 



1  http://tobaccoanalysis.blogspot.co.uk/2015/04/new-study-which-purports-t...
2  http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD010216.pub2/abstract
3  http://www.smokinginengland.info/downloadfile/?type=latest-stats&src=11
4  http://www.biomedcentral.com/1741-7015/12/225
5  http://www.biomedcentral.com/1741-7015/12/226
6  http://www.bmj.com/content/349/bmj.g7015
7  http://bjgp.org/content/bjgp/64/626/442.full.pdf
8  http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/add.12550/full
9  http://www.sciencemediacentre.org/expert-reaction-to-survey-on-e-cigaret...