Scientists have criticized a study suggesting that smokers using e-cigarettes have lower smoking-cessation rates than do smokers who don’t use e-cigarettes.
Co-authored by Stanton Glantz of the University of California, San Francisco’s (UCSF) Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education, and Sara Kalkhoran of Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, the disputed paper reviewed 38 studies assessing the association between e-cigarette use and cigarette cessation among adult smokers, along with 20 studies that had control groups of smokers not using e-cigarettes.
The authors concluded that the likelihood of smoking cessation was 28 percent lower in smokers who used e-cigarettes compared to those who did not, even after adjusting for differences in demographics, the level of the smokers’ nicotine dependence, and past cessation attempts.
Published in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine on Jan. 14, the UCSF study was immediately criticized as flawed by Peter Hajek of the Queen Mary University of London’s Tobacco Dependence Research Unit, who called it “grossly misleading” for looking only at current smokers who had at some point used an e-cig and excluding former smokers who may have used an e-cigarette to quit successfully.
Ann McNeill of King’s College London said the UCSF review was “not scientific,” as it included data from two studies she co-authored, but used that data in ways that she said was “either inaccurate or misleading.”
The Smoke-Free Alternatives Trade Association (SFATA), a group representing the vapor industry, expressed surprise about The Lancet’s decision to publish the study.
“It’s unfortunate that self-interested studies from Professor Glantz and other anti-vaping researchers are being published and not properly vetted, creating confusion and ultimately misleading the public about the efficacy of vapor products,” said SFATA president Cynthia Cabrera.