Health & Studies

Research Roundup

The UK E-Cigarette Research Forum provides another monthly roundup of the latest vape related research

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The UK E-Cigarette Research Forum (UKECRF) is an initiative developed by Cancer Research UK in partnership with Public Health England (PHE) and the UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies (UKCTAS). Among other things, it brings together genuine experts to look at research related to vaping. UKECRF has released its latest vape research briefing, thanks to funding by Cancer Research UK (CRUK).

The research briefing is part of a series of monthly updates aiming to provide an overview of new studies on electronic cigarettes. The briefings are intended for those involved in research or advocacy, and any others who may not have time to keep up to date with new findings and would like to access a summary.

Association of Socioeconomic Position With e-Cigarette Use Among Individuals Who Quit Smoking in England, 2014 to 2019” by Kock, Shahab, West, and Brown – [link]

The researchers from University College London and the SPECTRUM Research Consortium in Edinburgh looked at whether socioeconomic position was associated with vaping and how use might have changed over time. We covered this study recently [link].

UKECRF commented: “This study only reported current product use at single time points. Therefore, it cannot tell us about patterns of use in individuals over time or determine causality. The sample size of the sub-group of participants who quit smoking in the past year without using e-cigarettes is small meaning the statistical power to detect a relationship is limited.”

The Forum believes the use of the National Readership Survey social grade system is “outdated”, and the study relied too heavily on self-reported cross-sectional survey data.

Socioeconomic differences in motivation to stop using e-cigarettes and attempts to do so” by Jahnel, Ferguson, Partos, and Brose – [link]

The authors looked at how people quit the product they used to quit smoking. They found: “Higher socio-economic status may be associated with higher motivation to stop vaping but with lower likelihood of trying to do so.”

UKECRF said: “48% of participants were lost to follow up meaning the resulting sample was relatively small. This could have affected the accuracy of estimates. Respondents who were lost to follow up were more highly educated, had more income and were more likely to be employed which may have biased the results.”

It also questioned whether offering gift vouchers to take part in the survey could have led to selection bias and probably wasn’t reflective of the vaping population.

Associations of Flavored e-Cigarette Uptake With Subsequent Smoking Initiation and Cessation” by Friedman and Xu – [link]

Coverage of this paper on Planet of the Vapes [link] highlighted their finding that flavours work for adults looking to quit smoking, but the pair added: “This study’s findings are consistent with concerns about e-cigarettes’ influence on minors’ tobacco use.”

The UKECRF pulled no punches on the suggestion they had evidenced a teen gateway effect: “The definitions of e-cigarette and cigarette use in the two categories were inconsistent. Adult smoking is defined by current use and vaping by ever use. Youth use of both products is defined by use in the past 30 days, which fails to distinguish between experimentation and regular use.”

Due to inconsistency in product use definitions, participants who aged out of the youth category over the follow up period could not be included in the analysis. This limited the sample sizes of the youth and emerging adult groups, reducing statistical power.

“The study was unable to consider former smokers who may have already used e-cigarettes to successfully quit, or those who were already vaping at baseline. This may have impact estimates of cessation.

“Results were not adjusted for all confounders that might affect changes in patterns of e-cigarette and cigarette use, such as nicotine addiction, reasons for use, other risky behaviours and the external policy environment. Therefore, a causal relationship cannot be determined.

“Data were self-reported meaning they might be subject to bias.”

Other studies this month:

Patterns of use




Harms and harm reduction





Dave Cross avatar

Dave Cross

Journalist at POTV
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Dave is a freelance writer; with articles on music, motorbikes, football, pop-science, vaping and tobacco harm reduction in Sounds, Melody Maker, UBG, AWoL, Bike, When Saturday Comes, Vape News Magazine, and syndicated across the Johnston Press group. He was published in an anthology of “Greatest Football Writing”, but still believes this was a mistake. Dave contributes sketches to comedy shows and used to co-host a radio sketch show. He’s worked with numerous vape companies to develop content for their websites.

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