The Effectiveness of Vaping

Posted 23rd September 2020 by Dave Cross
The journal Nicotine and Tobacco Research is currently carrying a meta-analysis by researchers at the Medical University of Vienna. They found that vaping could offer a solution to tobacco-related harm due to how it delivers nicotine and how vapers use their devices, and that the papers they looked out suggest it is better than placebos, traditional NRT, or counselling alone.

Grabovac, Oberndorfer, Fischer, Wiesinger, Haider, and Dorner looked at 13950 publications before identifying 12 studies as eligible for systematic review and 9 for random-effects meta-analyses.

They say: “Electronic-cigarettes have emerged as a potential and novel aid in smoking cessation interventions providing an experience similar to combustible cigarettes.”

The team notes: “A systematic review and meta-analysis published by Cochrane, found that e-cigarettes may have a positive effect in smoking cessation in comparison to placebo e-cigarettes and nicotine replacement therapy.”

The researchers looked at study duration, type of outcome measurement, population information, comparison groups, exposure assessment, sample size, number of cases and controls and definition of the outcomes.

They stated that if a paper didn’t have any data present, they would contact the authors. If that failed, then the studies were excluded from further quantitative analysis


The volume and number of subjects included in the studies that led the team to state they had confidence in their research findings, “however, as we focused on RCTs of e-cigarette use for smoking cessation we only found 12 studies and given the high degree of variability in treatments among the studies.”

They concluded: “Despite this, data on the use of e-cigarettes as a smoking cessation tool do correspond to results of trials of other nicotine-replacement therapy with placebo controls. Although placebo controlled randomised trials do present a gold standard in examining the efficacy of new therapeutic modalities, it is important to note that e-cigarettes provide not only replacement therapy in terms of nicotine but also provide a sensory-motor experience that may have an additional effect.”

They noted: “In contrast to other types of NRTs (i.e. nicotine patches, lozenges, sprays etc.) e-cigarettes also help maintaining routinized behaviour such as smoking breaks and other social aspects of smoking that are associated with tobacco smoking.”

They may enable the e-cigarettes users to pursue the smoking-related habits but with reduced harm. By taken this into account we may hypothesise that e-cigarettes could provide an additional advantage as a smoking cessation tool compared to other nicotine replacement therapies.”

The meta-analysis demonstrated “participants using e-cigarettes with nicotine were more likely to stop smoking when compared to users of placebo e-cigarettes”, but the findings were corrupted as they also considered a paper by the fraudulent Stanton Glantz and his willing puppet David Bareham.

The paper goes on to state, “none of the studies reported serious adverse effects that were related to the e-cigarettes,” but then lists some unsubstantiated fears. Unfortunately, as the reference to Glantz demonstrates, the paper is flawed through the inclusion of corrupt material and demonstrates the need for more quality randomised control trials.


  • Effectiveness of Electronic Cigarettes in Smoking Cessation: a Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis” by Grabovac et al. – [link]

 Dave Cross
Article by Dave Cross
Freelance writer, physicist, karateka, dog walker