Efficacy in Austria

Posted 9th October 2020 by Dave Cross
Researchers at the Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, in the Centre for Public Health at the Medical University of Vienna, have added another strikingly positive study to the tobacco harm reduction canon. The academics published their paper in the Nicotine and Tobacco Research journal, and state that vaping is 1.69 times more likely to help smokers quit tobacco than those relying on traditional nicotine replacement/quit methods.

They note: “Out of over 5000 different chemical compounds found in tobacco smoke, 73 are known carcinogens either in laboratory animals or humans. As a risk factor, smoking has been associated with various types of cancers such as lung, kidney, larynx, bladder, oesophagus, pancreas and cervix but also with other diseases, including coronary disease, atherosclerosis, chronic obstructive lung disease, infection and infertility.”

With one billion smoker lives on the line, it is surprising that the above fact is often overlooked by those vociferously campaigning against vaping. Tobacco smoking is responsible for approximately 8 million deaths per year – something vaping could help to prevent, but many refuse to accept that it works as a smoking cessation tool.

The authors say, albeit hedging their bets, that “considering that e-cigarettes do not require combustion of tobacco, they may not carry the same risks of morbidity and mortality for their users compared to users of combustible cigarettes. The proponents of e-cigarette use argue that this makes them a viable harm reduction strategy with some evidence pointing to their effectiveness.”

Their systematic review and meta-analysis looked at the PsycInfo, PubMed and Embase databases from 01/01/2014 to 27/06/2020, looking for papers that:

  1. were a randomised controlled trial
  2. written in English
  3. constituted a study sample consisting of adults
  4. compared e-cigarette use to placebo or established smoking cessation therapy

They looked through 13950 publications to carry out their analysis, finding just 12 that were randomised controlled trials for vaping as a smoking cessation tool.


They said that vaping provides “not only replacement therapy in terms of nicotine but also provide a sensory-motor experience that may have an additional effect.”

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.”

In their first meta-analysis they noted that studies by Kalkhoran & Stanton Glantz and Glantz & David Bareham didn’t find that vaping worked – no surprise there when the results are being paid for. It’s disappointing they didn’t note any potential bias due to Glantz being involved in both.

In a second meta-analysis, “covering 3650 participants of five studies, we assessed whether nicotine e-cigarettes were more effective than nicotine replacement therapy and / or counselling in achieving abstinence. For both subgroups - subgroup 1 received NRT and counselling and subgroup 2 solely counselling – nicotine e- cigarettes were more effective in achieving smoking cessation.”

They conclude that their work: “showed evidence that nicotine e-cigarettes helped in smoking cessation.”

Vampire Vape


  • Effectiveness of Electronic Cigarettes in Smoking Cessation: a Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis” by Grabovac, Oberndorfer, Fischer, Wiesinger, Haider, and Dorner – [link]

Image by Jürgen Sieber from Pixabay

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