Health & Studies

Cancer Risk Paper Retracted

A research paper claiming that vaping is linked with a series of cancers has been retracted due to a lack of evidence

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A team led by Anusha Chidharla at the Department of Internal Medicine, University of Illinois College of Medicine, claimed in a published paper that vaping is linked with a number of different cancers. The World Journal of Oncology has now retracted their paper due to concerns about how the investigation was conducted, how the data were analysed, and the lack of evidence to support their claims.

The team consisted of researchers from the United States, Nepal and India. They conducted a cross sectional study looking at data held in a database covering 154,856 individuals.

Bizarrely, they managed to discover that vaping poses more of a cancer risk than smoking – quite some effort given the accepted levels of reduced harm e-cigs offer.

They say they found, “that e-cigarette users have 2.2 times higher risk of having cancer compared to non-smokers. Similarly, traditional smokers have 1.96 higher odds of having cancer compared to nonsmokers.”

The authors of the study concluded: “Our study found e-cigarette users had an early age of cancer onset as well as higher odds of having cancer compared to non-smokers. Females had higher prevalence of e-cigarette use and cervical, thyroid and skin cancers were more prevalent amongst the e-cigarette users. More prospective studies should be planned to mitigate the risk. The long-term effect of e-cigarettes is not known yet, since they are relatively new compared to traditional cigarette smoking.

“Furthermore, due to higher prevalence of certain types of cancers in e-cigarette use and unknown consequences of e-cigarette use, more guidelines are needed regarding the use of e-cigarettes and their association with cancer.

“E-cigarette should not be considered as a safe alternative to dual or traditional smoking without stronger clinical evidence on its safety.”

Elmer Press, the company which published The World Journal of Oncology, issued a statement: “After publication of this article, concerns have been raised regarding the article’s methodology, source data processing including statistical analysis, and reliability of conclusions, the authors failed to provide justified explanations and evidence for the inquires, subsequently this article has been retracted at the request of Editor-in-Chief.”

This is the latest in a series of deeply flawed studies that have been allowed to avoid serious peer review and been published in journals – only to be retracted later when placed under scrutiny due to their ludicrous claims.

Once more, ever having vaped was conflated with being a regular vaper and, more importantly, no consideration was given to whether the cancer was caused by prior smoking or when the diagnosis was made and how that relates to the initiation of e-cig use.

Journals need to start holding themselves to higher standards and prevent junk science like this work from being published in the first place.


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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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