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Negative Vaping Claim Debunked

A new paper from University of California San Diego claims that vaping doesn’t work for smokers looking to quit – Professor John Britton called it “fundamentally flawed”

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A new paper from University of California San Diego claims that vaping doesn’t work for smokers looking to quit. The researchers looked at PATH Cohort Study data from 3578 smokers. Professor John Britton described their work as “fundamentally flawed” and pointed out their data exercise differed from gold standard independent work in the United Kingdom.

The authors say respondents were asked what they had used to try and stub out their habit: e-cigarettes; NRT—nicotine patch, gum, inhaler, nasal spray, lozenge or tablet; other tobacco products; or the pharmaceuticals Chantix, varenicline, Wellbutrin, Zyban or bupropion. E-cigarette users were asked what nicotine strength product (0-4%+) they used.

Abstinence from e-cigarettes or other tobacco products (cigarette abstinence), and all tobacco products and e-cigarettes (tobacco abstinence) was deemed to be a period of 12 or more months in a row.

Information was collected on potentially influential factors, such as ethnicity, household income, level of tobacco dependency, time since last quit attempt, and age when they started smoking.

Professor John Pierce crowed: "This is the first time we found e-cigarettes to be less popular than FDA-approved pharmaceutical aids, such as medications or the use of patches, gum, or lozenges. E-cigarettes were also associated with less successful quitting during that time frame. There's no evidence that the use of e-cigarettes is an effective cessation aid."

Less popular? Less successful? No evidence? Professor Pierce appears to be engaging in denialism to an absurd level. His ongoing comments referred to e-cigarettes as cigarettes and repeated that there has never been any evidence that vaping works as a quit tool.

Vaping is currently the number one choice for smokers in the United Kingdom.

Worryingly, the press officer said the FDA is now seriously reviewing the findings.

Professor John Britton, Emeritus Professor of Epidemiology, University of Nottingham, said: “The findings of this observational study of quitting and e-cigarette use in the USA are fundamentally flawed by confounding by severity, whereby the heaviest (most addicted) smokers, having tried and failed to quit using NRT or other treatments in the past, or who have declined to try to quit in the past, then try e-cigarettes.

“This is probably why they conflict with the findings of meta-analyses of the multiple, well-designed clinical trials that have demonstrated that e-cigarettes are effective quitting aids, and which led to the UK National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommending e-cigarettes to help smokers to quit in guidance published at the end of 2021.”


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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