Research on the protection and efficacy of vaping has been hotly contested for over a decade. The two sides are neatly drawn. Pro-vapers routinely cite researchers who report that vaping is vastly safer than smoking and helps individuals stop. The anti-vapers cite analysis that disputes these outcomes.
So what’s happening and who is correct? An worldwide staff of researchers examined the 24 vaping research, printed in scientific journals, that have been “most read and most cited in other literature and policy discussions,” in accordance with the Google algorithm. The majority have been carried out within the US—with topics reminiscent of smoking initiation, respiratory points, and smoking discount and cessation amongst vapers. The massive majority had findings that appeared to weigh in opposition to the case for vaping as hurt discount.
The researchers—together with Dr. Cother Hajat of the United Arab Emirates University and Dr. Riccardo Polosa, founding father of the Center of Excellence for Acceleration of Harm Reduction (CoEHAR) on the University of Catania, Italy—simply printed their article, “Analysis of common methodological flaws in the highest cited e-cigarette epidemiology research.”
They have been shocked! Almost all the research have been methodologically flawed. They variously lacked a transparent speculation, used insufficient methodology, didn’t acquire knowledge related to the research goals, and/or didn’t right for apparent confounding elements.
“I’m astounded that such low-quality studies have made it through editorial review in prestigious scientific journals.”
The researchers have been too well mannered to say it, however what they discovered was irrefutable proof of junk science.
“I’m astounded that such low-quality studies have made it through editorial review in prestigious scientific journals,” Dr. Polosa said. “The credibility of tobacco control scientists and their research is on the line.”
Among others, the researchers debunked research that claimed to display the so-called “gateway effect,” which has been extensively used to scare the general public into believing that vaping nicotine results in flamable tobacco use. “The studies we analyzed lacked sound research methods, and as such, could not reliably establish causation or identify a gateway effect,” the authors wrote.
It’s not the primary time a supposed gateway impact has been deployed within the service of a drug panic. For virtually a century, researchers claimed that hashish was a gateway to “harder” medication. All alongside, it was a lie.
“In our paper we offer practical recommendations that can massively improve the quality and rigor in future research in the field of tobacco harm reduction,” defined Dr. Hajat.
They embody: Acknowledge the well being penalties of earlier smoking historical past (vital when the overwhelming majority of vapers are former people who smoke); element vaping (and smoking) habits and historical past by way of their period, quantity, and frequency; guarantee allocation and randomization of analysis contributors to keep away from choice bias; make sure that implications and conclusions don’t assume a causal relationship, until causality has been established; focus on biases, limitations and alternate explanations actually and transparently, and focus on how they impression findings.
The want for unbiased analysis is pressing.
That these fundamental suggestions even should be made speaks volumes in regards to the state of analysis into vaping and the way hell-bent some researchers are on distorting the proof.
Other scientists have rightly identified how e-cigarette analysis is massively flawed. In some of the egregious examples, the Journal of the American Heart Association in 2020 retracted the article, “Electronic Cigarette Use and Myocardial Infarction Among Adults in the US Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health.” Its authors, Drs. Dharma Bhatta and Stanton Glantz, had claimed that e-cigarette use was related to elevated threat of coronary heart assaults.
The want for unbiased analysis is pressing. Over a billion people who smoke, 8 million of whom die of smoking-related causes every year, deserve research that actually look at and clarify safer nicotine alternate options.
Photograph by Helen Redmond
Both CoEHAR and The Influence Foundation, which operates Filter, have obtained grants from the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World. Filter’s Editorial Independence Policy applies.