It seems like every day when I’m browsing the news for e cigarettes I come across another story about how e cigs don’t help smokers quit, according to recent studies. I never seem to put my finger on it, but something always just seems a little off about these studies. Maybe it was a small sample size, maybe the type of respondents selected skewed the results, I don’t know. But knowing how they personally helped me, and many others I know, quit smoking cigarettes, I found it hard to believe that data would show the opposite.
I came across this article on the dailycaller.com today that seems to back up my suspicions, blasting a recent study as an “unscientific hatchet job”. The study it was critiquing said that ecigarette users are less likely to quit smoking than those who don’t. According to the study, e cig users are 28 percent less likely to quit than those who don’t vape at all.
There were a few major issues pointed out in this study. The first is that they only recruited individuals who were currently smoking and then asked them if they had used e-cigs in the past. You would think that it would be a good idea to survey people who are former smokers, but they were excluded from the study. So if you used e cigs to successfully quit smoking, like the ones I talk about here, and were no longer smoking cigarettes at all, you weren’t part of the study. That’s a big oversight and bias in the study. This same methodology also excluded former smokers who used means — medication, patches, gum, etc. — from the study.
There were other flaws and I’ll let you check out the article for the full write-up, but it’s summed up when the article states:
While its breath is to be commended, its conclusions (that e-cigarettes don’t work for smoking cessation) are at best tentative and at worst incorrect. The main reason for this is that attempting to directly compare the results of a body of literature that uses such a wide range of study designs and includes such variable (and often poorly defined) populations and outcomes are difficult, if not impossible. Some of the observational studies included in the review, in particular, suffer from a range of limitations that don’t allow us to reliably assess whether e-cigarettes help smokers quit.
I couldn’t have said it better myself, so I figured I’d just quote them directly there. I agree completely. What are your thoughts?