Debunked: Ecigs Lead to Further Nicotine Dependence for Cancer Patients
Last week a new study surfaced that criticized ecigs for causing cancer patients to become more dependent on nicotine when used for smoking cessation. The original findings were published in American Cancer Society’s Cancer Journal, but it only took a few days for the study to be completely debunked.
The scientists that conducted the study claimed that participants had a three-fold increase in ecig use within one year. Further, they claimed that the ecig users were more dependent on nicotine than non-users and had more previous quit attempts. They were also more likely to have cancers in the lungs, head, or neck.
However, researchers around the world have spoken out about the new study, calling the results completely unjustified. At the University College of London, the director of tobacco research was outraged at the published report and how misleading the conclusions were. Robert West said the original purpose of the study was never to analyze whether ecigs were beneficial or effective for smoking cessation among cancer patients. So the participants did not give a fair sample group to ever draw such damning conclusions about vaping. “The sample could consist of e-cigarette users who had already failed in a quit attempt, so all those who would have succeeded already would be ruled out,” he explained.
At Queen Mary University in London, Peter Hajek, the director of the Tobacco Dependence Research Unit, also agreed that the study’s conclusion was misleading and unfounded. “The authors followed up smokers who tried e-cigarettes but did not stop smoking, and excluded smokers who tried e-cigarettes and stopped smoking,” he said.
Of course you will get a negative result if you don’t include any individuals that had success in your sample group! Basic scientific methodology teaches that the foundation of any good research is having a fair and balanced sample group before you begin collecting data.
“Like smokers who fail with any method, these were highly dependent smokers who found quitting difficult. The authors that concluded that e-cigarette (use) was not helpful, but that would be true for any treatment however effective if only treatment failures were evaluated,” Hajek said.
This is yet another example of research that is published as factual when it is actually completely worthless. The scientists could have substituted nicotine gum in place of e-cigs and still yielded the same results if they only worked with participants that had failed at quit attempts using that method.
The latest study’s faulty findings are completely contradicted when you look at more balanced studies. For instance, research published in Addiction last month showed that when you compare smokers attempting to quit using licensed nicotine replacement products with smokers using ecigs for cessation, the ecig users were far more successful in their quit attempts.
Scientists have surveyed over 5,800 adults that had smoked within the last year and made at least one quit attempt using e-cigs, over-the-counter nicotine replacement products, or cold turkey methods. The ecig users were most successful in quitting cigarettes and remaining completely abstinent from smoking in follow up contacts.
Ultimately, the American Cancer Society got their report wrong from the very beginning. This kind of research is dangerous for the ecig industry and the only way to stop it is to call our erroneous data when we spot it. Don’t believe everything you read about electronic cigarettes! Take time to really look at the scientific evidence and then draw your own conclusions.