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expert reaction to study reviewing the effectiveness of e-cigarettes as an aid to stopping smoking

Researchers publishing in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews journal have analysed randomised controlled trials in which the efficacy of e-cigarettes to aid smoking cessation was analysed. They report that e-cigarettes have a beneficial effect in terms of smoking cessation, and that they found no evidence of a health risk associated with short-term e-cigarette use.

 

Prof. Ann McNeill, Professor of Tobacco Addiction, National Addiction Centre, King’s College London’s Institute of Psychiatry, said:

“Given the debates around the role of e-cigarettes in public health, I welcome this new Cochrane review. Cochrane reviews are carried out using a rigorous process and are internationally recognized as providing the best evidence of effectiveness. Whilst the studies included were limited in number and used e-cigarettes which are now largely obsolete, the results are clear. E-cigarettes are helping smokers to quit or substantially cut down the number of cigarettes they smoke. I hope now the debate can move on to how best we can advise and support smokers using these products to stop smoking completely as soon as possible.”

 

Prof. Robert West, Editor-in-Chief of Addiction and Director of Tobacco Research at UCL, said:

“This study tells us that even the older style electronic cigarettes improve smokers’ chances of stopping by about 50%. It’s early days but so far it seems that these devices are already helping tens of thousands of smokers to stop each year.”

 

‘Electronic cigarettes for smoking cessation and reduction’ by Hayden McRobbie et al. published in Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews on Wednesday 17th December. 

 

Declared interests

Prof Robert West: I have not and will not accept any kind of funds, payments or hospitality from companies that make e-cigarettes because of the risk of being perceived as tainted on that count. I undertake research and consultancy for companies that manufacture smoking cessation medications and licensed nicotine replacement products. My salary is funded by Cancer Research UK

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