E-cigarettes Prove Their Worth in Comprehensive Review
By Alli Boughner
American Vapor Manufacturers Association
A growing body of evidence shows that nicotine vaping is far safer than smoking and the most effective cessation tool available. Indeed, these conclusions are so strongly supported by the data that some experts “do not expect more evidence to change these results.” So says the Cochrane Collaboration, an international group of 30,000 scientists that publishes high-quality reviews of the evidence on a variety of public health topics.
Cochrane recently published an update to its ongoing review of the evidence on nicotine vaping as a quit-smoking strategy. The reviewers examined 319 studies involving almost 160,000 adults who smoked. Compared to several prescription drugs and nicotine replacement therapies (NRTs), vaping was the single most effective intervention. They summarized their results this way:
E-cigarettes were found to help around 14 smokers per 100 quit long-term, compared to 6 in 100 trying to quit without any of the stop-smoking aids studied … The review estimates that around 12 in 100 people using two forms of NRT together will quit successfully, compared to around 9 in 100 people using only one type.
Cessation among smokers who switched to vaping (which ranged from 10 to 19 successful quit attempts per 100 people) appears to be increasing quite quickly. Cochrane’s previous review, only published 10 months ago, found that somewhere between eight and 12 smokers who try vaping ultimately quit cigarettes.
Evidence still coming in
Importantly, Cochrane didn’t include any research published after April 2022. This was necessary to allow the authors enough time to review all the studies they included; however, well-designed research published since that cutoff date has shown that vaping promotes cessation even when smokers have little interest in quitting and receive no guidance from a physician or other health care provider.
Although the Cochrane authors recommended more research be done, there was no evidence of vaping-related serious adverse events (SAEs) in any of the 319 studies they evaluated. Anyone who claims that nicotine vaping carries serious health risks is not basing that conclusion on the available science.
Even public health groups that discourage adult smokers from vaping, like the American Lung Association, have conceded that it carries significantly fewer health risks than cigarettes.
Sparse media coverage
The press loves to print scary stories about vaping. From EVALI to “popcorn lung” and even erectile dysfunction, reporters have amplified every bogus narrative about nicotine vapes, badly deceiving smokers about a product that could save their lives. But when a widely respected public health institution publishes “high certainty evidence” that vaping promotes cessation, the press has almost nothing to say.
Media coverage of the Cochrane review has been sparse thus far. It has fallen to a handful of regional outlets to report the results. As of this writing, no major outlet—CNN, Associated Press, Fox News, ABC, NBC, CBS—has published a single word about the review. Why the media wouldn’t want to tell smokers about a technology that could extend their lives and improve their health is beyond me.
For now, it remains up to informed consumers and alternative news outlets to tell the truth about nicotine vaping.