Fontem Ventures rejects Lancet ‘meta analysis’ conclusion that “e-cigarettes are associated with significantly less quitting among smokers”

Amsterdam, 15 January – A new ‘meta-analysis’ published yesterday in the Lancet Respiratory Medicine journal, which concluded that “e-cigarettes are associated with significantly less quitting among smokers”, has come under swift and severe criticism from international public health experts.

The analysis, E-cigarettes and smoking cessation in real-world and clinical settings: a systematic review and meta-analysis,conducted by Professor Stanton A. Glantz, a well-known anti e-cigarette advocate, has been labelled “grossly misleading” and “not scientific” by UK health professionals and academics. It particularly contrasts with a widely-acclaimed UCL paperwhich showed that people attempting to quit smoking without professional help are approximately 60% more likely to report succeeding if they use e-cigarettes.

Speaking about the study today, Marc Michelsen, Senior Vice President Communications & Corporate Affairs, said: “This type of misleading and sensationalist information doesn’t contribute anything meaningful to the public debate around vaping and e-cigarettes. In fact, to the detriment of public health, it adds to consumer confusion and damages confidence in the products.”

“We, like Public Health England and others, recognise that e-cigarettes provide a positive alternative to traditional tobacco products and believe smokers have the right to access accurate, scientifically legitimate information.”

What the experts say:

Prof. Linda Bauld of the University of Stirling, Chair in Behavioural Research for Cancer Prevention at Cancer Research UK, said that while the study’s breadth “is to be commended, its conclusions (that e-cigarettes don’t work for smoking cessation) are at best tentative and at worst incorrect… The review also omits an important part of the picture when assessing any benefits of e-cigarettes in helping smokers quit – and that is the sheer reach of these devices. They are now the most popular aid to stopping smoking in the UK, for example, used by over 2.6 million people.”

Rosanna O’ Connor, Director of Tobacco, Alcohol & Drugs, Public Health England, added that: “There are over a million ex-smokers using an e-cigarette in Britain… Evidence from practice in England shows that two out of three smokers who combined e-cigarettes with additional expert support from a local stop smoking service quit successfully”.

Prof. Peter Hajek, Director of the Tobacco Dependence Research Unit, Queen Mary University of London (QMUL), said: “This review is grossly misleading in my opinion… The studies that are presented as showing that vaping does not help people quit only recruited people who were currently smoking and asked them if they used e-cigarettes in the past.  This means that people who used e-cigarettes and stopped smoking were excluded.”

Prof. Ann McNeill of King’s College London, said: “This review is not scientific… the authors have not included all previous studies they could have done in their meta-analysis. I believe the findings should therefore be dismissed.”

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