Recently I attended a forum on e-cigarettes, sponsored by a political organization that wanted to educate its attendees about the devices. During the discussion my opponent [from the prohibitionist American Legacy Foundation] repeated the baseless claim that there is no evidence that e-cigarettes help smokers quit.
I responded that there is clear evidence: several clinical studies demonstrate that e-cigs work – previously discussed in my blog (here, here, here and here).
The clinical trial evidence has reached a sufficient size that a meta-analysis has been conducted. Circulation, the flagship journal of the American Heart Association, contained the abstract of such a review presented (here) by University of Melbourne (Australia) investigators at a recent meeting. They found that “Use of…e-cigarettes was positively associated with smoking cessation …Nicotine filled e-cigarettes were more effective in achieving cessation compared to those without nicotine (pooled Risk Ratio 2.29, 95%CI 1.05-4.97). Use of e-cigarettes was also effective in reducing smokers’ daily cigarette consumption…In conclusion, available literature suggests that the use of e-cigarettes may be an effective alternate smoking cessation method.”
After my response one of the attendees at our forum stated that he had quit smoking using e-cigs, and he had also convinced two of his relatives to quit. As he noted, “it may not be a clinical trial, but it is real evidence.”
This doesn’t happen just at every event I attend. It happens at virtually every conversation I have. Almost everybody now knows former smokers who credit e-cigarettes with life- and breath-saving benefits. The Consumer Advocates for Smoke-Free Alternatives Association maintains a webpage linking to over 2,000 testimonials from successful switchers (here).
Cartoonist Bill Watterson said: “It's not denial. I'm just selective about the reality I accept.” Anti-tobacco zealots who refuse to acknowledge the new reality of e-cigarettes also qualify for membership in The Flat Earth Society (join here).