Vaping studies often contain a lot of modal verbs like can, could, may, might and must. For example, an updated study on e-cigarettes for smoking cessation by the Cochrane Review suggest that vaping “could” help smokers quit using deadly combustible cigarettes.
The Cochrane study looked at 50 studies that took place in the US, the UK, Italy, Australia, New Zealand, Greece, Belgium, Canada, Poland, South Korea, South Africa, Switzerland and Turkey. The review found that e-cigarettes “could” be the answer many smokers are looking for according to an article in The New Strait Times.
Among the key findings were that smokers were likely to stop smoking for at least six months by switching to a vaping device with a nicotine e-liquid as compared to nicotine replacement therapy (such as gum and patches), nicotine-free vaporizers or behavioural support.
The researchers, made up of multiple independent and internationally-renowned healthcare experts, found that vaping with a nicotine e-liquid can help 10 in 100 people to stop smoking, compared to only 6 in 100 people who have tried using nicotine-replacement therapy or vaping nicotine-free e-liquids. Only an estimated 4 in 100 who try to quit without support, or those who rely only on behavioural support, are likely to succeed.
They also did not detect any clear evidence of serious harm from vaping a nicotine e-liquid.
Jamie Hartmann-Boyce from the Cochrane Tobacco Addiction Group said there is an increase in evidence of smoking cessation through the use of e-cigarettes compared to the last review in 2016.
“The randomised evidence on smoking cessation has increased since the last version of the review and there is now evidence that electronic cigarettes with nicotine are likely to increase the chances of quitting successfully compared to nicotine gum or patches,” said Hartmann-Boyce, the lead author of the review. “While there is currently no clear evidence of any serious side effects, there is considerable uncertainty about the harms of electronic cigarettes and longer-term data are needed. Scientific consensus holds that electronic cigarettes are considerably less harmful than traditional cigarettes, but not risk-free.”
In contrast, a recent study from the University of California San Francisco (UCSF), led by Richard Wang, determined that that e-cigarettes do not lead smokers away from addiction. Wang also claims that e-cigarettes “could” increase a users risk of disease. “If the use of consumer device products is not associated with increased smoking cessation, there is no health benefit,” he said. “Also, as people who smoke add e-cigarettes to their smoking, their risk of disease could increase.”
Wang worked with fellow UCSF researcher Sudhamiyi Bhadriraju and disgraced former UCSF researcher Stanton Glantz, who has recently had multiple studies recently retracted for what has been labeled by fellow scientists as “explicit dishonesty.”
This was based on the collection of 64 trials in which participants were examined. All of them are e-cigarette users, according to an article on Explica.com.
“In observational studies you are asking people about the use of the devices they bought themselves. But they did it without specific guidance to quit smoking,” says Wang. “In a randomized trial, you test a product, treating it as a therapy or drug to quit.”
Wang then goes on to say there “may” be a cessation effect. “When certain electronic devices are treated as medicines, there may actually be a smoking cessation effect,” explains Wang. “But it has to be balanced against the risks of using cigarettes.”