Suspected risks of e-cigarettes - flawed research

Unreliable: Major study withdrawn after criticism

A major study on the link between stroke and e-cigarettes has been withdrawn. This is after it was found that the links were impossible to establish in practice. But the study has already influenced lawmakers around the world. Now more studies on the risks of e-cigarettes are being questioned.

Research on e-cigarettes and health has been a hot topic for media and health scientists in recent years. Not least when it comes to presumed health risks compared to cigarette smoking.

In 2019, the prestigious Journal of the American Heart Organisation published a study that suggested that the risk of heart attack was the same for vejps as for smokers. The conclusion is based on static analyses of stroke rates in US smokers and vejp users over a 10-year period.

Risks reduced with e-cigarettes

But what the researchers missed was to include the time of the heart attack in relation to when they started using e-cigarettes. It was found that, in the vast majority of cases, a reported stroke occurred before that the user has started using e-cigarettes.

Other researchers have repeated the study. This time with the time between the smoking cessation and the heart attack included in the analysis. Now the instead decreased the risk of stroke for those who only vejpade. It also decreased at the same rate as for people who quit smoking using other methods.

Not considered reliable

The US equivalent of the Heart and Lung Foundation has taken the criticism very seriously. The organisation has chosen to officially withdraw the study from its Journal of the American Heart Association. Something that does not happen often.

"We have become aware that the study does not report relevant data and we have not received satisfactory answers from the authors. Therefore, we now choose to consider the results as unreliable" write the editors of the journal.

Professor Stanton Glanz of the University of California is behind the withdrawn study. His research has had a major impact on e-cigarette legislation and awareness worldwide, writes USA Today. He has also served as an advisor to WHO on the approach to e-cigarettes.

Risks of e-cigarettes questioned

But now previous research, where Stanton Glantz and his research team drew conclusions about e-cigarettes and risks from statistics, is also being questioned. Stanton Glanz is known for his views on both tobacco and vejpning. His research has also been the basis for several influential assumptions about e-cigarettes around the world. According to Glanz's analyses e-cigarettes young people to traditional smoking. He also believes that e-cigarettes do not work to quit smoking.

Serious for public health

One of the critics of the current study is Mr David AbramsProfessor of Global Health at New York University. He now hopes that Stanton Glantz's previous research will also be scrutinised.

"Lawmakers often cite his studies, which claim that e-cigarettes make it harder to quit smoking. This is despite the fact that it is based on data that has nothing to do with smoking cessation," Mr Abrams told USA Today.

According to David Abrams, Glanz's analyses have been misleading for many decision-makers and organisations that openly criticise e-cigarettes as a phenomenon. This is all the more serious as Stanton Glanz has large grants (over $20 million) from both the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) and the National Health Institute, says David Abrams.

"Get vejpar without first being a smoker"

Stanton Glanz's research has guided several state policies on e-cigarettes in the US. Not least when it comes to the view of young people in vejpning.

"His study claiming that e-cigarettes are a gateway to smoking has shown on examination that most young people who try e-cigarettes already smoke. Very few start vejpa without first trying regular smoking" says John Abrams to USA Today.

Stanton Glanz has responded to the criticism and withdrawal of his research in his blog. He believes that it is the interests of the tobacco companies that are behind the criticism, writing USA Today.

critics Mr David Abrams has no connection to the tobacco industry, as far as Vejpkollen is aware.

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