E-cigarettes the focus of research in 2020

How do e-cigarettes affect the baby during pregnancy? Can e-cigs make COPD worse? And what about the young people who opt out of cigarettes and vejpar instead. These are some of the questions that researchers sought answers to in 2020.

2020 was a busy year for e-cigarette research. The main focus has been on how young people use e-cigarettes and how the technology actually works for smoking cessation. At the same time, e-cigarettes and nicotine have increasingly become a hot political issue. Research and results have become battlegrounds in an ideological debate. Concepts such as harm reduction and absolute risks are loaded with explosive power that can easily explode in media reporting. Vejpkollen's mission, however, is to give readers the opportunity to separate the wheat from the chaff. At least a little bit.

E-cigarettes to stop smoking

The most startling findings of the year are actually about smoking cessation. In mid-autumn, the prestigious Cochrane Library published a report on e-cigarettes as a smoking cessation method. It wasn't really anything new. Researchers have been finding e-cigarettes more effective than traditional nicotine medicines in randomised trials for some years now. But these have been individual, smaller studies, which in themselves do not usually influence politicians or public health authorities to any great extent.

Twice as effective as nicotine medicines

But Cochrane is something else. Its reports form the basis for disease treatments and health care worldwide, including in Sweden. The Institute's role leads to high standards of credibility and integrity. The Cochrane report is a compilation of over 50 randomised trials comparing the effectiveness of e-cigarettes with traditional nicotine medicines. And according to Cochrane e-cigarettes with nicotine by far the most effective way to quit smoking, twice as much as patches and chewing gum, especially when combined with professional support. What the research means for the future remains to be seen.

Focus on pregnant women and e-cigarettes

But the fact that e-cigarettes are an effective way to quit smoking does not mean that vejping itself is harmless. For smokers, it is a matter of relative risk, where the confirmed harmfulness of the smoke is set against the unknown risks of the vapour. During the year, several studies have focused on studying the effects of vejp in particularly vulnerable groups. Researchers at Infants University Hospital in Dublin wanted to study the relative risk between smoking and vejping during pregnancy. By following pregnant smokers, non-smokers and ex-smokers who were now vejping, they concluded that newborn babies of vejping mothers had the same birth weight as babies of non-smokers. The research was published this spring in the International Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology.

E-cigarettes helped COPD patients

Vaping as an alternative to smoking was also highlighted in a qualitative study of smoking COPD patients in Italy. Doctors followed patients who switched from cigarettes to an electronic alternative over a period of five years. They found not only that e-cigarettes were effective in keeping cigarettes away, but also that vejping did not seem to worsen the course of COPD. On the contrary: the vejpers followed the same pattern as patients using nicotine drugs and had a more favourable prognosis. E-cigarettes are simply reliable tools to improve the diagnosis of COPD patients, was the message when the long-term study was published in the autumn.

Different flavours - different risks

Flavours are important for vejpers who opt out of cigarettes. Several studies show that. However, flavourings also introduce chemicals other than propylene glycol and glycerine into the risk picture. Indeed, the vapour contains only five percent of the harmful substances found in tobacco smoke. And even though flavourings make up a very small part of the vapour, it is still a so-called 'flavouring'. absolute risk. Studies on individual flavours are few and far between, but they are important because many users want to achieve the greatest possible harm reduction. A study from the US, which unfortunately received limited attention in the general media, deals with this very issue. Vejpkollen wrote about the study in the autumn.

The kids are allright

Despite the growing number of studies on vejpning and harm reduction, the issue of young people and e-cigarettes overshadows most of them. And it is here in particular that research and policy are beginning to embrace each other. Reports that vejpning attracts young non-smokers to smoking have appeared regularly in the mainstream media. However, a growing number of studies show that the relationship is probably the opposite. The majority of the young people who use e-cigarettes regularly are already habitual smokers. And just like adults, they use e-cigarettes to quit smoking.

Young people prefer e-cigarettes

In 2020, Vejpkollen has reported on research that seeks to uncovering underlying factors among young people interested in using nicotine. Smokers, vejp users and snus users have much in common in terms of background: smoking parents, social status, risk-taking and home situation are important common factors. In the past, smoking has been the most popular way to utilise nicotine in this group. Today, e-cigarettes are attracting them instead. This leads to an important discussion, which is too often overlooked. A major US study recently concluded that e-cigarettes are becoming eradicate smoking among young people. The question is what will happen when e-cigarettes as an alternative becomes more restricted? We will see.

E-cigarettes and stroke?

Finally, the year saw a major scandal in the scientific community. Renowned anti-tobacco activist Stanton Glantz published a report in 2019 claiming that vejpers are as likely (or more likely) to suffer a stroke as traditional smokers. His report dropped like a bombshell and recognised legislators all over the world. But when other researchers examined the data, it turned out that Glanz's claim was not supported by the basic data (statistics from US surveys). Several of the vejpers studied by Glanz turned out to have had their stroke before they started using e-cigarettes. But Glanz chose to ignore this. In early 2020, the journal that published the study chose to withdraw it.

Political science a threat to public health

Stanton Glanz has been influential among major organisations pushing for stricter regulation of e-cigarettes, including the WHO. But the fact that a researcher, knowingly or unknowingly, withholds facts just to push a political line (in this case to limit the development of harm reduction consumer products) is not only worrying. It is a direct threat to public healthsays many health researchers. After all, why would smokers opt out of cigarettes in favour of a less harmful alternative, if it doesn't matter anyway?
Stanton Glanz retired unexpectedly in the summer of 2020.

New year - new findings on e-cigs

Vejpkollen looks forward to a 2021 with many more studies on e-cigarettes and vejpning. At the beginning of the year, the UK Department of Health its ongoing compilation on vejping, health risks and harm reduction. At the same time, we follow some major long-term studies on vejping among former non-smokers. And we should not forget the independent studies on Nicotine and Covid-19 that is currently taking place on a global scale. It will be an exciting year!

Want to read more about e-cigarettes in 2020? Vejpkollen's annual report can be found here!

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1 Comment on “E-cigaretter fokus för forskningen 2020

  1. Superbly well written! I will check the study that did not attract so much attention (rönt is missing in the text) and was unsure myself whether Professor P. N. S. Glans during the year had to withdraw the story about MI or Stroke, it was MI last year which is a heart attack. Frej Larsson has just released a disc with a story about Heart Attack. Helenamiraklet, which is also P. Glans, is also about heart attacks, but it has only been criticised, not retracted, unfortunately. I recall that a couple of hundred "holes" with very small populations were skimmed. Such places can easily have double one year and half the third year and cut the year in between by something, pure coincidence. The small towns that were in the "half" situation during the survey period were included in the study. The city of Helena was included and the conclusion was that a smoking ban and especially a ban in pubs immediately gave massive positive effects, such as reducing the frequency of heart attacks by about 50%. Stroke from nicotine, on the other hand, is probably quite well researched and for the only time in Sweden and actually communicated honestly internationally. You probably don't mention it if you are not asked, but if you are. Higher mortality in the first 30 days when it is "critical" is what you can see compared to the never group. Even if it is not critical so you have to be in the ICU. However, those in the study definitely belong to the ICU category of patients and probably the most severely beaten (beatable) by their stroke to use some old words.
    By the way, where is the question?

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