Electronic cigarette and scientific research.

Forword on scientific researches

It would be wrong to say that we do not have sufficient studies or hindsight on the practice and the effects of electronic cigarettes. Many research; serious and documented, listing the effects of vaping on health has already been published. There are in fact, hundreds of them and on very specific subjects: vapour emissions, chemical composition, the potential toxicity of certain molecules … At VDLV, our team keep a daily watch on the studies in progress, which we regularly share the conclusions on our social networks.

« Vaping is 95% less harmful than smoking »

In the United Kingdom, the second largest vaping market in the world, the Ministry of Health (Department of Health & Social Care) via its agency Public Health England has been claiming, since 2015, that electronic cigarettes are 95% less harmful than cigarettes fuels. Then publishing a document entitled “E-cigarettes: an evidence update1 “, supplemented since by a new report “Vaping in England: evidence update March 20202” the agency states that “e-cigarettes are significantly less dangerous for health than tobacco cigarettes “. In addition, they represent an effective aid to smoking cessation.

These results were confirmed in 2016 by a report from the Royal College of Physicians3. A group of experts then assessed some smoking risk reduction strategies and the role played by electronic cigarettes. They provide clarification on the controversies related to vaping and confirm that:

  • The e-cigarette is not a gateway to smoking, especially among young people;
  • The e-cigarette does not renormalize smoking ;
  • The electronic cigarette is useful in smoking cessation;
  • The vape is 95% less harmful than the combustion cigarette.

Effectiveness demonstrated on several occasions

In 2017, there is further confirmation of the effectiveness of vaping in smoking cessation across the Channel. ASH (Action on Smoking and Health), one of the UK’s leading anti-smoking associations, publishes the results of its annual survey4.
We observe that a majority of English vapers, i.e. 1.5 million out of 2.9 million, have completely stopped smoking thanks to vaping. The rest are vapo-smokers, that is to say vapers and smokers at the same time.

This survey was completed the same year by a team of Italian researchers. They published the results of a cohort study5. They conclude that a majority of vape smokers would not stay that way. This would be a transient state towards quitting smoking altogether rather than a long-term pattern of use. Enough to reassure the most sceptical ones about the electronic cigarette and its efficiency.

Are nicotine substitutes more effective?

In 2019, thirteen doctors, psychologists and pharmacists compared the effectiveness of vaping with other smoking cessation methods. Published in the New England Journal of Medicine6, this study concludes that vaping is twice as effective compared to patches and gums. A conclusion validated, in 2020, by a systematic review as well as a meta-analysis proving an efficacy 1.69 times greater.

To go further

Do you want more information on electronic cigarette studies? We advise you to read our article on the theory of the gateway effect or to consult our scientific referent in this area, ingésciences.


sources :

1 McNeill A, Brose LS, Calder R, Hitchman SC, Hajek P, McRobbie H. (2015). E-cigarettes: an evidence update: a report commissioned by Public Health England. London: Public Health England. See study

2 McNeill, A., Brose, L.S., Calder, R., Bauld, L., and Robson, D. (2020). Vaping in England: an evidence update including mental health and pregnancy, March 2020: a report commissioned by Public Health England. London: Public Health England. See study

3 Royal College of Physicians. Nicotine without smoke: Tobacco harm reduction. London: RCP, 2016. See Study

4 Ash.org.uk See document

5 Manzoli L, Flacco ME, Ferrante M the ISLESE Working Group, et alCohort study of electronic cigarette use: effectiveness and safety at 24 monthsTobacco Control 2017;26:284-292. See study

6 Hajek P, Phillips-Waller A, Przulj D, Pesola F, Myers Smith K, Bisal N, Li J, Parrott S, Sasieni P, Dawkins L, Ross L, Goniewicz M, Wu Q, McRobbie HJ. A Randomized Trial of E-Cigarettes versus Nicotine-Replacement Therapy. N Engl J Med. 2019 Feb 14;380(7):629-637. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa1808779. Epub 2019 Jan 30. PMID: 30699054. See study