E-cigarettes do not have a success rate of 80% is smoking cessation Clarifying a “quote” reported by Metro newspaper

E-cigarettes do not have a success rate of 80% is smoking cessation


Clarifying a “quote” reported by Metro newspaper


By Dr Farsalinos


Instead of commenting on the very important e-cigarette summit held in London, I am obliged to clarify and correct a report by the Metro newspaper, where I was quoted to say that my research has shown that 80% of smokers quit with e-cigarettes.


I have to make clear that I never made such a statement because I have never found that 80% of smokers quit with e-cigarettes and I don’t believe they have such a success rate. I would never jeopardize my integrity and the validity of my statements with such an exaggeration….


            Today I received a phone call from a journalist of Metro newspaper and he asked me several questions. During the discussion, I mentioned the 80% figure twice. The first time when I told him that the best available approved smoking cessation methods have a success rate of less than 20%. So, we have to do something for the more than 80% of smokers who cannot quit, rather than letting them continue smoking. For this population, the e-cigarette is a very good choice and should be recommended. Obviously, this does not mean that all of them will quit smoking, and I never implied that! The second time I mentioned this figure was when I told him about the internet surveys performed by myself and other colleagues. I specifically told him that only dedicated users participate in these surveys. However, their success stories should be used as a guide in developing a strategy of educating smokers about e-cigarette use and how to use them. Additionally and in order to make sure that he did not misinterpret this, I told him that it is unrealistic and impossible to expect an 80% success rate in the general population and surveys do NOT measure the success rate of e-cigarettes in smoking cessation. They just inform us about the experience and the patterns of use in people who have succeeded to quit smoking.


            Additionally, I must say that I never mentioned that the risk from e-cigarettes is 1/1000th to that of tobacco cigarettes. I said that e-cigarettes are by orders of magnitude less harmful, but I did not give any figure. I may have told him (I don’t remember this) that nitrosamines are present in 500-1000 times lower quantities in e-cigarettes, but not that the overall risk in 1000 times less.


In conclusion, I am not accusing the journalist for deliberately misquoting me. It was a telephone interview while I was in the center of London, so I accept that he probably misunderstood my statement. However, I feel obliged to make clear that I never said or implied that the success rate of e-cigarettes in smoking cessation is 80%. I told him a lot of things; that they can become a revolution in tobacco harm reduction, that it is a product with characteristics never seen before by any other product in this field and that based on current evidence we can confidently say that smokers who switch from tobacco to e-cigarettes will have significant health benefits. It is clear that I have not found and I do not support that e-cigarettes have a success rate of 80% in smoking cessation.

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