January 13, 2013

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

Why I don't post personal testimonials about e-cigarettes on by blog

There is a long and well-developed literature about the placebo effect where people think a treatment worked when, in fact, it was no better than a sugar pill.  Personal testimonials about the benefits of e-cigarettes do not constitute scientific evidence that they are effective ways to quit smoking.

If and when there are high quality longitudinal studies showing that e-cigarettes as actually used actually help people quit smoking conventional cigarettes, I will modify my opinions on e-cigarettes as cessation aids. As of now, the reality is that such studies simply do not exist.  Until they do the US Federal Trade Commission and, once it takes jurisdiction, the Food and Drug Administration (and other similar authorities in other countries) should prohibit making or promoting such claims by companies selling e-cigarettes.

To avoid contributing to the misinformation on this point, I do not post the testimonials I am sent. 

Regardless of how the particular issue of whether or not e-cigarettes actually help people quit is resolved, e-cigarettes should not be allowed indoors in workplaces or public places or to be promoted or sold to kids.  They may pollute the air less than conventional cigarettes, but they still pollute the air.  And companies should not be allowed to promote an addictive drug to kids.



I live in the UK. I bought an ecig 7 months months ago. I have virtually stopped smoking tobacco without any effort or discomfort. When on holiday in places where smoking bans are ignored - last August it was Sicily - I smoke cigarettes as a treat. I envisage using my ecig for rest of my life. It costs me only £5 a week, compared to the £22 I would spend on smuggled tobacco. Possible the greatest medical advance of the last fifty years. Tens of thousands of people already saved from lung cancer.  


I decided to make an exception and post your comments because it is exactly the kind of report one would expect based on the placebo effect.  Your comment on conventional cigarettes as a "treat" also raises the specter of "dual use," which is another major concern about e-cigarettes.

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