On the occasion of the 10 years since this first scientific milestone, today the ECLAT study published on PlosOne has over 100,000 views.

Smoking is the leading risk factor for health globally. Besides being a deadly scourge, it is also an economic burden with a strong impact in economic terms. Despite progress in counteracting policies, smoking continues to pose a significant challenge to public health and raises global concern. A substantial body of scientific literature has convincingly demonstrated that electronic cigarettes and all smoke-free devices can reduce smoking-related harm by up to 95% compared to conventional cigarette smoking.

But where did this research originate?

Few know that the first and most relevant study on electronic cigarettes was conducted in Catania more than ten years ago, when the research group led by Professor Riccardo Polosa of the University of Catania decided to evaluate the use of electronic cigarettes on a sample of smokers who were beginning a cessation journey at the Anti-Smoking Center of the Polyclinic “Vittorio Emanuele” in Catania. It was then that Polosa, along with Professor Pasquale Caponnetto, recognized the potential of the device and the validity of research protocols.

In the summer of 2013, after two years of recruitment and follow-ups, the first randomized controlled trial on electronic cigarettes came to light. The ECLAT study. A groundbreaking study that provided evidence for the first time that the electronic cigarette could help people quit smoking, even those who had no desire to quit.

The ECLAT study subsequently became a source of inspiration for researchers worldwide. Even then, despite the technical limitations of vaping products at that time, the study showed that at the 52nd week, 8.7% of smokers using electronic cigarettes quit smoking, while 10.3% reduced the consumption of traditional cigarettes by at least 50%. Moreover, 73.1% of those who had quit did not use the electronic cigarette at the end of the study.

Although these data may appear modest today, it is a fact that the ECLAT study paved the way for a line of research that now engages thousands of researchers worldwide, marking a significant shift in the science of Harm Reduction.

Over the years, non-combustible products have changed both in form and content, but the goal remains the same: to make the experience similar to smoking while minimizing the most harmful contents, primarily those generated by combustion. Today, the Cochrane literature review – which also incorporates the ECLAT study – confirms what was stated in Catania ten years ago: electronic cigarettes are effective in the fight against smoking.

On the occasion of the 10 years since this first scientific milestone, today the ECLAT study published on PlosOne has over 100,000 views.

According to Professor Polosa: ‘If we want to definitively erase the history of smoking, we must continue with research, encouraging continuous innovation and evaluation studies. Harm reduction can and is already saving millions of lives. The path is the right one and must be followed to the end.‘”


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