Does vaping e-cigarette have different cardiovascular and respiratory health effects compared to the conventional cigarette?
Clinicians and tobacco harm reduction advocates have different opinions when it comes to the health consequences of e-cigarettes.
This is partially a consequence of data reported by studies with inadequate research methods and reliance on studies the lack of direct evidence of the health effects of e-cigarette use,. Furthermore reviews are outdated as soon as they are published because well over one thousand new articles on e-cigarettes become available every year.
Hence, Dr Renee O’Leary in collaboration with four research fellows of the University of Catania is seeking to answer this question as explained in their paper “Respiratory and Cardiovascular Health Effects of E-Cigarette Substitution: Protocol for Two Living Systematic Reviews“.
The main goal of the protocol, the research project plan, is to examine the scientific evidence on the effects of e-cigarettes on smokers from the available studies. The project includes writing a paper for doctors and health care providers, a fact sheet for people who use e-cigarettes, and a policy brief for legislators on health committees.
Additionally, due to the lack of consistent data in the studies on the respiratory and cardiovascular outcomes of e-cigarettes substitution by people who smoke, the paper will critically assess and synthesize the available studies.
Another goal is the dissemination of the study to multiple audiences in a format that is accessible and readily understood. According to the review, “there is a need to establish the effects of e-cigarettes on respiratory and cardiovascular health to provide a systematic review of the scientific data available“.
So far, systematic reviews have been based on cytotoxicity cell tests, measurements of chemical emissions of the vapour, and biomarker studies of chemical exposures, none of which provide direct evidence of the health effects of e-cigarette use.
The review, instead, will assemble all the available human studies on the respiratory and cardiovascular effects of e-cigarettes applying the living systematic review methodology.
As a methodology, the research will update the studies in the review with any new publications every three months. This will assure a rigorous approach to maintaining a very high-quality and up-to-date standard for the findings of the review.
“The protocol presents the research plan for the first of its kind exclusive examination of human studies and the effects of ecig on smokers. The results will be of particular interest for clinicians that seek reliable data on the cardiovascular and respiratory effects of e-cigarettes. Besides that, it will also create a database that categorizes the previous studies according to the quality of the research” Project Leader Dr Renèe O’Leary stated.