Yesterday, Dr. Glantz wrote, on his tobacco blog, that smokers who have succeeded in quitting smoking using electronic cigarettes have not actually demonstrated the usefulness of the electronic cigarette. Instead, he argues, they have simply experienced a placebo effect. In a column entitled "Why I don't post personal testimonials about e-cigarettes on by blog," Dr. Glantz explains that:
- "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.
Anti-tobacco groups, researchers, and advocates who have a pre-existing bias against electronic cigarettes and who have already made up their minds that these cigarette-like substitutes are evil are faced with a perplexing problem: how to respond to the personal stories of literally hundreds of thousands of vapers who have successfully used these products to quit smoking or to cut down substantially on the amount that they smoke.
This is a major problem for these anti-tobacco researchers and advocates because they must continue to assert that there is no evidence electronic cigarettes are helpful in smoking reduction or cessation. Once the acknowledge that electronic cigarettes are useful for smoking cessation or reduction, then their ideological opposition to these products becomes untenable.
So how to respond to the fact that more than 2.5 million smokers in the United States find these products helpful in their efforts to quit smoking or to cut down on the amount that they smoke? How to respond to the hundreds of thousands of personal testimonials of vapers who have succeeded in using these alternatives to cigarettes? To me, this would seem like a vexing problem. After all, you can't simply ignore this evidence, can you? The rest of the story...