‘Disappointing’ Cancer Council “study” derided

Howls of outrage and derision have greeted the news of a “study” by Cancer Council South Australia claiming that “e-cigarettes are ineffective in helping smokers quit their deadly habit.”

As reported by ABC News, the “study” involved just 87 people who called the state’s Quitline – and 15 of these didn’t even use e-cigs. Further, “many e-cigarette devices used did not contain nicotine cartridges and some people were using them in conjunction with other pharmacotherapies.”

Social media users were quick to denounce the “study”, which the Council was to present to the Oceania Tobacco Control Conference in Perth, WA (but which is unavailable on its own website). One early response pointed out the obvious fact that “flaw 1 of the 1000 flaws in that ‘study’ [is that] people who have used e-cigs to successfully quit aren’t calling a Quitline.”

Many comments on Facebook singled out ABC for criticism, calling it “biased”. One respondent said: “If this were any other scientific topic … the ABC would never dare demonstrate wilful bias, completely against its charter.”Another called it the “most pathetic ‘study’ ever conducted.”

The latest report comes a week after Cancer Council SA expressed concern “that there is currently no evidence to suggest that e-cigarettes are safe or that they support smoking cessation” despite a welter of such evidence from independent public health experts including Public Health England and the Royal Society for Public Health.

In Sydney, John Boley, co-founder of regional consumer advocacy factasia.org, called the report “deeply disappointing. If proponents of properly regulated e-cigarettes as a means of getting adults away from smoking were to publish such a ‘study’, they would rightly be derided. The Cancer Council is only undermining its own good works by putting out such a risible report. factasia welcomes facts and scientific analysis – not unhelpful and irrelevant theorising like this.”