Electronic cigarettes: assessing the efficacy and the adverse effects through a systematic review of published studies

To investigate the efficacy and the adverse effects (AEs) of the electronic cigarette, we performed a systematic review of published studies.

Published: 9 August 2014

Positive: Yes

Link to publication: http://jpubhealth.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2014/08/09/pubmed.fdu055.short

doi: 10.1093/pubmed/fdu055


Maria Rosaria Gualano
Stefano Passi
Fabrizio Bert
Giuseppe La Torre
Giacomo Scaioli
Roberta Siliquini


Methods We selected experimental and observational studies examining the efficacy (as reduction of desire to smoke and/or number of cigarettes smoked and/or quitting or as reduction of nicotine withdrawal symptoms) and the safety of EC (AEs self-reported or clinical/laboratory). The following search engines were used: PubMed, ISI Web of Knowledge and Cochrane Controlled Trials Register.

Results Finally, six experimental studies and six cohort studies were included. In the prospective 12-month, randomized controlled trial, smoking reduction was documented in 22.3 and 10.3% at Weeks 12 and 52, respectively (P < 0.001 versus baseline). Moreover, two cohort studies reported a reduction in the number of cigarette/day (from 50 to 80%) after the introduction of the EC. ‘Mouth and throat irritation’, ‘nausea’, ‘headache’ and ‘dry cough’ were the most frequently AEs reported.


The use of the EC can reduce the number of cigarettes smoked and withdrawal symptoms, but the AEs reported are mainly related to a short period of use. Long-term studies are needed to evaluate the effects of the EC usage after a chronic exposure.

Full text: J Public Health-2014-Gualano-pubmed_fdu055