Monthly Number of Research Papers

Monthly Number of Research Papers

Knowledge•Action•Change (2020)

- Burning Issues: The Global State of Tobacco Harm Reduction 2020

Monthly Number of Research Papers
Document Document

It is often said that little is known about vaping and its products. In fact, there has been a massive expansion in the number of scientific publications on vaping. In the six years from 2007-12, there were only 53 publications recorded. This number grew by 459 in 2015; 751 in 2016; 730 in 2017; 1,023 in 2018; 2,017 in 2019; and 793 up to April 2020, totalling 5,773 publications in peer-reviewed scientific journals. In the seven years from 2013 to 2020, the total covering vaping, heated tobacco products (HTP) and snus jumped to 6,309. There are fewer publications on other safer nicotine products (SNP). There were only three publications on HTP in 2015; 26 in 2016; 31 in 2017; 90 in 2018; 95 in 2019; and 48 in 2020. In total there were 293 publications on HTP between January 2015 and April 2020. On snus there were 27 publications in 2015; 61 in 2016; 47 in 2017; 42 in 2018; 53 in 2019 and 13 in 2020. In total, 243 publications on snus from January 2015 to April 2020.

But more science does not always mean better science or better science communication. Poorly formulated and designed research, over-cooked announcements of research results, over-hyped university press releases and an uncritical media with an appetite for bad news stories create confusion among the general public, smokers and users of SNP and health professionals. Taking a balanced view of any issue is not a question of giving equal weight to both sides but making a calculation based on the most robust and credible evidence. There is also a wider issue of what might be termed ‘nicotine illiteracy’ which goes beyond anti-THR rhetoric: a belief among health professionals and the public that nicotine is carcinogenic.

See also p.67 of the report: Burning Issues: The Global State of Tobacco Harm Reduction 2020