The Cochrane Collaboration is named after Archie Cochrane, and is an independent, non-profit organisation that collects over 31,000 volunteer researchers in more than 120 countries. The organisation also has a Norwegian department - Norwegian Branch of the Nordic Cochrane Centre, and is associated with the Norwegian Knowledge Centre for the Health Services. |
Briefly the Cochrane Collaboration produces systematic reviews of existing research, and they are considered to set high standards for the research included in their overviews. Cochrane Collaboration is criticised by some for demanding too much of the research that may be included in the reviews, and perhaps because of the stringent requirements, often the effects reported, if any at all, are small.
The procedures and the methodology Cochrane Collaboration uses are therefore considered to lead to reports with a high degree of safety when it comes to conclusions drawn, although the conclusions often is that we need more knowledge about an area - that the overview identified a "knowledge gap".
The report "Electronic cigarettes for smoking cessation and reduction" was made available online on 17.12.2014 and can therefore be regarded as fairly new. The author of the report are Hayden McRobbie, Chris Bullen, Jamie Hartmann Boyce, Peter Hajek. And as the title says, the report looks at electronic cigarettes in connection with smoking cessation and reduction of tobacco use.
Smoking cessation is a difficult area and there are probably not today any means that suits everyone, it excites therefore a large selection of products for use in smoking cessation - Electronic Cigarettes (Elektroniske sigaretter in Norwegian) are considered by many as one of these methods.
The authors of the report aimed at; examine the efficacy of Electronic Cigarettes in helping people who smoke to achieve long-term abstinence Examine the efficacy of Electronic Cigarettes in helping people reduce cigarette consumption by at least 50% of baseline levels Assess the occurrence of adverse events associated with Electronic Cigarette use
To get an overview of the present research literature it was performed a structured search in several registers and indexes of research literature and reports. It was also made contact with several authors of studies regarding electronic cigarettes.
It was indentefied 594 reports that matched the search criteria, and from these 526 studies were excluded for various reasons - often this exclusion will be due to the studies not matching the search criteria after all. 68 studies were included for further review, and from these 39 studies were excluded after reading them - here is often the cause of exclusion that the studies can not answer the research question the authors of the systematic review set to answer. Finally the 29 reports was included in a qualitative synthesis, and two (2) of these could also be used in conjunction with a quantitative analysis.
For those who know little to systematic review and meta-analysis, these results say that there are to few reports to draw any firm conclusions - two reports are far from enough. There are also seems to be too few studies for a quantitative analysis. 29 reports to a quantitative analysis are not very many, the reports were also considered to be of fairly low quality. One of the included studies was a survey by telephone.
As in many Cochrane reports, this also concluded that there is too little research in this area to make it possible to draw any definite conclusions. The authors believe, however, that it seems that electronic cigarettes have effect in relation to smoking cessation, but they can not answer research questions about long-term effects or reduction of tobacco use.
It is still very positive to read that report authors choose to conclude that they can not find any negative effects from short-term use of electronic cigarettes.
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