A research group studying the long-term efficacy and safety of e-cigarettes has now launched a Kickstarter campaign to collect funds for the five-year follow-up study needed to provide solid data. Launched in 2013, the study was planned to last for five years. For the first two years, the researchers have already published data at http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0129443 ; the entire protocol has been published in BMC Public Health: http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2458/13/883 . However, in order to complete the study, more funds are needed.
The results of the study will be important to the scientific community. The study compares e-smokers with traditional cigarette smokers over time, the only study so far which utilizes this protocol. While e-cigarettes have been marketed for some time, there is still uncertainty on whether they are safe or effective.
So far, early data shows that the use of e-cigarettes has produced mixed results. Of the 959 subjects studied, no serious adverse effects were found from the use of e-cigarettes, and the use of these products tended to help those who quit using tobacco to avoid a relapse. However, adding e-cigarettes to the smoking regimens of tobacco users did not facilitate reduction or cessation of smoking. More research is needed to verify these conclusions and seek more data for a broader view of the efficacy of these products.
Funds gathered through the Kickstarter campaign will be used to complete the study and pay for expenses related to this important research. While the study has been self-funded to this point, it is impossible for the researchers to continue their work without financial assistance from interested donors.
The Kickstarter campaign, located at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/302424224/e-cigarette-long-term-efficacy-and-safety-a-study, offers pledge levels of €1 or more and perks including a copy of the results of the study when they become available. For more information, visit the Kickstarter page.