Shaping the future of vaping research


Smokers, vapers and non-smokers are being invited to help shape the future of medical research into the safety of e-cigarettes by taking part in a new online survey run by the University of Nottingham’s UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies.

Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death and e-cigarettes are now the most popular method used by people trying to give up. 37% of smokers use them for quit attempts1, and 2.6 million adults are currently vaping as a safer alternative to tobacco2. Recently, Public Health England estimated they are likely to be 95% safer than cigarettes3but very little is known about possible long-term effects of vaping on health.

Researchers want to find out what people think are the most important questions that need answering about vaping, so they can prioritise the right areas for future research into the safety and effectiveness of e-cigarettes. They are also asking doctors and health professionals to take part in the survey which goes live on Monday 7thJanuary 2019.

Leading the study, Dr Abby Hunter , from the University’s Division of Epidemiology and Public Health, said: “Vaping has revolutionised the ‘quit smoking’ industry and has certainly helped millions of smokers give up cigarettes. However, because e-cigarettes are a fairly recent product, very little is known about the long-term health effects of using them. To guide our future research into this we need to identify the most important questions associated with vaping and would like the opinions of the general public as well as clinicians.

“The survey is available online and anyone can take part. You’ll be asked to indicate your smoking status (i.e. whether you have ever smoked or vaped, or have never smoked), and whether you are a healthcare professional. You will have the chance to submit as many questions as you like about electronic cigarettes.”

The survey will be open for two months, until 7thMarch 2019. Once it has closed the responses will be organised into themes and a second survey launched for people who took part to rank their top 10 priority questions for research into electronic cigarettes.

A third part of the priority setting exercise will involve a workshop with members of the public and clinicians to discuss the top 30 priority questions as defined by the second survey. The final top-10 questions will be unveiled in the spring of 2020.

The Electronic Cigarettes surveys and discussion workshop have been organised by researchers at the UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies with the help of the James Lind Alliance (JLA) who are experts in Priority Setting Partnerships (PSPs).

The full link to the survey is: nottingham.onlinesur­


1West R, Bear E, Brown J. (2016). Trends in electronic cigarette use in England. University College London, Smoking Toolkit Study, 21.

2Action on Smoking and Health (ASH). “Use of electronic cigarettes (vapourisers) among adults in Great Britain”. 2017.

3McNeil A, Brose LS, Calder R, Bauld L & Robson D (2018). Evidence review of e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products 2018. A report commissioned by Public Health England. London: Public Health England.