As part of the work of the In Silico Science project, dr. Renee O’Leary has recently published the protocol for an umbrella review to provide the widest overview of the clinical evidence on ENDS and cigarette smoking abstinence to an audience of researchers and clinicians.

The use of ENDS and their contribution to cessation pathways, is still the subject of controversy and criticism. In the past two years a dozen or more systematic reviews on ENDS and cigarette smoking cessation have been published that present differing conclusions and recommendations on their use.

To date, conducting another systematic review would not benefit the scientific landscape, at least until further studies become available.

We decided to provide the widest overview of clinical evidence on smoking submission and quit rates and abstinance rates of e-cigarettes to researchers and clinicians” explain dr. Renèe O’Leary, author of the protocol “To obtain the best result in terms of data and quit rates, we decided to conduct an umbrella review, that systematically searches and retrieves systematic reviews, critically appraises them, and synthesizes their results. The expected outcomes are: quit rates, the percentage of participants who abstained from smoking or quit smoking and  the quit rate with e-cigarette use compared to other cessation treatments”.

The protocol developed has 20 steps and 54 sub-steps: researchers are going to scout several database to identify adults who formerly smoked who use e-cigarettes or clinical trial participants who smoked cigarettes.

Secondary searches will be reference checking, citation chasing, and consultations with topic experts. Two reviewers will perform a title and abstract exclusion followed by a full paper inclusion process. Data extraction will be conducted by one reviewer and completely checked by a second reviewer.

Each systematic review will be assessed by two reviewers for methodological quality and for reporting bias. Unreported discrepancies between the protocol and the published review will be identified. 

This umbrella review will provide a large database of the use of ends for smoking cessation and compared data collected on quit and abstinence rates to those referring to existing smoking cessation treatments.

Cite: O’Leary R, Polosa R. e-Cigarette Use and the Cessation of Tobacco Cigarette Smoking: Protocol for an Umbrella Review. JMIR Res Protoc. 2023 Aug 10;12:e47711. doi: 10.2196/47711. PMID: 37561572; PMCID: PMC10450527.