One component of a systematic review is the quality assessment of studies to determine their inclusion or exclusion. Studies on e-cigarettes are conducted in the contentious atmosphere surrounding tobacco harm reduction, which has resulted at times in research bias. Therefore, the quality assessment of studies on e-cigarettes requires more scrutiny than what is provided by generic tools on study design. This topic-specific quality assessment must examine the tests, measurements, and analysis methods used for their adherence to research standards. Furthermore, the studies need to be carefully screened for bias. Because standard quality assessment tools do not provide this topic-specific guidance, we propose to develop quality assessment tools specifically for reviews on e-cigarettes, and for our living systematic reviews on e-cigarettes for tobacco harm reduction.
Competing Interest Statement
The authors have declared no competing interest.
The protocol was produced with the help of a grant from the Foundation for a Smoke Free World, Inc. The contents, selection and presentation of facts, as well as any opinions expressed in the protocol are the sole responsibility of the authors and under no circumstances shall be regarded as reflecting the positions of the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World, Inc. The Grantor had no role in the selection of the research topic, study design, or the writing of the protocol or the living systematic review project.
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