Should academic journals publish e-cigarette research linked to tobacco companies?

Addiction. 2016 Aug;111(8):1328-32. doi: 10.1111/add.13067. Epub 2015 Sep 28.


Context: Electronic cigarettes are currently polarizing professional opinion. Some public health experts regard them as an effective smoking cessation aid and a vital means of reducing active and passive smoking, while others regard them as another attempt by the tobacco industry to create new customers and addicts. These different attitudes unsurprisingly yield different conclusions regarding both the appropriate regulation of e-cigarettes and the ethical status of research funded by, or conducted in, cooperation with the tobacco industry.

Aim: This paper examines whether e-cigarette research linked to the tobacco industry should be regarded as an exception to the rule that tobacco industry research is so tainted by conflicts of interest that journals should refuse to publish them, or at the very least treat them as a special case for scrutiny.

Results: Despite the fact that e-cigarettes can be used for smoking cessation, most of the conflicts of interest that apply to other tobacco research also apply to e-cigarette research linked to that industry.

Conclusion: Journals that currently refuse to publish findings from studies linked to tobacco companies have no reason to make an exception in the case of e-cigarettes.

Keywords: Ban on industry-funded research; conflicts of interest; e-cigarettes; research integrity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biomedical Research
  • Conflict of Interest*
  • Editorial Policies*
  • Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems*
  • Humans
  • Periodicals as Topic*
  • Publishing
  • Research Support as Topic
  • Smoking Cessation*
  • Tobacco Industry*