New research examines the sources of evidence in e-cigarette policy recommendations

Published 5th August 2021

The evidence which drives public health policy on e-cigarettes often has potentially worrying conflicts of interest with the pharmaceutical, e-cigarette and tobacco industries, a new study suggests.

The team at the MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit investigated the sources of evidence in relation to the types of evidence used by public health bodies across four diverse jurisdictions when making e-cigarette policy recommendations.

They examined author conflicts of interest and study funding statements within these sources, to deepen our understanding of the diffusion of industry funded and industry-supported evidence in public health recommendation documents.

The results highlight that there is a need to better understand the process used by different public health bodies when creating recommendations and how recommendation committees handle evidence where vested interests exist.

Lead author Marissa Smith said: "Our research has shown that the evidence which drives public health policy on e-cigarettes often has potentially worrying conflicts of interest with the pharmaceutical, e-cigarette and tobacco industries. These conflicts of interest have the potential to undermine trust in science and could lead to policy being influenced by commercial interests, rather than the best scientific evidence.”

Examining the sources of evidence in e-cigarette policy recommendations: A citation network analysis of international public health recommendations was published in Plos One. 


First published: 5 August 2021

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