Controversies and evidence on smoking cessation

                                                                                                             Robert WEST - Londres - Angleterre

Smoking cessation, like other areas of public health, is a complex field of investigation with a multitude of
factors that influence it, often interacting with each other in ways that are hard to predict. We do the best
we can to identify interventions that promote cessation, both at population and individual levels but we
have to recognise that there will always be uncertainty about our conclusions, and findings in one context
with one population may not generalise to other contexts and populations. This does not mean that we
cannot draw useful conclusions from evidence, but we must be especially vigilant to threats to validity of
our conclusions and always present those conclusions with an appropriate degree of caution. This presentation
will take two case studies to illustrate this: the safety and effectiveness of 1) e-cigarettes and
2) the stop-smoking medicine, varenicline. In both cases, poor quality journal articles and unwarranted
public pronouncements by researchers in the field have undermined the credibility of our field. The presentation
will conclude with consideration of how we can address this problem.