Easyway or the highway?

Just out today is Tobacco Free Research Institute of Ireland’s new research paper. Allen Carr’s Easyway to Stop Smoking – A randomised clinical trial.

Article as it appears in BMJ Journal Tobacco control.

A couple of quick observations. First, if this is science then I’m a Duck. They compared a €600 seminar versus a free email and text alert system. Do I need to point out the motivational effect of having sunk €600 in an attempt to quit versus a free phone app?

The other thing the trial showed was that education level was significant, the higher the education level the better the quit rate. In lower educated participants the difference between AC and Quit.ie was not statistically significant.  I wonder if this is because higher education correlates with lower smoking rates anyway and further motivates quitting when you’re the last man or woman standing in the rain having a smoke?

AC participants were instructed not to use any NRT or other medical intervention,, so using NRT in conjunction was only accounted for in the quit.ie group.  It was underused within the program by trial participants, which might account for some of the difference.

Of course, TFRII couldn’t just let this go without throwing shade at vaping. Even though no participants used e-cigs in the trial, they noted that having used e-cigs prior to joining the trial depressed quit rates in both legs. The big piece of the data missing is how long the participants had been smokers. They all smoked 5 or more cigarettes daily but as far as we know that could have been for the last 6 months, 6 years or 30 years. A fairly pertinent piece of information I would have thought. However, TFRII assumed age and years smoking was correlated so no point even asking. It’s one more question on a sheet of what I presume was 30 to 50 questions, it’s pertinence makes me wonder if it might have been worthwhile asking just for completeness.

Anyway, this is the usual level of poor work you get from tobacco control. At this stage, I’m surprised I’m still surprised by omissions like this.

The interesting thing is the conclusion;

The present RCT is positive and should encourage further trials and increase the likelihood that AC will take its place as a valid, effective and needed addition to available smoking cessation interventions.

Yeah so not being a licensed medicine having undergone rigorous trials isn’t a barrier for AC ? Probably because no pharmacopeia is involved which is fair enough, a sort of sure what harm can it do approach to our tax spending.

However, e-cigs because a pharmacopeia is involved, even if it’s a pharmacopeia already being indulged in daily by the user isn’t suitable because……?

No, I don’t get it either.

 

 

 

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