With support from The Union, Mexico’s National Institute of Health conducted a systematic literature review of nearly one thousand articles published between 2017 and 2020. Focused on how new products impact vast issues—conflict of interest, cessation, recruitment, physical harm, dual-use, flavorings, toxic components, nicotine, marijuana use, alcohol consumption, and advertising—the review, entitled “ENDS Repository” and now available on the Mexican government’s official website, provides a valuable tool for policymakers, who can easily search how electronic nicotine delivery systems impact other fields.
“This is a really comprehensive, important piece of work,” said Gan Quan, Director of The Union’s Tobacco Control department. “Researchers received extensive training so they could disaggregate the material and organize it across some of the most important areas that must be considered in the ongoing debate on novel products.”
The review strengthens previous research demonstrating that the tobacco industry has a vested interest in novel product promotion. More specifically, “ENDS Repository” found that when literature was sponsored by the industry, it was 21 times more likely to view ENDS favorably. It also supports other research documenting how youth and young adult vaping increases the probability of later smoking combustible tobacco. The majority of the articles do not support ENDS as an effective cessation device.
“The vaping industry would have us believe a single narrative about e-cigarettes—that they are safe, proven harm reduction tools,” said lead investigator, Inti Barrientos. “The truth is far murkier, and thousands of evidence-based scientific articles elucidate this fact in this new repository, which provides a wealth of unbiased information for policy makers interested in making informed decisions about novel products.”
As The Union documents in its May 2020 position paper, “Where Bans Are Best,” novel products, including ENDS and heated tobacco products (HTPs), threaten the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. Our position, which is also supported by this new evidence base, is that low- and middle-income countries must apply the precautionary principle and ban these products before they threaten to derail tobacco control progress and hook a new generation of users.