Content analysis of electronic nicotine delivery system publications in core clinical journals from 2012 to 2018

Michael Briganti, Olivia A. Wackowski, Cristine D. Delnevo, Leanne Brown, Shirin E. Hastings, Binu Singh, Michael B. Steinberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


There is no consensus if electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) should be used to reduce harm among the smoking population. Physicians, who represent a trusted source of health communication, are exposed to a range of often conflicting ENDS information and this information may be relayed to patients looking to quit smoking. Previous studies have examined ENDS content of various sources of media but there is a lack of knowledge about ENDS content in medical journals. We analyzed 421 ENDS publications printed between 2012 and 2018 from PubMed’s Core Clinical Journal list. Publications were analyzed based on publication type, journal type, study design, geographic focus, theme, terminology, outcomes, and positive/negative statements. The number of ENDS publications grew since 2012, and peaked in 2015. Across all years, negative statements about ENDS outnumbered positive statements, though this difference decreased over time. Over time, negative statements about “toxins and carcinogens” were made less frequently, while negative statements about “gateway effects” and “youth appeal” became more prevalent. UK journals had fewer negative statements relative to US journals. Only 12.6% of publications included guidance for healthcare professionals about ENDS. As published ENDS topics change over time, physicians’ communications with patients may be impacted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2201
JournalInternational journal of environmental research and public health
Issue number7
StatePublished - Apr 1 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


  • Clinical journal
  • E-cigarette
  • Electronic cigarette
  • Electronic nicotine delivery system
  • Medical journal
  • Physician
  • Publications


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