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Researchers Accused Of Cooking The Books
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Researchers Accused Of Cooking The Books

For anyone new to the arena of vaping, the concept of scientists skewing their data to fit pre-conceived notions may sound suspicious, but for those who have been around for a while, researchers cooking the books is as common as the misleading studies they churn out against the industry.

Toxic E-Cigarette Study

An article released on the Daily Caller website earlier this week stated that a group of researchers may have cooked the books to make vapor exhaled from e-cigarettes appear more toxic than they actually are.  The research in question, published in the Current Environmental Health Reports states that “secondhand exposure” to vapor is harmful because it contains particulate matter which can pose a risk to the respiratory system.  Shortly after its release, the report was held up by anti-smoking advocates, doctors, and the American Vaping Association – all of whom claimed the findings were totally bogus.

For anyone reading the conclusion, the study stated:

Both the literature review and the observational study indicate that e-cigarettes used under real-conditions emit toxicants, including PM2.5. Further research is needed to characterize the chemicals emitted by different types of e-cigarettes and to assess secondhand exposure to e-cigarette aerosol using biological markers.

In the short story results category we saw:

The review identified eight previous investigations on the composition of aerosols from e-cigarettes originated by human vaping and indicated that emissions from e-cigarettes can contain potential toxic compounds such as nicotine, carbonyls, metals, and organic volatile compounds, besides particulate matter.  In the observational study, the PM2.5 median concentration was 9.88 μg/m3 in the e-cigarette user home and 9.53 and 9.36 μg/m3 in the smoke-free homes, with PM2.5peaks concurrent with the e-cigarette puffs.

As a reader, I can see with my own eyes that the particulates in the e-cigarette users home are slightly higher, but the difference between the “non smokers” houses are roughly the same as the difference between the higher testing house and that of the vaper.  The problem with the study begins, not because of these results, but because of the omission of the fourth test from this first page of findings.

The observational study found that while the results for these three houses were pretty much the same, the fourth home, the one they omitted from the conclusion, had levels of PM 2.5 60 times greater than homes with or without vaping.  The house that contained tobacco smoke was exponentially more dangerous, but they felt it unnecessary to bring that point to light.  The results, when you actually dig into the report, showed that the home with vaping contained 9.88 micro-grams per cubic meter of air, the two homes with no vaping or smoking measured at 9.36 and 9.53 respectively and the house with tobacco smoke tested at 572.52 micro-grams per cubic meter of air.

The Scathing Response

Dr. Michael Siegel, Professor at the Boston University School of Public Health, made his feelings toward the report abundantly clear on THE REST OF THE STORY:


“The truth is that exposure to the e-cigarette aerosol is no more ‘toxic’ than baseline exposure in a completely smoke free, vape free home. In other words, in terms of fine particulate matter exposure, secondhand vaping appears to represent no risk.”

Dr. Siegel added:

“The actual finding of the study is that the air in homes where vaping is taking place is no more dangerous than that in homes with no smoking or vaping, at least in terms of fine particulate matter exposure.

However, instead of reporting this actual finding, the article concludes that exposure to exhaled e-cigarette aerosol is toxic because it contains fine particulate matter….

…But the average reader would not come to this actual conclusion because the paper hides it.  It has the appearance that because the results didn’t come out the way the authors wanted it to, they misreported the conclusion to conform with what was apparently their predetermined conclusions against e-cigarettes.

This is a fine example of severe bias by anti-tobacco researchers in the reporting of scientific results about e-cigarettes. Sadly, it is just one of many examples we have seen in recent years.

The rest of the story is that many anti-tobacco researchers, advocates, and groups have a strong bias against e-cigarettes, and this bias is being reflected in their misrepresentation of the evidence from scientific studies of these products.

Not only cant the public trust information they are hearing about e-cigarettes from anti-smoking and health groups, they cannot even trust the information being reported in the scientific literature itself!”

Dr. Konstantinos Farsalinos, a cardiologist and researcher at Onassis Cardiac Surgery Center in Athens, wrote in agreement with Dr. Siegel on ECIGARETTE-RESEARCH.ORG, stating:

“It seems that the conclusion is contrary to the findings of their small observational study. Indeed, the published figure which displays the PM2.5 concentration in homes clearly showed that the levels in the vaper’s and the non-smoker’s home are virtually indistinguishable, besides some very small peaks at the time of taking e-cigarette puffs. At the same time, levels of PM2.5 in the smoker’s home were about 60 times higher…

…The Spanish study is a classical and obvious example of misinterpretation of study findings. Their conclusion should be that PM2.5 levels in a home of a vaper are hardly distinguishable from a home of a non-smoker, and significantly lower from the levels in a smoker’s home. Moreover, they once again ignore that the composition of the PM is of vital importance in determining any risk. Particles of combustion products like emitted from tobacco cigarettes and associated with environmental pollution are very different to the micro-droplets of PG, VG, water and nicotine that compose the e-cigarette emissions.”

Our Thoughts

If a research team has taken the time to do the study, we would think that in the interest of science, they would release the whole thing.  Unfortunately, we live in a world were preconceived notions seem to trump scientific fact.  It is a sad day when we have to be more interested in the vested interests of those who are paying for studies to be carried  out, than the results that they yield.  As it turns out, this report works out very much in favor of those who state that e-cigarettes are much less harmful than combustible tobacco, especially for those in a second-hand environment.  Unfortunately, if you had just read the conclusion, you would never know.

As always, enjoy your vaporizer, and vape safe!

About the author

Daniel Hall

Avid Vaper, advocate and cloud chaser. Writer for 3 vaping websites and broadcaster/presenter as Vapin Demon on Coast 2 Coast Vapers.
Originally from Manchester, England, I got bored one day and moved to the USA.
Vaping saved my life and my aim is to save as many others as I can.

1 Comment

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  • “For anyone new to the arena of vaping, the concept of scientists skewing their data to fit pre-conceived notions may sound suspicious,”

    This isn’t unique to vaping unfortunately. I research and review many studies in the health and fitness field and you always have to cautious about the study results; who performed the study, who paid for the study, and is the abstract in line with the actual results (many people only report on the abstract).

    I think the majority of research studies are truthful, but biased and misleading reports slip in, especially when funded by large corporations and sadly sometimes the government.



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