Inaccurate or junk scientific studies are being thrown around right now as if the findings will never be questioned. I recently read an article titled “18 E-Cig Studies Exposed As Junk Science” from the Ashtray Blog on ecigarettedirect.co.uk and it truly underlines a problem I have been talking about for months. While they have taken an in-depth look at all of these studies, we have skimmed a couple of the biggest misconceptions created against vaping below. Junk science has the potential to kill people, as it has been determined that vaping is the enemy of the people. Many of these studies are published and later retracted due to the tireless efforts of certain individuals who are working on behalf of the vaping community, but most of the time the damage has already been done.
Where Is The Problem
We live in an age where the general public rarely read beyond a headline, for example they may read that e-liquid produces formaldehyde in an online source and without checking a single fact they share the information with 100,000 other people who then also believe that e-liquid produces formaldehyde. If they had actually read the article they were sharing at the time and understood it, they would have seen that the tests performed were unrealistic under real world conditions and outside of the laboratory the effects shown would never happen. The true problem of junk science is that is solidifies peoples understandings of certain topics, in our case the vaping industry, and if the information they received to begin with was inaccurate there is no way than can correctly understand a subject. Imagine that a grade school teacher suddenly started telling children that boiling water is unsafe because it creates dangerous gasses that can explode. He provides them with no information other than his statement as fact. His theory is plausible, but under real world conditions the set of circumstances required for his theory to become fact are very few and far between. Unfortunately, from this point forward, the children have formed the opinion that boiling water is dangerous because they trusted his thesis without question. No matter how hard their parents or anyone else tries to change this opinion the fact remains, that in their minds, there will always be the possibility of an explosion caused by boiling water. If a trusted source provides bad information, no matter how much evidence to the contrary is presented most people will stick with the initial conclusion.
Lets Look At Some Of The Studies
Endothelial disruptive pro-inflammatory effects of nicotine and e-cigarette vapor exposures
This study exposed the lung cells of both mice and humans to vapor and cigarette smoke, both with and without nicotine.
Read the study here
The study found that vapor affected the cells that lined the lungs and caused inflammation. The results were widely reported as “E-Cigarette Vapor ( even when nicotine free ) found to damage lung cells.”
Where They went Wrong
Dr. Konstatinos Farsalinos makes the point that the amount of nicotine used in the testing procedure was in fact much higher than would ever be found in the blood of a smoker. The truth of the matter is, if the results were from a live human smoker, the human would be far from live. His finding suggests that the paper may have been published purely to garner publicity for the authors as the press release and supposed findings made them look like a joke.
His full analysis
Exposure to electronic cigarettes impairs pulmonary anti-bacterial and anti-viral defenses in a mouse model
Researchers hate mice. In this study they exposed the mice to the vapor from E-cigarettes for 2 weeks. Researchers then looked at the free radical damage to the lungs and their ability to clear infections. This is the study that created all the stories of vaping causing pneumonia, which has been around the entire internet at least a million times.
Read the study here
While initially this long-winded and scary sounding study appears to give credence to the fact that e-cigs may cause lung damage, we have to remember a couple of things. Firstly mice are not people, and these poor mice were repeatedly poisoned with ridiculously high levels of nicotine and it is surprising that any of them survived the test long enough to be infected with a disease and then killed. The test states that is looking at whether e-cigs are a healthier alternative to traditional tobacco, but it has no findings on mice exposed to tobacco smoke. While the study does show that e-cigarettes are not safe at human levels to mice it fails to meet any of the criteria it set out to prove.
Dr. Michael Siegel: New study reports adverse effects of e-cigarette aerosol on mouse respiratory epithelial cells
Public Health England: An evidence update (page 78)
Dr. Konstantinos Farsalinos: A new study in mice provides no information for smokers but verifies e-cigarettes are less harmful
Hidden formaldehyde in e-cigarette aerosols
This study from the New England Journal Of Medicine looked at formaldehyde hemiacetyls (or releasing agents) found in the vapor produced by e-cigarettes. The devices were tested at both low and high voltage. This is the reason we keep hearing about getting cancer from vaping folks.
Read the full study here if you must
When used at low voltage the formaldehyde hemiacetyls were not detected, but at high voltages they were. Based on the high voltage results, the authors calculated that the risk of cancer from vaping was 5 to 15 times higher than from smoking cigarettes. This study has repeated been cited in articles stating that vaping is 10 times more likely to cause cancer and the plethora of other scare stories we see weekly.
The problems with the test
The biggest problem with the test is that as a human being, I would not be physically able to replicate the test results in my own living room. To get the formaldehyde chucking, you would have to be dry hitting the heck out of your mod. The premise of these results have been quashed since its release but it continues to linger. It’s basically saying that burning your toast in the morning is going to give you cancer, just because there are carcinogens on the outside. If you eat cremated toast, that is entirely your own decision, but I am yet to meet a vaper who can stomach a single dry hit, let alone keep hitting it for 15 minutes after the death of their coil. During normal vaping conditions there were no traces of formaldehyde, but because it has been put out in the ether, I hear twice every day how vaping will give me cancer.
Public Health England: An evidence update (page 76)
Dr. Konstantinos Farsalinos: The deception of measuring formaldehyde in e-cigarette aerosol: the difference between laboratory measurements and true exposure
These are just a couple of the studies that have been thrown around the internet, and a large part of the reason that vapers are having to fight daily to keep what they consider a life changing technology alive. As I stated at the top of the post, there is an entire list of 18 studies, complete with rebuttals that can be found here. While the people who write these studies may be coming at the subject from the outside looking in, they are invariably missing the big picture. If you look at studies regarding normal tissue compared to vaping, you have already missed the point as the vast majority of vapers are using this technology as a less hazardous replacement to combustible tobacco. The assertions made under invalid testing conditions are affecting the decisions of the general public and politicians alike. This junk science, even though it has been disproven has been thrown up just in the last week on a City Of Chicago website, looking to keep people away from vaping as it is dangerous. Many current smokers will not vape because of the horror stories they have heard, entirely based on this junk. How can I make the assertion that junk science kills people: every smoker who is dissuaded by stories stemming from these “scientifically proven” papers is at further risk of smoking related disease.