A tobacco researcher from the University of Southern California last week told the public that smoking may not be any more hazardous than using an electronic cigarette, which involves no tobacco and no combustion, and which has been found to have carcinogen levels and free radical levels that are orders of magnitude lower than in real cigarette smoke.
According to an article by Reuters Health:
10 percent of 11th and 12th graders are using e-cigarettes, and other
alternative tobacco products are increasingly popular, according to a
new study. ... “From
this analysis we can say that there are two groups of youth that are
concerning: those who are likely using e-cigs and hookah concurrently
and those youth who are likely using three or more products,” said lead
author Tamika D. Gilreath of the University of Southern California in
Los Angeles. ... “Are
these products safer?” Gilreath said. “In my opinion, long-term studies
are needed before the safety question can be answered definitively.”"
The Rest of the Story
The rest of the story is that despite an abundance of current evidence that electronic cigarettes are safer than real tobacco cigarettes, including evidence that they contain levels of carcinogens and free radicals that are orders of magnitude lower than in cigarettes, that they contain no tobacco and involve no combustion, that they are far less toxic in cytotoxicity assays, and that they improve respiratory health, both subjectively and objectively, in smokers who switch to them, this tobacco researcher is telling the public that it is too early to say that smoking is any more dangerous than vaping.
Even the cigarette companies, which have everything to gain from this researcher's conclusion that smoking may be no more harmful than vaping, have clearly rejected such a conclusion, and against their interests in selling more cigarettes, have admitted that cigarettes are far more dangerous to health than e-cigarettes.
It is ironic that the most vocal and vehement undermining of the public's appreciation of the severe hazards of smoking is coming not from Big Tobacco, but from a number of anti-tobacco researchers and groups which continue to question whether smoking is any more dangerous than inhaling aerosol from a heated solution that contains no tobacco - only propylene glycol, glycerin, nicotine, and perhaps a few flavorings.
If Big Tobacco ever made such an assertion, we would take them to court within minutes, accusing them of conspiracy to commit fraud in violation of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. But the same equally fallacious statement coming out of anti-tobacco groups is apparently not a problem.