Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Another Electronic Cigarette Opponent Fabricates the Science to Deter E-Cigarette Use

No sooner did I express my hope yesterday that "moving forward, tobacco control advocates and scientists will be able to engage in a discussion of this issue that is based on science, rather than ideology" then yet another electronic cigarette opponent - again a physician - fabricated information to deter smokers from using these products.

According to an article on the KJRH (Tulsa, OK) news site, a physician at the Palm Beach Cancer Institute was quoted as saying that electronic cigarettes may actually be more dangerous than real cigarettes and that the inhaled nicotine doses may be more than with real cigarettes.

According to the article, entitled "Doctors caution users of e-cigarettes, say vaping is worse than smoking the real thing":

"Touted as a safer alternative to traditional smoking, electronic cigarettes are supposed to give smokers their nicotine fix without the cancer-causing side effects of tobacco. But some have serious concerns that the battery-operated vaping devices may actually pose more dangers to users. ... Dr. Robert Greene treats lung cancer patients at the Palm Beach Cancer Institute and said the product is potentially a health hazard. “There really is no information about whether they're safe or not, and that's part of the problem," said Greene. He says with no real data on e-cigarettes, the three-year-old tobacco alternative may actually be more harmful that traditional cigarettes. "The doses of nicotine that you get could conceivably be higher than what you would get in a typical cigarette," said Greene."

The Rest of the Story

It is a fabrication of the scientific evidence to suggest that electronic cigarettes deliver higher doses of nicotine than real cigarettes. There have been multiple studies which all agree that electronic cigarettes deliver much lower levels of nicotine than real cigarettes. You simply cannot improve upon real cigarettes as a nicotine delivery device.

It is also a fabrication to suggest that electronic cigarette use is more hazardous than tobacco cigarettes. The physician is not directly quoted with this statement, but the reporter certainly seems to have gained the impression that this was the doctor's assertion.

Thus, it appears that this physician is actually stating is that regular cigarettes are probably no more harmful than electronic ones. Such an assertion is beyond belief. It is completely inconsistent with everything we know about toxicology and pathology and there is no scientific basis for such a statement. It conflicts directly with the available scientific evidence, which documents that the levels of hazardous components in electronic cigarettes are much lower than in traditional cigarettes. By what law of chemistry or medicine does this physician assert that the presence of much higher levels of many more toxins and carcinogens fail to make cigarettes more hazardous than these electronic devices?

I believe that this conclusion is not only unsupported by scientific evidence or common sense, but it is also irresponsible. Because it is telling physicians to inform their patients of something which is almost certainly untrue: that smoking cigarettes is no more hazardous than inhaling vaporized nicotine from a tobacco-free device that delivers primarily nicotine and propylene glycol and which for at least some major brands have been found not to contain any detectable levels of tested carcinogens.

Sadly, I have to repeat what I stated the other day: "This is yet another example of the depths to which electronic cigarette opponents are sinking to try to sink the electronic cigarette ship. Apparently, they realize themselves that they have such a weak case that they need to make up facts in order to make their case."

No comments: