Several researchers who are apparently determined to show that electronic cigarettes are severe health hazards are publicly claiming that using electronic cigarettes is more hazardous than smoking, a conclusion which was widely disseminated through the media.
According to an article in this month's issue of NYU News, researchers at the NYU College of Dentistry have concluded that vaping is more hazardous than cigarette smoking.
According to the article: "Each nicotine cartridge in an e-cig can provide 200 to 400 puffs,
equivalent to two to three packs of cigarettes. “Due to the frequency of
puffing, depth of inhalation, and length of vaping,” says Li, “e-cig
users may actually absorb higher concentrations of nicotine and other
toxins than conventional tobacco smokers.”"
This conclusion has been widely disseminated through the media. For example, the headline of a Daily Mail article reads: "'E-cigarette Smokers Inhale MORE Nicotine and Toxins than Regular Smokers': Study Finds 'Users are Unknowingly Inhaling' a Host of Dangerous Chemicals."
According to that article: "People who smoke e-cigarettes may inhale higher concentrations of nicotine and of other toxins,say U.S researchers. ... Researchers at New York University found
that due to the ‘frequency of puffing’ and ‘depth of inhalation’
e-cigarette smokers absorb higher levels of harmful chemicals than those
who smoke traditional cigarettes. ... ‘Due to the frequency of puffing, depth
of inhalation, and length of vaping,’ says Dr Xin Li, ‘e-cig users may
actually absorb higher concentrations of nicotine and other toxins than
conventional tobacco smokers.’"
The headline of an article in the University Herald reads: " E-Cigs Pose Greater Health Risk than Conventional Cigarettes, Study."
According to this article: "E-cigarette
smokers should now think twice before taking a puff as they are more
likely to inhale nicotine and toxins than the conventional cigarette
smokers, according to a New York University study. Researchers said that due to the 'frequency of puffing' and 'depth of
inhalation' e-cigarette smokers absorb higher levels of dangerous
chemicals than those who smoke traditional cigarettes. Nicotine and
other chemicals found in e-cigarettes are believed to be carcinogenic."
The headline of a New York Post article on Saturday read: "E-cigs May Deliver More Toxins Than Smoke, Researchers Say."
According to this article: "E-cigarette users may be getting higher concentrations of toxins than
regular smokers because they inhale deeper and more frequently when
they puff, NYU researchers say. Although they are often touted as a safer alternative, e-cigs,
introduced in the States in 2007, haven’t been in use long enough to
determine their health effects, said Dr. Deepak Saxena, of NYU’s College
The Rest of the Story
It just gets worse and worse. For the past few weeks, I have revealed that many anti-smoking groups and researchers have publicly claimed that cigarette smoking may be no more hazardous than vaping. Those fallacious statements now seem benign, compared to the assertion being made by these NYU researchers.
They are not claiming that smoking is equivalent to vaping in terms of health effects. Instead, they are arguing that smoking is less harmful than vaping!
These researchers are actually telling the public that electronic cigarettes deliver higher concentrations of toxins to users than tobacco cigarettes deliver to smokers.
Can you imagine if a tobacco company made the same claim? The anti-smoking groups would condemn such a statement and go after the company. But no anti-smoking group will criticize these researchers because dissent is simply not allowed to be expressed in this movement.
The claim that Drs. Lin and Saxena are making is demonstrably false. The truth is exactly the opposite: electronic cigarettes deliver levels of toxins that are orders of magnitude lower than tobacco cigarettes. Most of the toxins in tobacco cigarettes are not present at all in electronic cigarettes. The few that are present have been shown to be present at much lower levels. For example, tobacco-specific nitrosamines, a major carcinogen in tobacco smoke, are present at up to 1,400 times lower a concentration in electronic cigarette vapor as in tobacco smoke.
The newspaper reporters appear to all be under the impression that Lin and Saxena's claim is based on a new study, presumably one that they conducted. However, I cannot find any such study. Nor is there any other published or publicly available study that has ever shown that the level of toxins in cigarette smoke is less than the level of toxins in electronic cigarettes.
In other words, it appears that these researchers are just making this up!
The NYU News article does indicate that Drs. Lin and Saxena will conduct a study in the future to assess the effects of vaping on DNA in cells in the oral cavity:
"Since the initial interaction of nicotine from e-cigs with the human
body occurs first in the oral cavity, Saxena and Li will collect saliva
and oral mucosa from College of Dentistry patients who are e-cig users
to determine the relative abundance of oral bacteria and changes in DNA
in these patients in order to compare them with the effects found among
conventional cigarette smokers."
Unless these researchers are also fortune-tellers, they cannot possibly know what their study will find before actually conducting it. But apparently, this is not stopping them from drawing a definitive conclusion about the relative health effects of smoking compared to vaping. What is the point of conducting this research if the conclusion has already been drawn and disseminated to the public? Why bother spending the money? And how can NYU justify using human subjects for a research study that is not necessary, since they already "know" that smoking is less hazardous than vaping due to the lower levels of toxins?
Moreover, the NYU News article itself acknowledges that the conclusion of the future research has already been reached, since it states that this study will "determine the relative abundance of oral bacteria and DNA in these patients." So we already know that there will be a relative abundance of oral bacteria and DNA in these patients. What's the point of doing the study?
Sadly, this is just turning into a public health scientific disaster. And it gets worse every day. Before we're through, we are going to destroy our credibility. And it's not clear whether that credibility can be restored. As we've seen with other social movements, such as the animal rights movement and even the environmental and climate movements, once credibility is destroyed, it is very difficult to restore.
Finally, it is important to point out how damaging this misrepresentation of the science is to the public's health. It completely undermines decades of public health efforts to educate the public about the hazards of smoking. If smoking is safer than using a non-combusted product that contains no tobacco and has not been shown to cause any diseases, then the public may get the impression that smoking simply isn't as hazardous as previously believed.
No cigarette company would dare to make such a statement. But apparently, it is perfectly acceptable for anti-tobacco researchers to make precisely such a claim.