Ever since e-cigarettes became mainstream in 2012, there has been a subliminal stream of anti-vaping scare, and in the past 12 months this stream has turned into a flood! We wanted to expose some of the most productive vape-related scrap science that has been making headlines recently.
e-cigarettes can be compared to Marmite. for every person who loves them, there's someone else who hates them. if someone likes Marmite, they probably won't be bombarded with stories about how their delicious toast will kill them. besides, no one is trying to ban Marmite because of their aversion to the tasty spread. admittedly, Marmite isn't 100%ig good for you (what is?), but it's much better for you than, say, Nutella.
OK, I'll stop with the Marmite metaphor - you get my point. as Vapers, we constantly hear horror stories about the approach we've taken to stay away from cigarettes. a few years ago, the myths started out quite discreetly. popcorn lungs, formaldehyde in e-liquid, exploding vape batteries, etc. We'll have exposed these myths and more in 2018. in fact, these ridiculous claims have been refuted so many times that vape antagonists have been forced to raise their game.
Vaping is now under attack by the scrap science
So junk science came next; studies that support their bias are funded by anti-vaping groups and disseminated by anti-vaping media. The headlines became more and more inflammatory and disturbing. The research almost always comes from America and focuses on four key demands:
Vaping is as dangerous as smoking
E-cigarettes do not help in quitting smoking
The market of the vaping industry for children
Vaping is an introduction for non-smokers to the consumption of tobacco products
We wanted to explore some of the absurd junk science that was broadcast to support these claims, so let's first take a look at what junk science actually is.
What is scrap science?
The term "junk science" is used to describe scientific data, research, or analysis that turns out to be flawed or even fraudulent.
Instead of a science that has been robustly supported and confirmed by several peer-reviewed studies, junk science is often coloured by the distortion of the preferred outcome.
When scientific research is started with a view to the results that support the desired conclusion, that is junk science, and in many cases that have to do with vaping, researchers seem to start with the result they want to see and work backwards from there.
If your research is funded by a company or political body that wants to convince people that vaping is as dangerous as smoking, you will find a way to confirm this conclusion.
Vaping is as dangerous as smoking
Every day we are fed the lie that vaping is just as dangerous as smoking, if not more so. Scary headlines scream for the results of the latest bland study. Experts in the field of tobacco harm reduction now spend most of their time refuting erroneous research. Refuting the fire hose of fake messages has become pretty much a full-time job for them.
Take, for example, the research that supposedly proved that vapers were twice as likely to cause heart attacks, which was quickly nullified after it was discovered that their subjects' heart attacks had occurred up to a decade before the vapers! However, the headline that vaping causes heart attacks was in the public eye.
Or what about the mice that got lung cancer - did you hear that? The headline read, "E-cigarettes definitely linked to cancer." A rebuttal scorning the findings was quickly sent to the Science Media Center. A cursory look at how the study was conducted would set alarm bells ringing; however, most people don't get past the headline, so the damage is done.
Another headline reads, "Vaping nearly killed me, says British teenager". When you dig into the details, you find that the pneumonia the teen suffered from was likely caused by an allergic reaction to an ingredient in the vapor. Compared to the number of vaping sessions around the world, cases of allergy-triggered illness are extremely rare. It's a shame, of course, that the boy suffered such an extreme reaction; but why did it make the news? We don't get headlines saying "bee sting nearly killed me", so why do we get them for vaping?
Then, of course, we've just come off the back of months of "vaping crisis" headlines about a mysterious lung disease in America. It was found to be caused by an ingredient that should not be used in e-liquid - namely vitamin E acetate. The vitamin E was used to dilute THC black market vape cartridges. We reported on the story in detail in September, when the disease was first identified. Since then, experts from around the world have spoken out against vaping doom dealers. If you're still not convinced, ask yourself a question. Why was the "epidemic" confined to America when people around the world are vaping nicotine in liquid form?
E-cigarettes do not help people to stop smoking
If you're reading this as a vaper, you would have been a smoker at one time (or maybe you're a dual user at the moment). If you're anything like me as a smoker, you would have made several attempts to quit. For me, quitting was actually the easy part - it was quitting staying that was the problem.
my numerous attempts to quit cold turkey lasted less than a week on average. nicotine gum and nicotine patches helped against the worst cravings, but didn't solve the question of what to do with my hands. hypnotherapy was quite successful, but after about 6 months i still went back to cigarettes. on the other hand, vaping just worked - and immediately! i've been completely smoke-free for almost 7 years now. in fact, the vast majority of clients i talk to say that vaping is the only thing that has worked for them in the long run.
So imagine my surprise when I hear from American researchers that vaping is not an effective way to quit smoking.
California 'researchers' are trying to convince us that vaping makes it harder to quit smoking. However, if you look at the methodology of the actual 'study', it is deeply flawed. The only people included in the study were current smokers who had previously used e-cigarettes; that is, they specifically excluded people who had successfully quit using e-cigarettes.
Peter Hajek, director of the Tobacco Dependence Research Unit at Queen Mary University of London, called the study "grossly misleading." In a statement posted on the Science Media Centre website, he said the study was grossly misleading,
"The studies that are presented as showing that vaping doesn't help people quit smoking only recruited people who were currently smoking and asked them if they had used e-cigarettes in the past. This means that people who used e-cigarettes and quit smoking were excluded. The same approach would show that proven smoking cessation medications do not help or even undermine quitting."
As smokers, we chose Vaping because it has proven to be our best way to quit smoking successfully. there are now more than a million ex-smokers in the UK who use or have used e-cigarettes. is this a coincidence? do these numbers lead anyone to conclude that Vaping is not an effective way to quit smoking?
I leave the final word on this point to Rosanna O' Connor, director of tobacco, alcohol and drugs at Public Health England:
"Evidence from practice in England shows that two out of three smokers who combined e-cigarettes with additional expert support from a local smoking cessation service successfully quit smoking, and although dual use is a complex issue, many vapers report using an e-cigarette to cut down and eventually quit. Smokers