Category Archives: E-Cigarette Science

The E-Cigarette Double Standard

Since the beginning of the e-cigarette debate over their safety and effectiveness to help smokers quit the habit, there have been those on both sides making claims. On one side there are many e-cigarette companies marketing the product as a “healthier way to smoke” and that they can help users quit smoking. And although the evidence is pointing to these conclusions, it is hard to deny that these claims may be premature. On the other hand, those against electronic cigarettes tout that e-cigarettes may be as, or more, harmful than tobacco cigarettes. They claim they are full of antifreeze and that they are marketed directly to children. These misleading statements about the potential dangers of electronic cigarettes do little to help smokers the actual difference between the two recreational products.

So here are the facts as we know them today: All surveys and studies done to date show evidence that e-cigarettes are at least as effective as NRTs in helping people quit smoking. However no one has completed the required clinical trials for the FDA to be able to make this claim. And no one likely will, since the e-cigarette has been deemed a tobacco product in the United States by the courts, rather than a NRT. As for the anti-freeze claim, the FDA did find trace levels of diethylene glycol in one companies e-cigarettes a few years ago. It was not found in any other companies products and wasn’t found in all samples. Yes, regulations to ensure only food grade ingredients are used are important, but to claim all e-cigarette users are inhaling toxins is absurd.

nicotine gumThe Guardian recently published an article entitled “Watch out, e-cigarette smokers – you’re inhaling the unknown“. And in the article the author, Tom Riddington, states.

With a little research, it is clear that we do not know the risks of using e-cigarettes long-term, and the potential for harm is significant. Until the same regulations as other nicotine replacements are imposed, e-cigarettes should be considered a snake-oil gimmick that could get a new generation hooked on nicotine before their first smoke.

This is where the double standard comes in. When a Nicotine Replacement Therapy product is introduced, the FDA looks at what is in it and whether or not it is effective in helping users quit smoking. They test it for 6 months to ensure no other problems arise. However 6 months is a far cry from knowing the long term effects. So why should e-cigarettes be held to a higher standard than FDA approved nicotine products? And e-cigarettes have been used in the US since 2007 with no major side effects reported.

As for getting kids hooked on the product, what about flavors of nicotine gum? Or just the fact that they put nicotine into gum, which is a kid favorite to begin with.

In conclusion, it is very much possible to also write, “With a little research, it is clear that we do not know the risks of using nicotine gum long-term, and the potential for harm is significant. Until different regulations are imposted, nicotine gum should be considered a snake-oil gimmick that could get a new generation hooked on nicotine before their first smoke.”

Research E-Cigarettes Before Writing

quit smokingIn an article published in the Vernon Morning Star out of Vernon B.C., Doug Rogers, a substance abuse prevention counsellor with the Vernon School District urged smokers to avoid electronic cigarettes. And although we understand why a substance abuse counsellor for a school would promote abstinence, we have some concerns about Doug’s disregard for facts. He failed to recognize any actual data on the safety and effectiveness of e-cigarettes.  Meanwhile, the only data he cited to stay away from vaping was a warning put out by the FDA.  In the article, Mr. Rogers states:

When the FDA analyzed samples of two popular brands, they found variable amounts of nicotine and traces of toxic chemicals, including known cancer-causing substances (carcinogens).

While this is not completely false, it is certainly not the whole truth.  For instance, the amounts of carcinogens found in e-cigarettes were similar to those found in nicotine gum.  This wouldn’t be such a big deal if Mr. Rogers didn’t state:

If you’re looking for help to stop smoking, please talk to a health professional about smoking cessation programs which are safe and effective.

As most smokers and smoking cessation experts know, approved quit smoking methods include nicotine patches, gums, lozenges, cold turkey, and even medication.  It is hard to consider the writer credible when he promotes one method of quitting smoking with potential hazards while dismissing another.

The bottom line is that many smokers who want to quit smoking have tried many of the available options.  But when all attempted methods of quitting smoking fail, is using an e-cigarette not better than smoking?

 

Canadian Lung Association: Are You Kidding Me?

In a press release put out by the Canadian Lung Association named “Don’t Be Fooled By E-Cigarettes!”, they make arguments against smokers in Canada trying electronic cigarettes.  Here is a look at what claims they make:

1. “People who use e-cigarettes inhale unknown, unregulated and potentially harmful substances into their lungs,”

First, let’s point out that tobacco smokers inhale known cancer causing agents.  It can be argued that since tobacco cigarettes can legally be sold in Canada that they are regulated.  Does that make them any safer?  But the biggest issue I have with this statement is that we do know what is in e-cigarettes.  There have been multiple studies done on the contents of e-cigs.  The ingredients in the e-cigarette vapor include propylene glycol, glycerin, water, and flavoring.  Some also come with nicotine in them.

2. “E-cigarettes may contain ingredients that are known to be toxic to humans including carcinogens and diethylene glycol, a toxic chemical used in antifreeze.”

This is a reference to a FDA test done in 2009.  This report was put out by the FDA in response to them being sued at the time by nJoy who claimed the FDA was unjustly seizing their stock.  nJoy was victorious in this battle.  Here is a thorough rebuttal of the FDA report.  Also, in Canada e-cigarettes do not contain nicotine so they do not have the TSNAs present as those with nicotine may.  As a side note, at the time the FDA knew so little about e-cigarettes that this was the picture they used when they released their “findings”:

fda e-cigarette testing

For those what don’t vape, here is the issue:  For the model of e-cigarette they show, you must take off the mouthpiece / cartridge before you plug it into the charger.  They way they show it, the e-cigarette would not ever charge.

3. E-cigarettes have candy-like flavours that appeal to kids

Kids and adults alike enjoy flavors.  As an example, vodka can be purchase with many, many flavors.  Should be ban it?

4. There are many proven ways to quit smoking

That statement is true provided you buy into Health Canada’s definition of “proven”.    Their list of ways to quit smoking includes Nicotine Replacement Therapies and prescription drugs.  Find out just how successful smokers are in quitting smoking using these methods.  They also fail to mention that NRTs do contain cancer cause substances known as TSNAs.

 

We only ask that smokers think for themselves, dig a little deeper into what they read, and make their own decisions about what is best for their health.

Patterns of electronic cigarette use and user beliefs about their safety and benefits: An Internet survey

A new study name “Patterns of electronic cigarette use and user beliefs about their safety and benefits: An Internet survey” has been published.  The study was an Internet survey aimed at gathering scientific data regarding how e-cigarettes are used and how those users perceive them. The summarized conclusion from the study authors reads:

The participants primarily used e-cigarettes as a stop-smoking aid or as an alternative to conventional cigarettes, and the majority reported that they successfully stopped smoking. More data on e-cigarette safety and its efficacy in harm-reduction and smoking cessation are needed.

Bill Godshall from SmokeFree Pennsylvania added further details:

Survey of 179 Polish e-cigarette users finds 66% of users no longer smoked any cigarettes and 25% smoked fewer than 5 cigarettes per day, 41% primarily used e-cigarettes to quit smoking, 41% primarily used e-cigarettes to reduce harm associated with smoking, and 82% believed e-cigarettes to be less hazardous than cigarette smoking.

The survey results are not surprising to most vapers or those familiar with e-cigarettes or those who use them.

The study details can be found here.

The Biggest Misconceptions About Electronic Cigarettes

Here are the most quoted and wrong ideas about electronic cigarettes:e-cigarette misinformation

1.  It’s water vapour

No….it’s not.  Creating water vapour would mean boiling water, which e-cigs do not do.  The majority of the vapour is made up of propylene glycol lesser amounts of other compounds such as glycerin, nicotine (if nicotine e-liquid is vaporized) and the make up of the flavoring.  He is a study done on the second hand vapour produced from an electronic cigarette.

2.  The FDA found cancer causing chemicals in e-cigarettes.

They found trace amounts of smoke TSNAs in some samples.  They quantities they found pose no threat to human health.  Detectable levels of TSNAs can also be found in nicotine gum.  An analysis of the FDA testing on e-cigs can be found here.

3.  E-Cigarettes are banned in Canada.

No, only e-cigarettes with cartridges that contain nicotine are banned.  E-Cigarettes work just fine with no nicotine e-liquid.

4. Without nicotine, electronic cigarettes serve no purpose.

If smokers just wanted nicotine, then the nicotine gum would have 100% success rate helping smokers quit.  But they don’t.  So is it the action of smoking they want?  Is it the “break” they get when they smoke?  Whatever the answer is for each individual smoker; the e-cigarette does closely mimic the action of smoking…..with or without nicotine.

5. Flavored e-liquid and cartridges entice children to use e-cigarettes.

I suppose flavored vodka gets kids drinking?   I doubt it.  Kids don’t smoke or drink because it tastes good.

6.  We just don’t know what’s in an electronic cigarette.

Yes we do.  Many tests have been done.  Click here for some e-cig testing.  Or just know that e-liquid must contain a majority of propylene glycol and/or glycerin in order to work at all.  The rest of the ingredients are water and optionally flavoring and nicotine.

 

If you hear of other misconceptions, drop us a note or leave a comment here and we will try to further curb the mass amount of mis-information about electronic cigarettes.

Testing Shows Electronic Cigarette Vapor OK

Ever wonder if that vaper next to you blowing out plums of vapor is effecting you?  The scientific answer is no.  A study recently peer reviewed and published in the journal Inhalation Toxicology concluded that “Non-cancer risk analysis revealed “No Significant Risk” of harm to human health for vapor samples from e-liquids” and “For all byproducts measured, electronic cigarettes produce very small exposures relative to tobacco cigarettes.  The study indicates no apparent risk to human health from e-cigarette emissions based on the compounds analyzed.”  The full abstract can be found at the IVAQS (Indoor Vapor Air Quality Study) website.

It appears unfortunately that they did not test the non nicotine e-liquid, however since e-cigarette liquid with no nicotine is made up of the same stuff as that with nicotine (propylene glycol, glycerin, water, flavoring) it would be logical to conclude it would have the same, if not better results.

The study compared the emissions for an e-cigarette to those of a traditional tobacco cigarette as well as from a stand point of current regulatory standards for indoor pollution.  It was not surprising that “for tobacco smoke most findings markedly exceeded risk limits indicating a condition of “Significant Risk” of harm to human health.”  And although it was not surprising to those knowledgeable about e-cigarettes, it may have been for others to find out there was not any actual risk to non-users of e-cigarettes in vapor filled rooms.

We wish the National Vapers Club much success in using this scientific data to battle past and future electronic cigarette bans.  These bans were full of hypotheticals and unfounded bias.  At least now the lawmakers will have to concede that their laws are based on their own perceptions and not facts. Long live the e-cigarette!!!

More E-Cigarette Studies and Articles

Study finds e-cigarette vapor contains exponentially less particulate matter (PM) than secondhand cigarette smoke

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22913171#

 

VPLive Vape Team replays Dr. Konstantinos Farsalinos’ e-cigarette heart study presentation at European Society of Cardiology, and interviews him.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=e2rqYp-yPPA (begins at 24 minutes)

 

Dr. Melissa Walton Shirley – The e-cigarette: should cardiologists add this to our bag of tricks?

http://blogs.theheart.org/melissa-walton-shirley-blog/2012/8/25/the-ecigarette-should-cardiologists-add-this-to-our-bag-of-tricks

 

Dr. Seth Bilazarian – Smoking electronic cigarettes: A reasonable harm-reduction and smoking-cessation strategy?

http://blogs.theheart.org/private-practice/2012/6/22/smoking-electronic-cigarettes-a-reasonable-harmreduction-and-smokingcessation-strategy

 

PMI series- Reduced exposure evaluation of an Electrically Heated Cigarette Smoking System. Part 1: Non-clinical and clinical insights

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0273230012001651

 

PMI series – Reduced exposure evaluation of an Electrically Heated Cigarette Smoking System. Part 2: Smoke chemistry and in vitro toxicological evaluation using smoking regimens reflecting human puffing behavior

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0273230012001614

 

PMI series – Reduced exposure evaluation of an electrically heated cigarette smoking system. Part 3: Eight-day randomized clinical trial in the UK

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0273230012001675

 

PMI series – Reduced exposure evaluation of an Electrically Heated Cigarette Smoking System. Part 4: Eight-day randomized clinical trial in Korea

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0273230012001705

 

PMI Series – Reduced exposure evaluation of an electrically heated cigarette smoking system. Part 5: 8-Day randomized clinical trial in Japan
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0273230012001602

 

PMI series – Reduced exposure evaluation of an electrically heated cigarette smoking system. Part 6: 6-day randomized clinical trial of a menthol cigarette in Japan

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S027323001200164X

 

PMI Series – Reduced exposure evaluation of an Electrically Heated Cigarette Smoking System. Part 7: A one-month, randomized, ambulatory, controlled clinical study in Poland
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0273230012001638

 

PMI Series – Reduced exposure evaluation of an Electrically Heated Cigarette Smoking System. Part 8: Nicotine Bridging – estimating smoke constituent exposure by their relationships to both nicotine levels in mainstream cigarette smoke and in smokers
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0273230012001626

 

Abstract presented at European Respiratory Society (ERS) confirms previous study finding that e-cigarettes modestly reduce airway resistance for ten minutes.

https://www.ersnetsecure.org/public/prg_congres.abstract?ww_i_presentation=59718

But abstract author Christina Gratziou, Chair of the ERS Tobacco Control Committee, issues press release misrepresenting her own abstract’s findings by claiming: “Experts warn that e-cigarettes can damage the lungs”

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2012-09/elf-ewt083112.php

February 2012 ERS policy opposes “the use of all tobacco and unapproved nicotine delivery products such as cigarettes, chewable tobacco, and emerging products that include electronic cigarettes (e-cigs), snus, dissolvable tobacco and waterpipes.”

http://www.ersnet.org/news/item/4494-european-respiratory-society-statement-on-e-cigarettes-and-emerging-products-.html

News media repeats and further embellishes unsubstantiated claims in Gratziou’s press release

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/249784.php

http://www.sciencecodex.com/experts_warn_that_ecigarettes_can_damage_the_lungs-97689

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-09-02/e-cigarettes-not-tied-to-risk-of-heart-disease-in-study.html

 

Mike Siegel: “Experts” from University of Athens Tell the Public They Are Not Sure if Smoking is Any More Hazardous than Vaping, Despite Lack of Demonstration of Clinically Significant Effects on Airways and Improvement in Respiratory Symptoms in Many Vapers

http://tobaccoanalysis.blogspot.com/2012/09/experts-from-university-of-athens-tell.html

 

Mike Siegel: Commentary and Responses in Addiction Consider the Potential Role of Electronic Cigarettes in Smoking Cessation and Harm Reduction

http://tobaccoanalysis.blogspot.com/2012/08/commentary-and-responses-in-addiction.html

 

Mike Siegel: Electronic Cigarette Opponents Fail to Disclose Relevant Conflicts of Interest to the Public

http://tobaccoanalysis.blogspot.com/2012/08/electronic-cigarette-opponents-fail-to.html

 

Mike Siegel: More Conflicts of Interest Being Hid by Electronic Cigarette Opponents: Funding of their Organization by Big Pharma Not Disclosed

http://tobaccoanalysis.blogspot.com/2012/08/more-conflicts-of-interest-being-hid-by.html

 

CASAA sends letter to Univ. of Kentucky President and KY AG urging investigation of Ellen Hahn

http://casaa.org/HahnUKYletter.html

http://blog.casaa.org/2012/08/tobacco-harm-reduction-advocacy.html

 

NY legislature sends bill to Cuomo that would ban e-cigarette sales to minors

http://www.theithacajournal.com/article/20120829/NEWS10/308290065/Bills-child-pornography-e-cigarettes-hit-Cuomo-s-desk?

 

Riverside County (CA) Supervisors ignore facts and reality, ban e-cigarette use in county owned buildings due to false fear mongering allegations.

http://lakeelsinore-wildomar.patch.com/articles/ban-imposed-on-electronic-cigarettes

http://riversidecountyca.iqm2.com/citizens/default.aspx

http://www.pe.com/local-news/politics/jeff-horseman-headlines/20120828-riverside-county-no-vaping-in-county-buildings.ece

 

Naples (FL) gets vapor lounge for patrons to share electronic cigarette comaraderie

http://www.naplesnews.com/news/2012/sep/01/naples-gets-vapor-lounge-for-patrons-to-share/

 

Links courtesy of:

Bill Godshall

Executive Director

Smokefree Pennsylvania

The Good, The Bad, and The Junk Science About E-Cigarettes

MA legislative session ends without enactment of proposed e-cigarette tax or tobacco tax hikes
UK Health Minister Simon Burns protects cigarette markets and threatens public health by claiming e-cigarettes contain “potentially toxic substances” and pose “potential danger to consumers” without providing any evidence to justify his fear mongering claims demonizing the far less hazardous smokefree alternatives for smokers.
Study finds one third of Czech smokers have tried using e-cigarettes; Centre for Tobacco Addiction’s Eva Kvalikova says smokefree alternatives pose “almost zero risk”, says banning indoor use “doesn’t make sense”.
Study finds acute active and passive e-cigarette vapor exposure does not influence complete blood count (CBC) indices in smokers and never smokers, respectively.  In contrast, acute active and passive tobacco cigarette smoking increase the secondary proteins of acute inflammatory loadwhite blood cell, lymphocyte and granulocyte counts for at least one hour.
Wagner, Siegel and Borrelli respond to comments on e-cigarettes in Addiction
North Dakota e-cigarette opponents submit ballot initiative petitions with 21,000 signatures to ban e-cigarette use in all workplaces and ban smoking in several hundred, campaigners and news story fail to mention e-cigarettes.
Experts Question Legacy’s E-Cig Survey
Mike Siegel: American Legacy Foundation Takes More Money from Pfizer; Still Fails to Disclose Conflict of Interest on Electronic Cigarette Recommendations Disseminated to the Public
University of Auckland researchers recruiting 650 smokers for smoking cessation study using e-cigarettes
Mike Siegel critcizes Ellen Hahn and Kentucky Center for Smokefree Policy for misleading public about e-cigarettes
ACSH – A Kentucky nurse’s crusade against e-cigarettes: A celebration of junk science