E-cig Researchers from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill compared saliva samples from vapers, smokers and non-smokers.
As with the majority of e-cig research that comes out of the USA, the published results alongside the associated press releases are misleading and can be highly damaging to the vaping industry.
The lead author of the study was Mehmet Kesimer, who was measuring the effect of e-cigarette vapour on the lungs. The research supposedly found that vapers showed levels of protein linked to serious lung conditions. Further findings claimed that e-cigarettes showed some of the same negative consequences as cigarettes.
The sample size of this study was just 44 people, 15 vapers, 14 smokers and 15 non-smokers. Not only was this overall sample size small but also, out of the 15 vapers in the study, 12 were ex-smokers and 5 occasionally smoked cigarettes. These are two huge limitations to the accuracy of this study, however the findings still managed to reach the headlines of UK media channels.
While it could be argued that this research is grounds for further investigation, the fact that it is featuring in major newspapers with misleading headlines like vaping damages your body in ‘unique’ ways and could be ‘just as bad’ as smoking shows how damaging these preliminary studies can be.
If it was only extensive research that was peer-reviewed and conducted on a respectable sample size in suitable conditions, then the perception of e-cigarettes would be much more positive than it is. In this case, and in the majority of these anti-vaping stories, the author’s supporting comments seem to be particularly partisan to the anti-vaping party.
Dr Mehmet Kesimer, lead author of the study said:
“Comparing the harm of e-cigarettes with cigarettes is a little like comparing apples to oranges,”
“Our data shows that e-cigarettes have a signature of harm in the lung that is both similar to what we see in cigarette smokers and unique in other ways. This research challenges the concept that switching to e-cigarettes is a healthier alternative.”
This commentary is vague enough not to make any claims that cross the lines of defamation whilst still using language that sways onlookers to hold an anti-vaping position.
At the opposite end of spectrum, a paper was recently published in the Tobacco Control Journal “Comparing the cancer potencies of emissions from vapourised nicotine products including e-cigs with those of tobacco smoke” with results showing a 5 fold (57,000) lower Excess Lifetime Cancer Risk (ELCR) from vaping to smoking.
There were no headlines regarding this subject as it isn’t deemed news worthy so despite positive e-cig research, we rarely see these findings distributed to the wide public audience.