Chattin’ Chief Vs. The Myths Against Vaping
Part I – Why All The Fuss?
Even from down here at the bottom of this boot we call Louisiana, far below sea level and surrounded by our levee walls of stone, I can still see it. The smoke-screen against vaping is spreading, thickening – getting hard to breathe – and the reason is clear. Media groups of all shapes and sizes are attempting to sway the public opinion on e-cigarettes. And while many remain respectful to the studies performed, others still decide to take a much more narrow minded approach, plucking out specific results from specific studies and magnifying specific words to create worrying ‘facts’.
With the FDA’s sights specifically targeted on monopolizing the entire Vapor Movement, propaganda-type articles are already circling around, trickling across random computer screens and Facebook walls, mindlessly targeting e-cigarettes as if they were a danger to the very fabric of society, much like in the recent Live Science article that prompted me to write this – http://www.livescience.com/46053-e-cigarettes-myths-safety-facts.html?cmpid=514627_20140603_25218876
“4 Myths About E-cigarettes” is what it’s called, and I truly believed that they were going to be honest about the SCIENCE behind e-cigarettes. But instead its Author has seemed to blatantly disregard the very same facts that the FDA is attempting to ignore in its play to gain complete control of the e-cigarette market. All four of the ‘myths’ presented are no more than the same vague questions everyone seems to already be asking right now, and the entire article is the very example of the overreaction I’m talking about.
Now I’m not saying that they’re purposefully lying, but they are definitely neglecting to mention a few very important details. Whether intentional or not, though, is anyone’s guess.
So these myths include “e-cigs are safe”, as well as “e-cigs help you quit smoking”, and the other two, presented as the first and last ‘myths’, are basically the same thing… “vapor from e-cigs is pure”, and “e-cigs don’t produce harmful second-hand smoke”, and Live Science then goes on to completely rip apart each one of those ‘myths’.
Thus, in a three-part chat in defense of these devices that I believe saved my life, I will attempt to shed a bit of light upon the ‘Smoke Screen’ which more and more people seem to be caught within.
E-cig ‘Myth’ #1/4 – E-cig Vapor is Pure/Doesn’t Produce Harmful Second-Hand Smoke
When it comes to whether or not e-cig vapor is pure and produces any harmful second-hand smoke, this is a very important question, and one that everyone wants answered, including me. So I was quite excited to dive into these studies and learn all I could, especially after reading this e-cig myth article.
The article mentions a study that claims to have found the volatile carcinogens “formaldehyde, acetaldehyde and acetone” to be present in e-cigarette vapor.
But what they fail to mention is the scientific fact that those three carcinogens are already exhaled from human breath regardless of any smoke or vapor that is inhaled. And I quote, from the study (1999) Human Breath Emissions of VOCs, Journal of the Air & Waste Management Association, conducted by Jill D. Fenske & Suzanne E. Paulson…“The medical community has long recognized (as early as 1970) that humans exhale Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)” These VOCs “include specific carcinogens in trace amounts: acetone, methanol, acetaldehyde, butanone, and isoprene.” Another name for methanol is formaldehyde.
So either the author of this article presented hadn’t yet learned of these ‘human exhaled VOCs’, or its they decided to intentionally ignore that fact in order to further skew the public view on e-cigarettes.
Furthermore, Live Science only panders to themselves within the article, and gives only links to other Live Science articles, and none that prove any of the studies they present. I guess we’re just supposed to take their word for it. But you can read the human exhaled VOC study Right Here – http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/10473289.1999.10463831
Now I know it might sound a bit paranoid to say that they purposefully ignored this fact, but I felt it necessary to at least mention this fact to better help others understand the results of this… the only study that really matters, as far as I’m concerned.
On the front page of the CASAA (Consumer Advocates for Smoke-free Alternatives Association) website (http://casaa.org/) is a recently published “systematic review of what the chemistry of contaminants in electronic cigarettes tells us about health risk.” (http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2458/14/18/)
This study extracted “more than 9,000 observations of highly variable quality” from “both peer-reviewed and ‘grey’ literature” on the subject of e-cigarettes, meaning that they basically just read through a whole lot of papers (over 9,000 studies!!!) in an attempt to set things straight. Their findings were first announced in 2013, and were recently published in a peer-reviewed paper earlier this year.
Those results are very simple… “There was no evidence of potential for exposures of e-cigarette users to contaminants that are associated with risk to health at a level that would warrant attention”.
But since Live Science and other media outlets wish to go about handpicking their specific quotes from their specific studies to twist them into convincing others that e-cigarettes are somehow bad, I found it necessary to break down this study that studied all the other studies for everyone, and use it to bring a bit of reality back to this constantly swaying topic.
So since we were on the subject of VOCs, and since Live Science singled out a lone study that found formaldehyde and other carcinogens to be present in the vapor of e-cigarettes, I think it’s about time to break it down.
First of all, in one study that used human volunteers, “Finding of an unusually high level of formaldehyde is clearly attributable to endogenous production of formaldehyde by the volunteer smoker who was consuming e-cigarettes in the experimental chamber, since there was evidence of build-up of formaldehyde prior to vaping and liquids used in the experiments did not generate aerosol with detectable formaldehyde.”
What this tells me is that while this one study did find “an unusually high level of formaldehyde”, and reported such in their published papers, what Live Science and others fail to mention is the clear fact that those levels of formaldehyde are “clearly attributable to endogenous production of formaldehyde by the volunteer smoker”, meaning that while this volunteer sat in their little test bubble, their own human exhaled formaldehyde was being detected before they even began to vape.
There was also another study that Live Science may be quoting – I can’t be sure because they have no links – and this study also found detectable levels of VOCs. Instead of volunteers, though, this study used smoking machines to rule out any human exhaled VOCs, but also admitted that the “atomizer, generating high concentration carbonyls, had been burned black”.
So, simply put, the atomizer in the e-cigarette that they used to detect the VOCs was apparently burned to a crisp, meaning that all of their results may have been skewed because of that fact alone, another fact that Live Science of course decided to neglect.
And when it comes to the Heavy Metals that Live Science mentions… “Although the level of toxic chemicals in second-hand vapor is smaller than that in second-hand smoke,” so say ‘the experts’ that this e-cig myth article quoted, “e-cig smoke contains a similar amount of tiny particles of heavy metals and other substances that can damage the lungs.”
Well, here’s what the study of all studies says about the liquids used… “We compared concentrations to TLVs (Threshold Limit Values) when it was even remotely plausible that parent molecules were present in the aqueous solution. However, even these are to be given credence only in an extremely pessimistic analyst, and further investigation by more appropriate analytical methods could clarify exactly what compounds are present, but is not a priority for risk assessment.”
So only an extreme pessimist would give credence to the studies previously performed, and while they admit that “further investigation by more appropriate analytical methods could clarify exactly what compounds are present,” the metals detected in the e-juices are so low that they are “not a priority for risk assessment”. As for metals in the vapor, it sounds about the same…
“Analyses of metals given in [Murphy J, Wong E, Lawton M: Chemical and operational assessment of the Ruyan classic e-cigarette. Report P.474. British American Tobacco; 2010.] are not summarized here because of difficulty with translating reported units into meaningful terms for comparison with the TLV, but only mercury (again with no information on parent organic compound) was detected in trace quantities, while arsenic, beryllium, chromium, cadmium, lead and nickel were not. Taken as the whole, it can be inferred that there is no evidence of contamination of the aerosol with metals that warrants a health concern.”
What this means is that, yes, it does apparently appear to be that some sort of ‘heavy metals’ can be detected in our e-cig vapor, namely mercury in only trace amounts, but it’s not even enough to do the math when comparing these heavy metals that were apparently detected to the already given Threshold Limit Values already set in place by the government for these metals, which are unfortunately all too common within our air already, and the results of these findings ultimately conclude that “there is no evidence of contamination of the aerosol with metals that warrants a health concern”
As CASAA reports, “While there have been many claims that formaldehyde, acrolein, nitrosamines, metals, and ethylene glycol found in e-cigarette vapor poses a health hazard, the study concluded that all of these have been found only at trivial levels that pose no health concern.”
So that’s it, right? No more fuss? Things straightened out?
Well… not quite… because 2 more ‘myths’ remain, and just because e-cigs survived the first, will they be able to hold up against our next E-cig Myth on the list… ‘E-cigs are safe’?
Find out in part 2 of this reality check.
Don’t forget to tune in. Same Big Chief time. Same Big Chief channel.
I’m RMP – 11 Weeks Smoke-Free
Peace and Love… Always!!!