Media have exaggerated the e-liquid v.s. popcorn lung debate

Media have exaggerated the e-liquid v.s. popcorn lung debate

The report found 39 out of the 51 e-liquids to contain the food additive.

That’s 75 percent, which is not really a good number when taken out of context. What has been missed in most publications though is that the levels found in most of the e-juice flavours are minuscule, especially when compared to levels produced by analogue cigarettes.

Dr. Konstantinos Farsalinos, a world renowned expert in e-cigarette research said “tobacco cigarette smoke contains high levels of diacetyl and acetyl propionyl, on average 110 times higher, compared to average e-cigarette exposure”.

"I must note that the study has missed some very important points. One is the assessment of the levels found in their samples. The levels presented in Figure 2 are quite low, much lower that what we found in our study. In many cases, levels of these compounds are absolutely minimal, and it is NOT expected to raise any concerns about human health effects. Additionally, the authors FAILED to mention the presence of these compounds in tobacco cigarette smoke". Said Dr. Farsalinos.

Dr. Farsalinos has lead many papers on the effects of e-cigarettes and has drawn his comments from one of his own studies ‘Nicotine and Tobacco Research’ which was conducted in 2014… So he is in a position to make data based comments (unlike most media).

By excluding the comparative data and omitting the facts behind the levels of diacetyls that were found in the e-liquid flavours, the media have created a false impression of the potential risks involved and created an outburst of worry. That creates a possibility of some smokers thinking twice before trying e-cigarettes, or even worse; not giving it a go at all, leaving them with a much more harmful and destructive product.

What has also been missed is that even though analogue cigarettes contain far greater levels of diacetyls and acetyl propionyls, not one case of “popcorn lung” has been attributed to cigarette smoking.

It is very coincidental that these sorts of half baked results are publicised in such a way, at such a crucial time. There have been considerable pressures on the FDA to take a position on electronic cigarettes and e-liquids, and the decisions are looming. Considering the money Big Tobacco has to spend on skilled media personnel it wouldn’t be surprising if they had a hand in all this.

It is a shame these releases are built up by the media. News that has been spun with negativity seems to get a lot of unwarranted exposure. This story has appeared all over social media while the fact based studies and millions of voices who are chanting “electronic cigarettes saved me” and  are lost in the shadows. 

Let’s not forget that UK PHE fully endorsed e-cigarettes only weeks ago and they are now starting to be prescribed for free under the system. That program (which was decided on after reports that were backed by data showed the benefits) has been heralded as a positive move by dozens of other health groups all around the world.

To be clear, vaping does not come without risk. Our lungs are made to breathe air, that’s it. So if you are a non-smoker you will definitely be taking a step backwards if you decided to start vaping (or inhaling anything other than air), but compared with smoking tobacco cigarettes vaping is much, much better.

HERE'S ANOTHER REPORT which shows that diacetyls are 750 times lower than analogue cigarettes (average of 9 micrograms in e-cigarettes V.s. 6718 in cigarettes)!

So before you listen to the media and make a call on what is best for you, please take the time to find the actual results - and listen to them.