The Week in Vaping – Sunday January 31st, 2016
By Lindsay Fox Posted January 31, 2016
Cherry-flavored e-liquid is the biggest threat since inhaling butt-loads of carcinogens in smoke, vaping is a gateway to smoking for teens, “vapists” live in a constant state of fear, the public doesn’t know if it’s safer than smoking, and you definitely shouldn’t vape if you’re a mouse or a collection of cells sitting in a petri dish. In less batshit insane news, e-cigs help smokers cut down, and tanks are more consistent at nicotine delivery than cigalikes, and smokers should definitely start vaping despite the constant fear-mongering. It’s a typically schizophrenic edition of the Week in Vaping.
How Dangerous Do People Think Vaping Is?
A new survey asked Ohio residents what they thought about the risk of vaping in comparison to smoking, and found that only about a third correctly responded that e-cigarette are safer than tobacco cigarettes. About 42 percent thought there was no difference in risk, and 12 percent said vaping was less safe than smoking. This is truly a sign of the times: the public are being misled in a way that will undoubtedly discourage many from making a decision that would be a huge benefit to their health and well-being. Michael Siegel has blogged about this study.
Gateways, Gateways, Gateways
It’s that time again. A new study has found that teens who vape at least once are more likely than teens who never vape to go on to smoke tobacco. This finding is a bit better than some other recent efforts, because they made the effort to find out how often the teens vaped, and also controlled for some relevant factors (like their rebelliousness and how much support their parents give them). However, there are many limitations, as pointed out by two Science Media Centre Posts (here and here), namely that some important relevant factors (like their parents’ attitude to smoking) were left out and that most of the analyses were only conducted with “ever” vaping. Paul Barnes takes a look at the study in depth at Facts Do Matter.
Does Smokers Switching to Vaping Cut Down on Cigarettes?
A small randomized controlled trial has compared nicotine-containing and non-nicotine containing e-cigs for their effectiveness in helping young smokers (aged between 21 and 35) reduce the amount they smoke by 50 % or more. The study showed that both groups significantly reduced the amount of cigarettes they smoked per day at one week and three weeks, and that those assigned to nicotine-containing e-cigarettes had a bigger reduction at three weeks. The study may have been small (with under 100 participants) and short-term, but it provides yet more evidence that e-cigarettes really do help smokers quit. This was covered by Guy Bentley in the Daily Caller.
Cherry-Flavored E-Juice and Benzaldehyde
A new study has led to some concern about cherry-flavored e-liquids, with many sources pointing out that levels of benzaldehyde from 30 puffs of an e-cig are higher than in conventional cigarettes (a common component of natural fruity flavors). The study looked at 145 flavors and found that 108 contained benzaldehyde at detectable levels.
The results show that cherry-flavored e-liquids had significantly more benzaldehyde than other types of e-liquid, but that a user inhaling 163 puffs per day (a bizarrely specific and unusually low estimate) would consume about 0.07 mg of benzaldehyde, over 1000 times lower than permissible amounts in the workplace. In other words, it’s really nothing to worry about. Admirably, the researchers did include this fact in their press release.
The American Vaping Association praised them for this move, but also pointed out some of the (typically) irresponsible reporting of the findings from the media, which is all the worse because the authors went to some effort to present an accurate picture of the relative risk in their press release. It seems if researchers do the right thing, the press will add the nonsense in regardless.
PSA: Don’t Vape if You’re a Mouse or a Collection of Cells in a Petri Dish
Following in the time-honored tradition of extrapolating too much from animal and cell culture studies, a new piece of research from the University of California San Diego found that markers of inflammation were increased in human cells, and anti-bacterial defenses were impaired. When mice inhaled vapor for one hour per day over the course of four weeks, similar responses were observed. They also observed that e-cig vapor made staphylococcus aureas bacteria more virulent. This led to typically extreme reports about the risks of vaping, but directly extrapolating findings from cell cultures and animals to humans is problematic, to say the least. A similar (older) study in mice was well-addressed here by Bernd Mayer, but needless to say, there is very little new or concerning information from this new study.
Tanks Give More Consistent Nicotine Delivery than Cigalikes
A new study from Dr. Farsalinos proposes a protocol for looking at the consistency of nicotine delivery from e-cigarettes, which is likely to be a relevant consideration for regulators (at least from their perspective). The results show that tank atomizers (the Subtank, Nautilus Mini, Atlantis and EVOD Mega) are more consistent when it comes to nicotine delivery than cigalikes, and were within the acceptable range for medical nebulizers, as well as being similar to the medicinal nicotine inhaler tested. Only one tested cigalike performed as consistently as the tanks did. This is particularly good news because it’s another sign that “open system” devices are actually better than the cigalikes that may be the only thing to survive burdensome regulations. PG/VG has a write-up on the study here.
Legislation, Regulations and Vaping Bans
Virginia is proposing a ban on vaping in indoor locations such as restaurants, taking the classic reasoning that the “science is still out” and that we should err on the side of caution.
Ashland, Kentucky has approved a ban on vaping in public places, bringing the e-cig rules in line with the existing rules on cigarettes.
Glyndon, Minnesota has passed several laws relating to vaping recently, and one banning vape stores from operating within 1,000 feet of a school, house of worship or youth facility has come into effect. They’ve also extended their indoor smoking ban to cover vaping.
The Child Nicotine Poisoning Prevention Act has been signed by President Obama, and requires all e-liquids to be sold in child-resistant packaging, as all responsible juice companies should have been doing anyway.
E-Cig Intelligence has put together an informative report on all of the bills currently being considered by states relating to vaping. It’s arranged by state, too, so you can check out what’s going on where you live really easily. We’ve published a related post this week on vaping taxes, which gives a run-down on the taxes that have been imposed so far and the ones currently being considered.
Vape Emporium has an article about the 100k Campaign going on in the UK, which is aiming to get the UK to opt out of the e-cigarette rules from the EU Tobacco Products Directive. You can find more info about taking part here.
Other News and Blog Posts
Brad Rodu has some words of wisdom for smokers: It’s Too Early to Prove Absolute Safety, But Smokers Shouldn’t Wait to Vape. He points out that it’ll be literally decades before we even come close to having definitive answers, but that doesn’t mean smokers can’t use their common sense and compare the likely risks of the two based on what we know so far.
A writer named Drew Salisbury at Death and Taxes has written two trollish articles about vaping this week – one pointing to two e-cigarette explosions and one arguing that “Vapists live in constant paranoid fear” (based on a list-based article in a local newspaper in the UK) – which make for quite unusual reading. He’s previously found out that vapers are a little touchy when confronted with another bullshit article (you know, the type of thing leading most of the public into thinking they might as well smokein terms of risk) and has clearly decided to have a little fun by baiting the vaping community with some vaguely satirical articles about the dangers of vaping. Although, I’ve got to admit that the term “vapists” does raise a smile.
VapeNewsMagazine’s regular column “Let’s Ask GrimmGreen” has been published, in which Grimm gives some to-the-point advice about finding good juice, mods and atomizers. Also worth reading from the magazine is the marketing director from ProVape’s (makers of the ProVari) take on six vaping trends to watch in 2016.
Bill Godshall’s THR Update has been published, collecting a lot of recent vaping and THR-related news in one long, link-stuffed post.
Planet of the Vapes has a pleasingly positive post about several recent baseless attempts to bash vaping and the excellent responses from the vaping community, highlighting the bad science at the heart of attempts to restrict vaping and the undertones of corruption.
Bullshit of the Week: Won’t Somebody Please Think of the Children!
The Daily Californian has published an op-ed that doesn’t really tread new grounds in the realm of bullshit, but hits on some tried-and-tested talking points and pretty much treats the messages of the Still Blowing Smoke campaign as if they’re the gospel truth. The op-ed is full of claims like this; full of insinuation and completely devoid of any concrete examples:
Have you seen e-cigarette ads? Do they seem to be speaking specifically to you? That’s because e-cigarettes are heavily advertised on television and radio and targeted at youth and young adults.
Yeah, that’s right, the e-cigarette industry is ignoring the intense scrutiny they’re under and openly marketing to children, who neither have the spending power nor the inclination to try vaping that adult smokers do.
The “facts” he lists about vaping only get worse:
Most e-cigarettes contain nicotine, a neurotoxin as addictive as heroin and cocaine.
Hang your head in shame, Isra Ahmad, and learn the (important) difference between nicotine and the cocktail of chemicals you’re exposed to from smoking.
That’s All For This Week!
So that’s your fill of vaping-related news for this week. As always, let us know in the comments if we missed anything, and check back next week for more!