New research from the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in New York is piling up even more evidence that using electronic cigarettes is considerably safer than the tobacco alternative. It looked specifically at several toxic components found in cigarettes, and compared the levels of them to those found in e-cigs. Unsurprisingly, they found that e-cigs contain from 9 to 450 times less toxic components than their tobacco counterparts. Anybody persisting in the belief that e-cigs can be just as dangerous as traditional cigarettes is left with even more to explain, but yet the story seems conspicuously absent from the mainstream media.
The study looked at twelve different brands of e-cigarettes, representing six times the sample size of the now infamous FDA analysis. They focused on four groups of carcinogens (cancer-causers) in the research, volatile organic compounds, heavy metals, nitrosamines and carbonyls. An important point of the research is that the various brands of electronic cigarette were not only compared to tobacco cigarettes, they were also compared with a medical nicotine inhaler.
The results do confirm some of the things often blown out of proportion by the media. E-cigarettes do contain some toxic chemicals; however the levels of them are for the most part comparable to those found in the approved medical inhaler. Compared to tobacco cigarettes, e-cigs are angelic, containing up to 450 times lower concentrations of the chemicals tested for. Michael Siegel identifies that whilst formaldehyde is one of the most troubling things found in e-cigs, they’re only found in trace amounts which are comparable to the nicotine inhaler. Their levels vary by brand, so he suggests further research into the steps that could be taken to reduce formaldehyde content in e-cigs.
The important thing that this study brings to the forefront is the issue of comparative risk. E-cigarettes are designed as a safer alternative for smokers, and the emphasis is on the word “safer.” E-cigs aren’t safe in an absolute sense, in exactly the same way that no tobacco-derived products (including patches and inhalers) are. They are, however, massively, exponentially and undeniably safer than smoking tobacco. Numerous sources of research are required to draw weighty conclusions, but this is another all important rock in the mountain of evidence telling us that e-cigs are much, much safer than traditional cigarettes.
However, the media continually chooses to tell a different story. The headline to a recent Fox 19 article shows the issue so perfectly it’s as if it was set up specifically for that purpose. The article is about the fact that electronic cigarettes are growing in popularity, yet the nonsense caveat “effects unknown” still manages to secure a spot in the headline. The media piles uncertainty and negativity onto virtually every electronic cigarette article they publish.
The fact that this extensive study has received virtually no coverage is testament to that fact. The FDA report, which failed to disclose that the levels of nitrosamines found in the e-cigs were the same as those found in FDA-approved patches, saw massive reporting in the press. With six times the sample size and the all-important control group (the approved inhaler) results reported clearly, the media seems to have little interest in the story. The reason for this is simple. It is strong evidence in favor of the conclusion they don’t want to push: e-cigarettes are much safer than smoking cigarettes.