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Farsalinos at the GFN

Dr Konstantinos Farsalinos spoke at the Global Forum on Nicotine to debunk many pieces of ecig research.

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Dr Konstantinos Farsalinos is well known to many long-term vapers. He has been at the forefront of electronic cigarette research, contributing to the growing body of knowledge and critiquing flawed negative studies. The Onassis Cardiology Centre medical practitioner talked to the Global Forum on Nicotine about "The safety and toxicology of e-cigarettes", debunking studies as he spoke.

Farsalinos began his presentation with a passing reference and a joke to his inability to keep to time limits before describing the “media frenzy” or “science frenzy” surrounding vaping. He pointed his finger firmly at the scientists who feed journalists with “horror stories, which makes it very hard to criticise the journal.”

He referred to one of the studies proclaiming to find vast quantities of formaldehyde in the vapour of electronic cigarettes. The results, as he deftly pointed out, meant nothing as if proper statistical analysis and procedures had taken place. With such an approach, the formaldehyde discovered in vape was substantially below that measurable in cigarette smoke – there was no story to write about.

The good doctor illustrated once again that the only times it is possible to find elevated concentrations of formaldehyde is when a user experiences a dry burn – and nobody constantly vapes in those circumstances. The media coverage looks even more obscure when a vapers exposure to the formaldehyde present in vape is compared to a 24-hour exposure in the average home. A vaper will inhale 678µg of formaldehyde with an average of 600 daily puffs, almost a quarter of the 2,000 µg of formaldehyde a non-vaper will breathe in when sitting in a house.

So, as much as anti-vaping campaigners would like to claim that they have a ‘right to clean air’ there is no such thing. Clean air, as far as the World Health Organisation is concerned, has tolerable levels of formaldehyde far in excess of that found in vape.

Farsalinos mocked studies using CE4 atomisers that he hasn’t seen for over a couple of year (and took him over a month to track down in order to replicate some tests). He recruited vapers to use the devices and report at what wattage they detected dry hits. Eight detected the situation at 4.0 volts, fifteen at 4.2 volts and three at 4.4 volts. This meant that eighty eight percent of vapers could identify dry hits and stopped vaping.

Consequently, his team identified 4.0 volts as the upper limit for normal vaping, meaning no dry hits. They identified a stable and safe production of acetone, acrolein and aldehydes under those conditions (“it’s basically a straight line”) and all elevated levels occurring during non-vapeable circumstances. “This is exactly what [the NEJM’s authors] didn’t say!”

He continued by attacking the University of Athen’s research letter claiming to have found elevated blood pressure and aortic stiffness in people vaping before launching into the anti-Snus agenda. Finally, Farsalinos concluded with mention to the Public Health England report: “e-cigarettes are at least 95% less harmful compared to smoking.”

Dave Cross avatar

Dave Cross

Journalist at POTV
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Dave is a freelance writer; with articles on music, motorbikes, football, pop-science, vaping and tobacco harm reduction in Sounds, Melody Maker, UBG, AWoL, Bike, When Saturday Comes, Vape News Magazine, and syndicated across the Johnston Press group. He was published in an anthology of “Greatest Football Writing”, but still believes this was a mistake. Dave contributes sketches to comedy shows and used to co-host a radio sketch show. He’s worked with numerous vape companies to develop content for their websites.

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