Four Negative Vape Studies

Posted 11th November 2017 by Dave Cross
New studies continue to flood into the inbox at POTV Towers. Unfortunately, most of them are typified by the following pieces of work: RTI International has identified that people who tweet about vaping fall into distinct groups. Dutch doctors write up a case intoxication, Finnish academics study teens, and the American Heart Association sponsors flavour fears.

RTI International is gaining a reputation for their work within the electronic cigarette research field – but unfortunately for us the bulk of its work veers towards the negative. It all appears to be geared towards gaining business from people interested in finding out something that agrees with their negative perspective.

The latest study involves RTI’s research team inventing some categories for Twitter and making out that it’s scientific. Twitter, they say, has “become a common platform for sharing information about e-cigarettes and to promote marketing of ecigarettes”.

Teams of “trained human coders” assigned around 5,000 tweets into the following categories: individual, vaper enthusiast, informed agency, marketer, and spammer. Apparently this groundbreaking method of categorising tweets will improve something and help to inform something else.

On a more serious level, Dutch emergency medical practitioners have documented a case of nicotine poisoning. The patient, a 42-yr old male, is reported to have consumed a “vial with liquid for e-cigarettes”, rendering him unconscious and without a pulse. They report that although CPR and adrenaline restored the pulse he died from “postanoxic encephalopathy” due to the initial oxygen starvation caused when unconcious.

Academics in Finland have published a paper in the European Journal of Public Health, covering the use of ecigs by Finnish teens. The conclusions are pretty much defined at the outset, in their opening statement: “Use of electronic cigarettes is increasing at alarming pace among youth”.

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They found that “experimenting e-cigarettes is common among youth but daily use is rare”, and linked vape experimentation with later daily cigarette smoking. The evidence simply doesn’t support their conclusion and call that “Youth’s access to e-cigarettes should be limited by legislation and thus prevent nicotine addiction.”

Finally, in a depressing collection of papers, one from the American Heart Association – an organisation opposed to harm reduction and vaping. In Uncertainty Surrounding E-Cigarette Flavouring Safety (doi:10.3390/ijerph14101274), the research team quizzed University students on what they thought about the potential danger of flavour additives in eliquids.

Firstly, and worryingly, 10% of their university undergraduate respondents claimed, “they had not heard of e-cigarettes”. Is it even possible for anybody who doesn’t live in a cave not to have heard about vaping in 2017?

The big finding? That 4/5s of students misunderstood that the FDA’s GRAS (“generally recognized as safe”) designation refers to ingestion and not inhalation, and they call for people to point out that this doesn’t mean vaping is safe. But then nobody in the UK is claiming the use of electronic cigarettes are “safe”, just 95% safer!

 Dave Cross
Article by Dave Cross
Freelance writer, physicist, karateka, dog walker