Yogi Makes a Boo-Boo

Posted 28th August 2019 by Dave Cross
In a piece copy-pasted from America, the UK’s Guardian newspaper asks if recycling is “Vaping’s other problem”. The article revolves around University of California San Francisco’s (UCSF) Dr Yogi Hale Hendlin’s far-fetched and unsupported beliefs that vaping presents “a significant environmental problem”.

The reproductive sciences academic has worked on multiple pieces of research with anti-vape zealots like Glantz, Chafee, and Ling. The stories currently circulating media newsrooms result from a solo editorial he had published in the American Journal of Public Health in 2018, asking: “Are e-cigarettes creating a recycling disaster?”

“Vaping has been declared a serious health epidemic,” writes Kari Paul, referencing the increasingly bizarre US Surgeon General Jerome Adams. “But it could also create a massive recycling disaster, according to researchers.”

Paul doesn’t say who these researchers are, referencing only Hale Hendlin.

“There is no legal way to recycle them,” lies Yogi, “[and] none of the companies so far have taken the necessary action.”

Pure Eliquids

“It is the consensus on public health researchers working on the environmental costs of tobacco that e-cigarette manufacturers need to put a product deposit system into action.”

Channelling the spirit of Glantz, Yogi makes statements akin to a cartoon bear denying any picnic basket-related thefts.

In his American Journal of Public Health editorial, he acknowledged, “No studies have yet tracked disposal patterns of e-cigarettes”, and yet he went on to categorically state: “spent e-cigarette capsules or replaceable nicotine-filled plastic pods are often littered.”

If you have no research evidence you can’t make sweeping statements about disposal – you are purely guessing, Yogi.

Hendlin’s 2018 article for The Salon echoed many of Gottlieb’s FDA pro-pharma anti-vape campaign points [link], and he added his 2¢ by adding that vaping presents “lingering harms to the environment greater than the products they replace.

The Electronic Cigarette Company

At no point does he attempt to quantify this apparent threat compared to cigarette butts and spent packaging. Nor does Hendlin bother to research or reference vapers attitudes towards recycling.

POTV wrote about the problem posed by the increase in use of lithium-ion cells in 2015 [link]. We noted how fixed cell cigalikes also needed special consideration, and how UK waste management company Businesswaste believed more could be done.

Sybolt Brouwer, head of battery recycling at Umicore told us: “Recycling companies would love to see more of them coming through the door. Portable batteries contain 10% or more of cobalt, that's an amount that you do not find in nature as such. So you don't need to look further than the 'urban mine' to find very rich materials.”

Many brick and mortar vape stores in the UK now offer a recycling service, as do some online vendors. Over the years this initiative has spread to other countries and, although not regulated, the industry is acting in good faith.

Vape Club

Could more be done? Of course. Is The Guardian displaying that it is “Editorially independent?” By regurgitating UCSF nonsense, absolutely not.

What more do you think vendors and manufacturers should or could do? Visit the forum and let us know [link].


  • “Alert: Public Health Implications of Electronic Cigarette Waste” by Yogi Hale Hendlin – [link]
  • Yogi’s UCSF profile – [link]
  • “Vaping’s other problem: are e-cigarettes creating a recycling disaster?” – [link]
  • POTV vaping forum - [link]

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