WASHINGTON, D.C. – The American Vaping Association, a leading advocate for the benefits of vapor products such as electronic cigarettes, is joining anti-smoking researchers in calling attention to possible misconduct by a group of Spanish authors who appear to be intentionally misstating their research findings for political purposes. In a new paper published in Current Environmental Health Reports (full text here), the authors conclude that “secondhand” exposure to exhaled e-cigarette aerosol is toxic because it contains particulate matter. There’s just one problem — the authors are blowing smoke. They didn’t actually find a significant difference between the particulate matter present in a home with vaping occurring versus homes that were vape-free and smoke-free home. This has researchers calling foul and accusing the authors of “severe bias” (see below the graph).
The small observational study sought to measure and compare levels of fine particulates in a home with smoking taking place, a home with vaping taking place, and two homes that were completely smoke-free and vape-free. The study found that the levels of particulate matter in the home with vaping were virtually indistinguishable from the vape-free and smoke-free homes. Meanwhile, the levels of particulate matter in the home with the smoker were about 60 times higher than all other homes.
The results for the median PM2.5 levels (in micrograms per cubic meter):
- Home with smoker: 572.52
- Home with vaper: 9.88
- Smoke-free, vape-free home #1: 9.53
- Smoke-free, vape-free home #2: 9.36
Dr. Michael Siegel, a longtime anti-smoking researcher and activist, as well as a Professor at the Boston University School of Public Health, commented:
“The truth is that exposure to the e-cigarette aerosol is no more ‘toxic’ than baseline exposure in a completely smoke-free, vape-free home. In other words, in terms of fine particulate matter exposure, secondhand vaping appears to represent no risk.
“It has the appearance that because the results didn’t come out the way the authors wanted it to, they misreported the conclusion to conform with what was apparently their predetermined conclusions against e-cigarettes.
“This is a fine example of severe bias by anti-tobacco researchers in the reporting of scientific results about e-cigarettes. Sadly, it is just one of many examples we have seen in recent years.
“Not only can’t the public trust information they are hearing about e-cigarettes from anti-smoking and health groups, they cannot even trust the information being reported in the scientific literature itself!”
Dr. Konstantinos Farsalinos, a cardiologist and researcher at Onassis Cardiac Surgery Center in Athens-Greece, as well as the author of numerous studies on vapor products, commented:
“It seems that the conclusion is contrary to the findings of their small observational study. Indeed, the published figure which displays the PM2.5 [particulate matter] concentration in homes clearly showed that the levels in the vaper’s and the non-smoker’s home are virtually indistinguishable, besides some very small peaks at the time of taking e-cigarette puffs. At the same time, levels of PM2.5 in the smoker’s home were about 60 times higher.
“The Spanish study is a classical and obvious example of misinterpretation of study findings. Their conclusion should be that PM2.5 levels in a home of a vaper are hardly distinguishable from a home of a non-smoker, and significantly lower from the levels in a smoker’s home.”
About the American Vaping Association
The American Vaping Association is a nonprofit organization that advocates for fair and sensible regulation of vapor products, otherwise known as electronic cigarettes, with the goal of maximizing the number of adult smokers who use these products to quit smoking. The AVA was founded by Gregory Conley, a consumer and industry advocate with a long track record of advocating for vapor products dating back to 2010.
We are dedicated to educating the public and government officials about public health benefits offered by vapor products, which are battery-powered devices that heat a liquid nicotine or nicotine-free solution and create an inhalable vapor. The AVA is not a trade group and does not speak for any particular businesses, including our industry sponsors.