What happens when legitimate, scientific cigarette/e-cigarette studies are held up in comparison to junk science? Even the casual observer notices a big difference. A great recent example being the difference between a just-released study as published in Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology and a most controversial report recently released by the State of California, USA. We will start with the latter.

The State of California has officially declared vaping a public health hazard to be avoided at all costs. However, as Boston University's Dr Michael Siegel points out on his Tobacco Analysis Blog, the State selectively chose to base their report only on research that would support their predetermined conclusion, while entirely ignoring contradictory evidence. Siegel specifically referenced the data they used to claim that e-cigarettes are not effective for smoking cessation.

It turns out that the research the State referenced was never intended to answer the 'cessation question' at all. The author of that research has said as much repeatedly. At the same time, State officials chose to ignore three other studies that not only were intended to address the cessation question, but also proved that people can effectively quit smoking through vaping.

Moving on, the previously mentioned legitimate study, just-published in Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology was designed to measure the harmful and potentially harmful constituents (HPHCs) of tobacco smoke, as compared to those of e-cigarette vapour. Two important aspects of this study should not be ignored:

  1. Blank air measurements were included, along with tobacco smoke and e-cigarette vapour; and
  1. The studied aerosol mass of the e-cig vapour was similar in composition to the respective e-liquids.

These two factors show that the measurements of all three air samples were believable and properly comparable, unlike the other recent study (as published in the New England Journal of Medicine) that required researchers to overheat and burn atomiser coils in order to produce formaldehyde.

In simple terms, this latest research compares 'apples to apples' rather than 'apples to oranges', as we are seeing so often lately.

Lo and behold, these researchers discovered the following:

  • e-cig vapour is primarily made up of propylene glycol/glycerine and water
  • e-cig vapour contained 85% less nicotine than cigarette smoke
  • the volume of HPHCs in the e-cig vapour were consistent with those found in the blank air samples
  • the volume of HPHCs in tobacco smoke were 1,500 times greater than e-cig vapour
  • none of the HPHCs that researchers tested for was found in e-cigarette vapour.

The results of this study are stunning, to anyone who cares to take the time to fully absorb them. They reinforce the 'tobacco harm reduction' argument that e-cigarette advocates have been making for years. Moreover, unlike the recent report issued by the State of California, the results of this study are both verifiable and reproducible.

Given the clear and obvious potential for tobacco harm reduction with e-cigs, it is vitally important that any cigarette/e-cigarette study used to stake a position on vaping be both credible and relevant to the assertions it is being used to support. Not only is that good science, it is also simple intellectual honesty.