Lies, Lies, and Damn Lies
Read while John Manzione, editor and publisher of Spinfuel, tackles two desperate topics by walking a tightrope so thin its almost razor wire.
I have to admit the amount of twisted information getting out there in the media against e-cigarettes and vaping in general is staggering, and quite frustrating. Some days I want to scream.
Not only does this industry have its fair share of crooks and scam artists looking to rob people of their hard-earned money (think – Regal, XO, Lift, Saphire, et al.) that we deal with on a daily basis, we also have to fight back against the ignorance of people who cannot differentiate between vaping and smoking, as well as people possessed with plain old malice toward anyone that wishes to pursue vaping as a way to stay away from tobacco or to simply enjoy the sensation of inhaling thick clouds of flavorful vapor in order to relax and enjoy.
The e-cigarette business is certainly not one of the more ‘stellar’ industries in the global marketplace, but it’s not the work of the devil either.
For every great vendor like MyVaporStore and Vapor Authority (I use these vendors because I know these vendors), there are sleaze-bags like Saphire Cigs, Regal Cigs, LiftVapor and so many others. To rid the marketplace of companies like these that are only interested in selling the cheapest starter kit at the highest price without regard for quality or value we need federal guidelines and enforcement against those that continue to rip off consumers with impunity. I’m all for “some” regulations because it is abundantly clear that we cannot police ourselves. (If we could police ourselves then Spinfuel wouldn’t be the only website in the vaping community exposing these con artists.)
As far as the war with ignorant anti-smoking zealots and crooked politicians either trying to outright ban e-cigarettes or tax the hell out of them, it’s become a nightmare of epic proportions (oh how cliché). Every day some new article appears in print or on the Internet that feeds off the confusion many people have about what exactly is an electronic cigarette and just how is it possible to continue “smoking” and avoiding the myriad of diseases that come from tobacco use.
The ‘opposition’ comes in various forms; the blogger looking for pageviews, the local politician trying to score points with non-smokers and mothers with children, federal politicians looking for Big Tobacco and Big Pharma lobbyists to fatten their war chests. And lest I forget, politicians from local, state, and federal levels looking to beat up smokers with more and more taxes, eyeing the potential tax revenue that e-cigarettes can bring in to buy votes.
With respect to the federal level of government and the politicians at the federal level what’s going on now with e-cigarettes is exactly what went on with tobacco cigarettes; the feds are becoming two-faced asshats with one side talking bans and restrictions and the other side talking taxes and the public welfare…with more and more taxes.
It’s enough to make me sick. Especially when I strip away all this crap and look at what it is the e-cigarette supporters are trying to do. We’re no saints, but come on, for every smoker that we are able to convince to switch to e-cigarettes we lengthen their lifespan, shorten the cost of medical issues, and as a result they will feel a whole lot better in the process.
Vapers aren’t some kind of cult (but you know that). We know the positive effects of switching to e-cigarettes and yes; we’re all pretty much guilty of telling all the smokers in our lives that there is a better way.
E-cigarettes haven’t caused a single death or illness yet the way they are portrayed in the media you’d think they were being used for getting high.
Not only getting high but forcing those that use them to drive without seatbelts, sexting behind the wheel, molesting underage children, and committing burglaries to support the ‘habit’. Oh, and because scientists can’t find any evidence that e-cigarettes cause cancer or heart disease, then by God there must be something very wrong with them. When they can’t find the evidence they either make it up, or grab onto a strand and twist it up until it looks really, really bad.
Which brings me to the subject at hand; twisting, distorting, and flat out lying with impunity.
A perfect example of just how devious and underhanded the anti-vaping people can be has presented itself this week in three (3) articles using the same scientific study.
Metal and Silicate Particles Including Nanoparticles Are Present in Electronic Cigarette Cartomizer Fluid and Aerosol
Chances are you’ve heard about this report this past week but you might not have read it. Like most people, myself included, rather than reading a study filled with scientific jargon you wait for “commentary” to come out by people who DO read the studies, and best of all, can understand them and condense them down to the level that we can understand.
The “take away” from the study is this; “Scientists have found certain metals and nanoparticles in e-cigarettes”.
This, by itself, is alarming. Makes for a great headline too, and will definitely scare away hundreds, if not thousands of smokers who are absolutely certain that there are no metals or nanoparticles in cigarettes. You can hear the collective sigh from 46 million Americans as they thank god they didn’t listen to Cousin Jim who recently went down the e-cigarette path and who has by now filled his lungs with deadly metals. Let’s hear it for science!
Hell, when that headline started going viral across the vape community I got a little worried. Metals? Nanoparticles? Uh oh. Not good.
But, since my job is to actually read things like this I went to the ‘PLOS one’ website and read the paper. And then read it again. As is also my job I began to do some research so I could write about the study.
As luck would have it, Julia received a ‘Dear Julia’ question that asked Julia what she thought about an article that appeared on Mercola.com. Mercola.com is a junk science, fad-health website run by a Dr Mercola. He wrote an article on this study and his headline was an instant eye-catcher:
Electronic Cigarettes Contain Higher Levels of Toxic Metal Nanoparticles Than Tobacco Smoke
The article Mercola wrote is one for the books…or the trashbin. Let me give you a couple of examples, a couple of excerpts, from Mercola’s article. Remember, he is basing this piece on the study mentioned above.
“Electronic cigarettes are touted as a safer, cleaner alternative to smoking, but new research suggests there’s more to the equation than meets the eye. While they may not expose you to the thousands of toxic compounds in the average conventional cigarette, they do contain hazardous chemicals — and in some ways these entirely manmade ‘tobacco alternatives’ may be even more dangerous to your health than regular cigarettes.
“More dangerous than tobacco cigarettes.” Got that?
“To date, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has detected a potentially deadly antifreeze chemical called diethylene glycol in an electronic cigarette cartridge,2 along with tobacco-specific nitrosamines, which are linked to cancer. In the latest study, researchers hypothesized that since electronic cigarettes contain various metal components, so too might the aerosol that you inhale, and their hypothesis turned out to be right.”
The old antifreeze and diethylene glycol line; this will always be a part of the equation for as long as e-cigarettes are around. But ask yourself; if you didn’t know any better would you recommend e-cigarettes to someone after reading that?
There is oh-so-much-more of this crap in the article, I urge you to take a few minutes to read it. But if you do, you also must promise to read the only comprehensive analysis of the study to come out so far. It is a brilliant piece and I am deeply indebted to the author for not only getting it exactly right, but for saving me from having to write it. I mean, sure, I’m certainly capable of writing a commentary like the one below, but it’s not my forte. I would much rather tell you how corrupt the governments over the globe are, as well as rip apart con artists that sell a ten cent cartomizer for $6.
This commentary, by Dr. Konstantinos appears in ecigadvanced and is presented by Abby Olmstead.
Dr. Farsalinos on Metals and Nanoparticles in E-Cigarettes
The article is a commentary by Dr. Konstantinos Farsalinos who dismantles the study quite handedly. It is an important commentary that deserves, nay, ‘needs’, to be read by anyone and everyone involved in tobacco and tobacco harm reduction, as well as every smoker and Vaper on the planet.
Without Dr Konstantinos Farsalinos and his look into the methodology of the study many people would believe that it revealed a truly tragic side of vaping. Details matter, and when he makes the comparison of the amount of metals and nanoparticles found in previously used cartomizers against the levels found in each tobacco cigarette you understand just how insignificant the numbers in the study are. Dr Farsalinos did a fantastic job of putting the study into perspective.
Without giving too much away, because you really should pop over to ecigadvanced and read the entire piece, is this; e-cigarettes are far less dangerous than tobacco cigarettes and contain much less metal and nanoparticles than cigarettes. He also makes it known that while e-cigarettes are much, much, much safer than tobacco cigarettes they are not completely without risk, however small that risk might be. He also states that there needs to be more quality control and higher quality hardware, which we here at Spinfuel agree 100%.
The sad thing is, more people will read about the study and the harm they say e-cigarettes do then the commentary that puts the study into proper perspective. As vapers I believe each of us needs to be equally aware of both the study and the analysis of the study so that we are ready with the proper comeback when someone attacks our freedom to vape with “Do you know you’re sucking in dangerous and toxic levels of metal into your lungs?”
Oh, and one more take away from the both pieces; vet the company you buy from. You can be sure that e-cigarette starter kits from the scam artists mentioned above cost them no more than $4 a kit, and that the cheapest parts, and the cheapest labor, and the cheapest eLiquids were used. It pays to learn as much as you can about the products you use, in any category.
The peer-reviewed study on PLOS One, and the propaganda that is spread around the globe based on it is hardly the first one to be slanted from the start. There are plenty of examples of distortions and lies being told by the zealots as well as the corporate monsters that prey upon the addicted smokers. But this is the one that finally convinced me that we could actually lose our right to vape based on its distorted findings. If, as Dr Farsalinos points out, the study was flawed, yet peer-reviewed and then published… something is very wrong.
Look, I think every one of us would like to know if we’ve been led astray by the proponents of electronic cigarettes. There is plenty of money in this industry and there are millions of reasons to want to keep it going.
I have no doubt that if an unbiased, balanced, and honest study came out that indicated electronic cigarettes are every bit as dangerous as tobacco cigarettes there would be plenty of people on our side that would try to hide the truth, twist the facts, and lie their ass off. Trust me, we have more than our share of dirty players. But getting to the truth should be everyone’s goal.
This isn’t the 1950’s
People against ecigarettes love to tell you that there was once a time where doctors and scientists supported tobacco cigarettes. And it’s true. There were plenty of doctors being paid by tobacco companies, and plenty of scientists who would swear that cigarettes were harmless. Some lied and some actually believed it, but that just isn’t possible today. There may be some fight left about how dangerous second-hand cigarette smoke is but no one with any scientific background or common sense is going to argue about the dangers of smoking.
Are e-Cigarettes Safe or Not?
Right now, today, there is no evidence that eCigarettes are anywhere near as harmful as cigarettes, and plenty of evidence that they are much safer. But how much safer? Should eCigarette users concern themselves with this issue or not? Should we all be working toward getting off ecigarettes, or can we continue to enjoy our vaping for decades? This is information we want. At the same time we need to be able to trust the source that’s telling to go or stay.
I haven’t been a smoker for more than 20 years and I picked up vaping as a way to enjoy the vapor and the flavor, as well as what I believe is a harmless stimulant, nicotine. Should I have stayed away from ecigarettes, or am I benefitting from them? Personally, I find vaping to be a very relaxing, very pleasing way to rid myself of daily tensions. Am I fooling myself? I don’t think so, but after reading about the study (before reading the study itself) I was seriously considering it.
The above study concluded that there are metals and nanoparticles in the vapor and in the cartomizers and eLiquid, and it looked really bad for our side…until Dr Farsalinos revealed the details of the study and the comparisons that were made against tobacco cigarettes. Instead of damning electronic cigarettes to the dustbin of failed technology, the study, when taken in full and in detail, reveals that in comparison to tobacco cigarettes the amount of metal and nanoparticles are actually inconsequential. That’s a huge relief if true, but if no one had challenged the study we wouldn’t have known.
Because science has progressed by many orders of magnitude over the past 50 years is there a need for long-term studies? Unlike the 1950’s we’re much better equipped to make clear-cut determinations on these matters much faster than before. Well, maybe. I sure would like to know if the makers of Chantix knew that some people would have psychotic episodes while taking it, wouldn’t you?
Maybe Maybe Not
Cigarettes have been studied for decades and the conclusions made are factual now, not theory. The basis for the future of the electronic cigarette should be made against what we know is harmful about tobacco. If long-term studies take place then by means have at it, but right now, base the safety of ecigarettes on what is known about both.
Finally, Reveal The Motives and the Players
Lastly, it’s high time the real truth comes out about what motivates certain people to be against electronic cigarettes. For decades the enemy was tobacco cigarettes. The anti-smokers finally convinced the world that cigarette smoking was about the dumbest thing we, as a species, could do. So, here comes a product that emulates smoking and delivers nicotine in a very familiar looking way. Is this the problem? Does it boil down to finding a way, through lying and cheating, to stop e-cigarettes from being successful because it “looks” like someone in smoking?
To do away with a proven method to get people off tobacco smoking is really stupid. To tax them so that they cost the same as tobacco cigarettes are just as stupid.
The bottom line is that, without any doubt, using e-cigarettes is a whole lot harmful than using tobacco cigarettes. Why isn’t that enough?