Unsubstantiated, non-peer reviewed study becomes the latest headline to smear vaping

Does anyone even read anymore? In doing my usual Google-Fu about the issues facing the vaping industry, one of the biggest headlines in my feed was from Newsweek, stating: “Study Links E-cigs to Heart Attack and Stroke—but There’s More to It.”

SMEAR CAMPAIGN - Unsubstantiated, non-peer reviewed study becomes the latest headline to smear vaping

To the alarmists, that sentence is probably where the research ended. They’d put this in their pocket to provide ammunition for baseless claims against vape products. You know, the ones that always start with “You know, I read somewhere that…” before trailing off into myths and falsehoods.

Since Newsweek is thorough, the lead sentence is even more attention-grabbing: “People who smoke e-cigarettes are more likely to suffer from conditions including heart disease and stroke, research has suggested.


[audible sigh]


If you want to hear more, go to Newsweek and read the story yourself. If you’d rather just react and regurgitate more uneducated rhetoric, feel free to stop reading – you probably have all the “hard evidence” you need to start another bar argument against vaping.


Those who actually read the article and analyzed the research quickly learned that this “world-changing” headline was about a preliminary study that had not been peer reviewed, and some experts outside of this study don’t see a direct connection between vaping and cardiovascular concerns. Instead, they see past behaviors and habits (you know… like smoking) as a likely cause of these issues.


Yet, there the headline sits, right near the penthouse of my newsfeed.

The researchers studied 2016 data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System survey, carried out each year by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It found that 66,795 respondents used e-cigarettes regularly, while 343,856 had never vaped. They also took into account information on the age and sex of participants, whether they smoked, had diabetes, how much they exercised and even their BMI. (Body Mass Index)

What the story doesn’t account for is the obvious. Vapers are, by nature, more likely to smoke tobacco, leading to the possible higher chance of stroke or coronary heart disease. While researchers are satisfied with their findings thus far, one of the authors also acknowledged that his study had several limitations – most notably in how their findings don’t prove any cause for the disease, just that there are associations.


Also (ahem) worth mentioning? Vaping and vape devices weren’t quantified in the data – simply labeling as “smoker” and “non-smoker.”


So, effectively, this study lets us know what’s already been established – smoking is connected to stroke and coronary heart disease. And since the lion’s share of current vapers are former smokers, they are likely at higher risk of these diseases than those who never partook in tobacco.


(I sincerely hope I can someday be awarded grant money to discover things that have already been well-documented. Seems like a good way to make a living, if not an actual difference.)


Snark aside, all of us here at Spinfuel VAPE are well-aware of the fact that there’s still plenty we don’t know about vaping. We know the long-term effects have yet to come to light. And we realize the obvious fact that NOT inhaling anything is 100% safer than doing so.


But we also know how we feel. How we smell. How our other senses have returned to normal. How we’re more energetic. And how we stopped coughing and wheezing on slight inclines once we made the switch. And these results are far more telling than any of the research highlighted above.


To be fair, Newsweek was simply reporting on a “hot button” topic that is all-but-guaranteed to make headlines and drive clicks. We get it. That’s how it appeared so high in my newsfeed.


But what we’ll never understand is why a reputable news outlet would drive those clicks with such a misleading headline, implying the research proved a direct connection between vaping and those health concerns.


Because, like so many other inflammatory, anti-vaping articles, it didn’t.