While many dedicated scientific researchers have worked to demonstrate e-cigs are much safer than tobacco, the anti-vaping establishment is also highly vocal. In this latter camp, Mark Rubinstein is a researcher at the University of California. He recently stated that vapour from electronic cigarettes contains “toxic chemicals found in traditional cigarette smoke”.
The Californian study results were based on urine samples obtained from non-smokers, vaping enthusiasts, and those who both vape and smoke. The results seemed to indicate the presence of volatile organic compounds in the urine of vapers that could be harmful to health.
However, the rates of many compounds, including ethylene oxide, were lower in vapers than in the control group and the group who both smoked and vaped.
A biased study
For Rubinstein and his team, these results were deemed sufficient to question the benefits of e-cigarettes compared to smoking, but the bias in the study is evident and multi-faceted.
Among these, we can see a lack of comparison with a group of classic smokers, that would no doubt present significantly elevated rates of toxic compounds compared to those of vapers.
Also of note, the fact that urine samples were studied rather than the vapour emitted by the device itself. The presence of toxic substances would therefore be explained by external factors.
A number of studies indicate that smoking marijuana, for example, could explain the presence of these same toxic compounds in urine samples. Knowing that vaping enthusiasts may also be consumers of cannabis products, is it possible to come to a conclusion on the health effects of e-cigarettes with data that is not representative?
It seems that many research funding bodies are invested in finding evidence that e-cigarettes are harmful to health. To determine if this is true, we’ll have to wait for complementary and more reliable studies comparing vaping to smoking, excluding factors that can skew results. One thing is sure, vaping will not go gently into the night!