Last week, one of our readers alerted us to a new study by the New England Journal of Medicine that seems to have caused quite a stir, within and outside the vaping community. There are a lot of e-cig related studies being carried out these days but because this one talks about the big C word, a ton of media outlets have picked up the story and run with it, without really verifying the facts.
Like you guys, all of us at the Vaper Soul team are really disappointed and frustrated by the misleading information that is being spread as a result of this study. We wanted to address the situation in a bit more detail, so if you need more info… just keep reading.
Formaldehyde in E Cigs & Cancer: The Study
First things first, so exactly what was the study about? Well, the researchers at NEJM decided to look into e-cigarettes and their potential to cause harm.
The conclusion? To quote directly from the study:
…more than 2% of the total solvent molecules have converted to formaldehyde-releasing agents, reaching concentrations higher than concentrations of nicotine. This happens when propylene glycol and glycerol are heated in the presence of oxygen to temperatures reached by commercially available e-cigarettes operating at high voltage. How formaldehyde-releasing agents behave in the respiratory tract is unknown, but formaldehyde is an International Agency for Research on Cancer group 1 carcinogen.4.
So, What’s The Problem?
The basic problem with the study is there are so many ifs and buts! Meaning, the conclusion that the study has arrived upon is actually not so conclusive at all.
Formaldehyde was released ONLY when using the e-cigs at super high temperatures. Temperatures that most vapers don’t ever use because:
- It ruins the device (We all know our devices are kind of precious to us 😉 )
- It totally ruins the taste (If I wanted a disgusting taste in my mouth, I’d smoke tobacco!)
This is common sense for most vapers, but you know, don’t let the facts get in the way of sensationalist study findings.
Gregory Conley, President of the American Vaping Association, issued the following statement in reaction to the study:
This study is largely a retread of others that have shown that vapor products, when tested with a machine under unrealistic device settings that do not mimic actual human behavior, can produce high levels of carbonyls like formaldehyde.
When the vapor device in the study was used at the realistic setting of 3.3 volts, formaldehyde was not detected. When the researchers increased the voltage to 5.0 volts and continued to have their machine take puffs for three-to-four seconds, this caused extreme overheating and the production of formaldehyde. This is known in vapor product science as the ‘dry puff phenomenon.’
Contrary to the authors’ mistaken belief, these are not settings that real life vapers actually use, as the resulting dry puffs are very unpleasant. In the real world, vapers avoid dry puffs by lowering the length of their puff as they increase voltage.
Thank you for explaining that Mr. Conley.
Vaping vs. Smoking: The Debate Rages On
As you all know there are many ex-smokers among us. You’re probably one yourself? For many of us, vaping has proved to be the better, less life-threatening option to inhaling vicious tobacco smoke day-in and day out.
At Vaper Soul, we really do believe vaping is a MUCH better alternative to smoking and we’re always encouraging smokers to quit tobacco. Unfortunately this study undoes a lot of the work we (and many others in the industry) have been doing. It’s sensationalizing the formalydehyde angle which is in fact a non-issue when you really look at the facts.
Vaping has helped many give up cigarettes. However, thanks to this study many smokers now believe vaping is no less dangerous than smoking so why bother making the switch? Argh!
Vaping: Get The Facts Right
This really isn’t the first time the media has jumped all over the wrong news about vaping. This study lacks context and definitely does not present the whole picture.
We’re feeling cranky but we also know it’s part of the battle, right?
If you’re a well established member of the vape family, we encourage you to fight for vaping and spread facts (and love).
If you’re a newbie vaper, or someone looking to learn more about vaping, we encourage you to check out the following articles:
- What is Vaping?
- Vaping 101: All About Vaping [For Vape Life Newbies]
- Facts About Vaping That Shut Down The Haters
- The Vaper’s Guide to Mechanical Mods (especially the safety tips)
What are your thoughts on this study and the drama it’s causing?