The lead scientist in a recent e-cigarette study recently issued a correction that the study did not actually find that e-cigarette vapor is as harmful as cigarette smoke.
Jessica Wang-Rodriguez, MD, was the top researcher in an e-cigarette study that was published in Oral Oncology. The study claimed that two e-cigarette products could damage cells in a way that could cause cancer.
The study was heavily criticized around the country because it did not really reflect the real world use of e-cigarettes. In fact, the study’s press released stated that it did not try to mimic the amount of vapor that an e-cig user would actually receive. Still, the major media presented the findings of the study as if it proved that e-cigarettes are dangerous and cause cancer.
The doctor wrote that regardless of how the news media spun the story, lab experiments never found that e-cig vapor is as harmful as cigarette smoke. One phase of the study found that cigarette smoke killed cells much faster. She added that similar cell damage mechanisms were seen from regular e-cigarette smoke and e-vapor. She added that more research is needed to truly understand the long term health effects of e-cigarette use.
Even with the correction, the media has run with some of the more alarming comments by the doctor when the press release came out. One of these was ‘e-cigarettes are no better than smoking cigarettes.’ That quote was picked up in the Daily Telegraph with this headline: ‘E-cigs are no safer than smoking tobacco, scientists warn.’ A medical statistician named Adam Jacobs wrote that that journalist’s article was the most ill-informed piece of health journalism of the year.
The study has come under harsh criticism from other public health professionals. One, Michael Siegel, MD, said such a conclusion is baseless and actually harms public health, as it undermines decades of public health education about the grave dangers of smoking cigarettes.