The recent study on electronic cigarette flavorings by Harvard University has taken over social media. The Harvard article alone has over 250,000 shares on Facebook alone, that doesn’t include the hundreds of thousands of shares that were accumulated between different news sources that covered this article. If one in every ten users shared that article, that means over 3.5 million plus people (more than likely much higher) have seen the released study. At one point this afternoon, the Harvard study was the number one trending news article on Facebook. This is not the kind of attention that electronic cigarettes need at a critical time when the FDA’s deeming regulations are currently up for review by OMB.
The Harvard study claims that almost all electronic cigarette companies are selling e-juice containing diacetyl, acetyl propionyl, and acetoin. Harvard’s study tested 51 unique e-liquids, though the e-liquids that were tested have not been disclosed. Of the 51 e-liquids tested, one or more of the three noted chemicals were found in 92 percent of the tested liquids.
While that information may be alarming, this article is not going to talk about the health effects of diacetly, acetyl propionyl, or acetoin. This article is is intended to address the misleading headlines that Harvard has been using in the distribution of this study.
Harvard titled their recent post “Harvard Study Finds That E-Cigarette Flavors Cause Lung Disease”. This title is extremely misleading, and a large number of smokers will see this type of post and immediately dismiss electronic cigarettes. If you do not have prior knowledge of electronic cigarettes, this type of post would surely push you away from making the switch.
Combustible Cigarettes Contain Diacetly, Acetyl Propionyl, and Acetoin
Another key point that the Harvard Study fails to mention is the fact that combustible cigarettes also contain these three chemicals. Dr. Farsalinos, a well respected doctor and active e-cigarette researcher, stated that “tobacco cigarette smoke contains high levels of diacetyl and acetyl propionyl, on average 100 and 10 times higher,” compared to your standard electronic cigarette. The exclusion of this data from Harvard’s study proposes that electronic cigarettes pose a greater risk than combustible tobacco cigarettes, which according to studies is not the least bit true.
Dr. Farsalinos conducted a study on these chemicals in both electronic cigarettes and tobacco cigarettes in 2014 and that study was published in the Nicotine and Tobacco Journal.
Tobacco Cigarettes, On Average, Contain 100 and 10 Times Higher Levels Of These Three Chemicals
So now that it is known that tobacco cigarettes contain much higher levels of these three chemicals, what research has been conducted on these three chemicals in tobacco cigarettes? Well, according to Critical Reviews in Toxicology “smoking has not been shown to be a risk for bronchiolitis (“popcorn lung”). Now that we know cigarettes contain, on average, a 100 and 10 times higher levels of these chemicals, why is Harvard stating that e-liquid flavors cause bonchiolitis, but smoking itself has not been linked to “popcorn lung”?
Please note that we are not defending the use of these three chemicals, we are just bringing awareness to the fact that the Harvard study is trying to cause public panic. Dr. Farsalinos summarizes Harvard’s mission of this study perfectly, stating that Harvard’s article is
“creating false impressions and exaggerates the potential risk from diacetyl and acetyl propionyl exposure through e-cigarettes. They failed to mention that these chemicals are present in tobacco cigarette smoke and violated a classical toxicological principle that the amount determines the toxicity and the risk.”
What do you think? Leave a comment below and let us know your opinion!