(Semi-)Objective Study Finds ‘No Justification’ for Banning E-Cigarettes Indoors, in Public Places

Does it matter that the study was funded by the vaping communities?

E cig vaping (Getty)

E-cig vaping (Getty)

Good news for the vaping community! A new study, produced by the environmental health consulting firm CHANGE LLC, claims that the secondhand risks from e-cigarette vapors are minuscule, and we should all just be chill about co-workers using them in the office.

Study abstract:

Comparisons of pollutant concentrations were made between e-cigarette vapor and tobacco smoke samples. Pollutants included VOCs, carbonyls, PAHs, nicotine, TSNAs, and glycols. From these results, risk analyses were conducted based on dilution into a 40 m3 room and standard toxicological data. Non-cancer risk analysis revealed “No Significant Risk” of harm to human health for vapor samples from e-liquids (A-D).

Before we get too excited, the study was contracted for $100,000 by the National Vapers Club from solicited donations at Vaping Expos. And “non-cancer risk analysis” is sort of a shady term: does that mean that checking for the risk of cancer in secondhand vapors wasn’t a factor in the study?

If we had to worry about tobacco lobbyists and spin doctors before, now we’re facing a new breed of anti-smoking, pro-vaping flack. Like the website Liberty Flights, which has a bunch of very convincing quotes from doctors saying stuff like:

“This study demonstrates that the risks of secondhand vapor from electronic cigarette use are very small in comparison to those associated with secondhand tobacco smoke. While secondhand smoke must be eliminated in workplaces and public places, the current data provide no justification for eliminating electronic cigarette use in these places.” —Dr. Michael Siegel of Boston University School of Public Health

Except that Liberty Flights is a vaping company that “specialize[s] in quality Electronic cigarettes and e liquids as well as other accessories such as atomizers, cones, batteries, chargers, cases and mods.” It also refers to the unregulated Chinese-produced nicotine liquid as “E juice,” which frankly sounds a lot funner than what it actually is.

Look, we’re not saying that this study is inherently biased. We’re just saying we’d feel better if there was a study presented by a lab that wasn’t being paid by an organization that has a stake in the outcome. It generally looks pretty good for the e-cig argument, but then again, the FCC still hasn’t been allowed to conduct its own review, which keeps the relative potential risk factors in these products pretty much a question mark.

(Semi-)Objective Study Finds ‘No Justification’ for Banning E-Cigarettes Indoors, in Public Places