Ash and the Irish Nanny State
November 21, 2016
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Don’t ignite your e-cigs.

It was only a matter of time of course but this morning (St Stephen’s Day), the Journal reports that, “E-cigarettes could do as much damage to gums as regular cigarettes.”

It has amazed me over the last twelve years, how tobacco control always manages to conjure up a convenient study to show whatever they wish us to believe to be true at any given time. In this case,  some half-way credible condemnation to counter the growing popularity of e-cigarettes was needed as pubs all over the country are welcoming vapors.

So this study, published in cancer journal Oncotarget, was led by Irfan Rahman, Ph.D. professor of Environmental Medicine at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry in New York, and is the first scientific study to address e-cigarettes and their detrimental effect on oral health on cellular and molecular levels. As ever with these things, the devil is in the detail so I went hunting for the original study myself.

After the usual drivel-infested introduction, the Professor gets to the nub of his study. “We showed that when the vapors from an e-cigarette are burned, it causes cells to release inflammatory proteins, which in turn aggravate stress within cells, resulting in damage that could lead to various oral diseases,” explained Rahman. So the lad “burned,” the vapor in an e-cig to achieve his objective. The British Dictionary defines the verb to burn as, ’cause to be destroyed by fire.’ I have no doubt that if you exposed the whole e-cigarette to a lot of hot flames the resultant smoke from the molten plastic would be quite toxic.

But it appears the Professor does not understand the humble e-cigarette at all. Nothing is burned so no smoke is generated by these devices. For years we have been lectured at about the smoke from lit tobacco and indeed studies have shown that the smoke from bonfires, coal fires and even barbaques as well is  toxic in nature and contains all the carcinogens. The risks of smoking real tobacco are all squarely down to the smoke and not the tobacco itself. But, as most of us know, e-cigs are not lit, ignited or burned in any way. So this particular Professor mis-used the product for his own ends. He further demonstrates his ignorance when he refers to someone as, “Smoking e-cigarettes.” There is no smoke without fire Professor and with e-cigs, there is no fire.

Like I said, this is yet another ‘convenient’ study by tobacco control which hopes to damn the use of e-cigarettes and yet it is so easy to dismiss when you do a little digging. There was a report earlier this year of a guy in the UK who was injured when his re-charging e-cig exploded. In that case it turned out he was using a recharger from an old mobile phone, something the manufacturers always warn against. But perhaps this was the source of fire that Professor Rahman used to burn the vapor for his experiment, who knows.