Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Yet Another Bad Press Release and the Methodology is Suspect

In EurekaAlert!, there is a press release titled "Exposure to Electronic Cigarettes Impairs Pulmonary Anti-Bacterial and Anti-Viral Defenses in a Mouse Model" that comes with all the shock and terror that we have come to expect from polarized issues.  National and state governments are busy trying to regulate Electronic Cigarettes for obvious reasons such as taxes and the vapor "looks like" smoke, yet it is only water vapor.

The press release states in the second paragraph:
"E-cigarettes are an emerging public health health concern, as they gain popularity among current and former smokers as well as those who have never smoked, including teenagers. "
Out of the gate, there is a sense of a problem and urgency. This new pandemic is poised to do what exactly?
"Our findings suggest that e-cigarettes are not neutral in terms of the effects on the lungs," 
Okay, so not neutral in the sense of what?  Are Electronic Cigarettes equal to or worse than combustible cigarettes?
"We have observed that they increase the susceptibility to respiratory infections in the mouse models. This warrants further study in susceptible individuals, such as COPD patients who have switched from cigarettes to e-cigarettes or to new users of e-cigarettes who may have never used cigarettes." 
So are we saying that Electron Cigarettes have more harmful ingredients than combustible cigarettes?
"Cigarette smoke contains 1014 free radicals per puff. Though e-cigarette vapor contains far fewer free radicals than cigarette smoke - one percent as much - their presence in e-cigarettes still suggests potential health risks that merit further study, the researchers say."
Well, that 1014 is a little off, more like 10^14 vs 7x10^11 for vapor per the paper:
"Cigarette smoke contains 1014 free radicals per puff [13], and is a potent source of oxidative stress. Many free radicals are produced during combustion of tobacco, and since E-cigs do not contain any combustion products, it has been assumed that E-cigs will have very low levels of free radicals. We determined that E-cig vapor contains 7x1011 free radicals per puff and elicits a significant increase in oxidative stress. While this concentration is several orders of magnitude lower than in cigarette smoke, it is nonetheless a substantial number of free radicals that could be potentially toxic to cells. "
 So, almost 1000x less free radicals merits further study. Odd, looking for a preconceived conclusion?
"The U.S. Food and Drug Administration last spring announced that it was going to begin regulating e-cigarettes. E-cigarette sales are projected to overtake cigarette sales in the next decade. Teen use of e-cigarettes outpaces cigarette use, according to a recent survey released by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. And, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than one-quarter million teenagers who reported never having smoked a cigarette reported using e-cigarettes in 2013."
And, yet many studies say the absolute opposite:
Nonsmoking teens’ interest in e-cigarettes was very low (mean 0.41±0.14[SE] on 0-10 scale). Adult smokers’ interest (1.73±0.10), while modest, was significantly higher overall (p<0.0001) and for each flavor (most p-values<0.0001). Teen interest did not vary by flavor (p=0.75), but adult interest did (p<0.0001). Past-30-day adult e-cigarette users had the greatest interest in e-cigarettes, and their interest was most affected by flavor. Adults who never tried e-cigarettes had the lowest interest, yet still higher than nonsmoking teens’ interest (p<0.0001)."

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