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Medical Journal Retracts Major E-Cig Study That Fuelled Bad Press For Vaping

In June 2019, University of California San Francisco researchers published a controversial paper in the American Heart Association’s scientific journal that claimed that e-cigarettes and vaping could lead to a heart attack. In this paper, the authors stated that vaping and smoking posed a similar heart attack risk and that doing both together was a very dangerous option that increased this risk.

Fierce Backlash Leads to U-Turn

Naturally, this study was the subject of fierce backlash from the vaping community and earlier this year, after months of pressure from both the vaping and scientific communities, the study was retracted. However, due to the American Heart Association’s stature as an authoritative source and the study’s coverage by major news organisations including CNN and Yahoo!, the damage had already been done.

In a statement explaining the study’s retraction, the Journal of the American Heart Association’s editors expressed their concern that the study may have been based on misleading data. "The editors are concerned that the study conclusion is unreliable," they wrote.

This potentially misleading data stems from the fact that many of the vapers that the research team analysed as part of the study were both either current or former smokers. Current and former smokers inherently have an increased risk of heart attacks, so it is hardly fair to use these people in a study on vaping and then conclude that it is vaping that leads to this higher risk, not the smoking of combustible cigarettes. Following the revelation that misleading data may have been used, several scholars at public-health schools worldwide wrote to the Journal of the American Heart Association and demanded a full and thorough investigation.

Among those who signed the letter was David Sweanor, an adjunct professor of law at the University of Ottawa who has studied the global tobacco industry for decades. He said: "There are serious problems with the peer-review process and the reluctance of journals to retract invalid work. This has helped feed the reduction in trust in academia, and science in general."

According to the journal’s editors, it was a failure of the study’s authors to revise their findings prior to a prescribed deadline which led to the publishing of the data. On Twitter, Stanton Glantz, one of the study’s lead authors, stood by his paper and took a dig at the journal’s editors, accusing them of relenting to “pressure from e-cig interests.”

Although the retraction of the study represents a win for vaping advocates, it is a bittersweet victory. The paper’s conclusions have fed the fire of fierce anti-vaping propaganda, something which critics have described as a “moral panic” over e-cigarettes.

E-Cigarette Misinformation

Its publication also could not have been timed any worse, coming at a time when rising concerns regarding the use of e-cigarettes among teenagers are already skewing public perception and spreading misinformation. Unfortunately, particularly in the United States, there is a great deal of “fake news” spreading which pegs e-cigarettes and vaping as an unhealthy and dangerous activity. This is, for the most part, completely false and has the dangerous effect of putting current smokers off and stopping them from taking up vaping, which the UK Government is encouraging smokers to do after Public Health England's e-cigarette evidence review found that e-cigs are likely much less harmful than cigarettes.

What is the Current Health Situation?

What we do know at the moment is that in the short-term, using e-cigarettes and vapes carries fewer health risks than smoking cigarettes. The United States Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) have both provided statistics that peg smoking as the leading cause of preventable deaths responsible for all kinds of illnesses such as cancers and diseases.

In addition, Public Health England (PHE) says that e-cigarettes are likely at least 95% less harmful than smoking combustible cigarettes.

Why E-Cigarettes Are Better

Cigarettes are very addictive and the smoke that they produce contains tar along with thousands of chemicals, many of which are known to cause serious disease and death. E-cigarettes, while their name is similar, produce an aerosol known as vapour that contains no tar and is, according to a growing body of scientific evidence, likely to be much less harmful than tobacco smoke.

A common way people attempt to quit smoking is to take up nicotine replacement therapies (NRTs) such as nicotine patches and gums. These deliver nicotine to the body in what is believed to be a much safer way, however, they can be ineffective for some smokers.

E-cigarettes, on the other hand, are very effective NRTs and lead to much higher rates of smoking cessation. This is not only because e-cigarettes mimic the look and feel of smoking but because the user is in complete control of how much nicotine their bodies are getting. With nicotine patches and gums, this is not the case.

According to the findings of a new study carried out in the UK, e-cigarettes are nearly twice as effective as patches and gums when it comes to helping smokers quit cigarettes.

Ready to Try E-Cigarettes?

If you’re trying to quit smoking and are interested in giving e-cigarettes a try, there is no better place for you to get started than our own online store here at Vaper Empire, Australia’s premier retailer of premium vaping products. Our online store is full of our own high-quality bespoke products, including vape starter kits, e-juice, accessories, and replacement parts.

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