The famous vaping advocate recently published work that indicates there’s no real connection between vaping and COPD
Gaining more widespread acceptance continues to be a significant challenge for the vaping industry. It can come in the form of politicians, or just general media, but everywhere you look it seems as if e-cigarettes are suffering from a bad reputation. As such, countless rumors and stories attempt to connect vaping with scary outcomes ranging from the reasonable to the outright absurd. Luckily, an overwhelming majority of these concerns have been proven to be false, with little to no evidence backing up any claims.
Unfortunately, their lack of validity doesn’t seem to prevent the spread of harmful information, and as a result vaping is continually being undermined as a harm reduction and smoking cessation tool. That’s why it’s so important that physicians like Dr. Konstantinos Farsalinos are doing the right thing and double checking research that may be cutting corners to produce flashier results. He’s back with another example of poorly designed research, and how this false information is having massive consequences for an important health aid.
The Original Research
This time he’s taking aim at a study published on the American Thoracic Society’s Website which claims to tie vaping with increased levels of COPD. The researchers began by taking the histories of 17 vapers suffering from COPD. According to the researchers they wanted to understand what happened when vaping was incorporated. The claimed their data suggests the vaping itself had a much more significant role in the diagnosis of COPD than previously thought.
This was the red flag the first got Dr. Farsalinos interested in this particular study. People in the vaping community know him as someone that does the right thing and accurately portray the impact of e-cigarettes and the many benefits they offer. It’s his work, and evidence from others such as Public Health England, that help more people come around to the idea that vaping is much safer than smoking. In fact, most researchers are beginning to agree e-cigarettes are at least 95% safer than smoking.
Farsalinos’ Critical Analysis
Likely the most obvious indication that the ATS study was less than perfect was the story of a retired military man who had smoked most of his life. According to their interviews, he regularly smoked between three and four packs of cigarettes a day from the age of 16 on; roundabout 70 cigarettes a day for half a century. Then back in 2001, he was formally diagnosed with COPD, but even this did not slow his smoking habit. But in 2011 he got a more severe diagnosis with the doctors finding cancer in his larynx. At this point, he did decide to significantly reduce the amount he was smoking, down to only a few a day, but he didn’t quit outright. His treatments were successful, and once he was told that he was cancer free, he immediately began smoking three or more packs a day once again.
That was until a few years later when he finally tried an e-cigarette for the first time. While he didn’t have a bad experience with it, he ultimately found no reason to continue and reverted to smoking. As his health and breathing got worse, he was put on oxygen therapy, requiring him to quit lighting up. This is when vaping finally stuck, and he was able to successfully stay cigarette free for the last several years, with noticeable improvements in his health.
This proved to be all Dr. Farsalinos needed to understand where these results came from: “The above, is a real case of a smoker who developed serious medical conditions BEFORE he initiated e-cigarette use. People who smoke and develop smoking-related disease at some point become desperate and try e-cigarettes as an aid to quit smoking.” But that does not mean there is any proof of a link between vaping and smoking-related disease.
In fact, he actually finds a few sentences within the original report that seemingly contradict everything the research is trying to conclude, “Due to the fact that the data is cross-sectional, it is unknown whether E-cigs could contribute to COPD development, or if people who have COPD are more likely to use E-cigs (possibly as a harm reduction method).” More extensive selections of research also indicate that vapes are actually extremely useful as harm reduction and smoking cessation aids. So it’s unclear precisely how this group of researcher’s justified these claims.
Getting a more substantial portion of the population to accept vaping for its benefits is a significant key to fighting the smoking epidemic. It’s especially important at a time when legislators around the country and world are working to figure out exactly how to properly regulate e-cigarettes. That’s why work like this from Dr. Farsalinos is such an essential piece of the puzzle. We must continue to call out poorly structured research, and spread information that has been tested and checked for error by multiple sources.
We know that vaping is at least 95% safer than smoking, and research has shown the excess lifetime cancer risk of a vaper is about 57,000 times lower than a smoker. It’s even been shown to be the most successful smoking cessation tool that we currently have available. That’s why it’s so important to support vaping instead of undermining it. If we genuinely want to rid the world of smoking once and for all, we should be doing everything we can to legitimize vaping for its harm reduction and smoking cessation value.
Are you glad someone like Dr. Farsalinos is out there doing replication studies? What do you think the point of undermining vaping is? What’s the most effective way to support the smoking cessation and harm reduction value of e-cigarettes? Let us know what you think in the comments, and don’t forget to check back here or join our Facebook and Twitter communities for more news and articles.