New E-Cig Study Hypes Formaldehyde Fears Based on Faulty Experiments

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Study also finds that vapor products, when used under realistic conditions, produce no detectable levels of formaldehyde.
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WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, the American Vaping Association, a leading advocate for the benefits of vapor products such as electronic cigarettes, joined with the anti-smoking organization Smokefree Pennsylvania, to react to the release of a new letter published in the New England Journal of Medicine*. The letter reports the results from a study that purports to show that while vapor products used at a low voltage (3.3 volts**) produce no detectable levels of formaldehyde, using the same device at a higher voltage (5.0 volts) produces formaldehyde in amounts larger than are found in cigarette smoke.However, as revealed below, the truth behind the study is that the high levels of formaldehyde were only found because the authors used extremely inappropriate testing methods.

In addition to the below comments, Clive Bates, the former head of the United Kingdom’s largest anti-smoking charity, Action on Smoking & Health, has published a scathing letter that he sent to the authors of the study strongly criticizing the study’s methodology and conclusions.

Bill Godshall, longtime anti-smoking activist and the Executive Director of Smokefree Pennsylvania, issued the following statement:

“Just as cigarette smoking machines were wrong about ‘low tar’ cigarettes decades ago because they didn’t resemble human smoking, this study’s findings are wrong because their vaping machine experiment didn’t resemble human vaping.

“By setting their machine to repeatedly take three-to-four second puffs at 5.0 volts, the researchers overheated the vaporizer. Vapers call this the ‘dry puff phenomenon,’ and don’t do it due to the very harsh and awful taste.”By making a false assumption and by multiplying that false assumption over and over, the researchers got it all wrong. There is no scientific evidence that e-cigs increase risks for cancer or any other disease.

“The authors should publish a letter in the journal clarifying that their study tested vapor products under unrealistic conditions that went against published research study protocols. This study is going to cause real harm to public health, as many smokers will read this study and incorrectly decide that continuing to inhale burning smoke into their lungs may be safer than vaping.”

Gregory Conley, President of the American Vaping Association, issued the following statement:

“This study is largely a retread of others that have shown that vapor products, when tested with a machine under unrealistic device settings that do not mimic actual human behavior, can produce high levels of carbonyls like formaldehyde.

“When the vapor device in the study was used at the realistic setting of 3.3 volts, formaldehyde was not detected. When the researchers increased the voltage to 5.0 volts and continued to have their machine take puffs for three-to-four seconds, this caused extreme overheating and the production of formaldehyde. This is known in vapor product science as the ‘dry puff phenomenon.’

“Contrary to the authors’ mistaken belief, these are not settings that real life vapers actually use, as the resulting dry puffs are very unpleasant. In the real world, vapers avoid dry puffs by lowering the length of their puff as they increase voltage.”

* The title of the study is “Hidden Formaldehyde in E-Cigarette Aerosols” and its lead author is Prof. David Peyton of Portland State University. The text of this study is embargoed until 5 PM EST.

** This release originally indicated 3.7 volts. The authors actually reported 3.3 volts.

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About Smokefree Pennsylvania:
Since 1990, Smokefree Pennsylvania has advocated local, state and federal policies to ban smoking in workplaces, stop cigarette marketing to youth, increase cigarette tax rates, hold cigarette companies accountable in civil court, and help smokers quit. During the past decade, Smokefree Pennsylvania has been educating the public that cigarettes are 100 times more hazardous than all smokefree tobacco/nicotine alternatives, including smokeless tobacco, nicotine gums, lozenges, patches, inhalers, and e-cigarettes.

About the American Vaping Association:
The American Vaping Association is a nonprofit organization that advocates for small- and medium-sized businesses in the rapidly growing vaping and electronic cigarette industry. We are dedicated to educating the public and government officials about financial and public health benefits offered by vapor products, which are battery-powered devices that heat a liquid nicotine or nicotine-free solution and create an inhalable vapor.
Contacts: Gregory Conley (AVA) / Bill Godshall (Smokefree Pennsylvania)
Tel: 609-947-8059 / 412-351-5880
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