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California study finds only healthful chemicals in e-cig vapor!

Fed up with lack of information about e-cigarettes, San Diego's Channel 10 decided to run its own test.

They engaged a researcher from the University of California at Riverside, one who has published reports in the past finding e-cigs dangerous, and asked her to go to a vape shop, buy an e-cig, and test it. It was announced that results would be published Thursday evening, January 30, at 11 pm, Pacific Standard Time. NEWS FLASH: Findings show e-cig vapor contains healthful chemicals. See below!

In preparation for the big unveiling of her results, the news outlet consulted UC San Francisco professor Stanton Glantz, known for his strong stance against e-cigs, for some unbiased information about the product. Predictably, Glantz warned of dire perils.

One of the perils he selected for special emphasis was the infamous "dual use". E-cigarettes don't help you quit smoking because some people use cigarettes and e-cigarettes at the same time. Glantz did not say how he knows these peope are not employing a tiered reduction, gradually replacing smoking with vaping. He simply states flatly that they are not really quitting. He states that e-cigs adverts cause "relapses", without explaining how he gains knowledge of the inward motivations of his subjects, or indeed of any specifics.

The article quotes Glantz as saying that cigarette smoking is up among teenagers, which is actually not the case, and this is probably a misquote. Although Glantz's blog is often sloppy with its logic, he certainly knows that what has risen is vaping of e-cigs, not smoking of cigarettes, and indeed the study cited as proof of his comment is the CDC report from last Fall, announcing with horror the rise of teen vaping. Cigarette smoking has actually dropped during the same period, according to a University of Michigan study released later, and Glantz certainly knows this. But he does not do the obvious math: if vaping rose while smoking dropped, vaping could not possibly be a gateway product for smoking.

The researcher Channel 10 has engaged for its forthcoming study is Prue Talbot of the Riverside campus of the University of California. Three years ago, Talbot's lab published results of a 2010 study that examined "design, accuracy and clarity of labeling, nicotine content, leakiness, defective parts, disposal, errors in filling orders, instruction manual quality and advertising." Interestingly, none of these issues relates to the toxicity of the vapor produced by e-cigarettes, yet the report concludes that claims of safety are "dubious at best". The specific findings mentioned in the report relate to labeling, leakage, disposal, and the lack of regulation. The first three are peripheral issues and the fourth is the fault of inactive regulators, not e-cig producers.

UPDATE, 11 PM ON 30 JANUARY, 2014: The results are in. In one of the e-cigs tested, Talbot's lab found "small amounts" (no actual concentrations are mentioned, which is typical of press commentary on vaping dangers) of copper, calcium, and potassium. Let's look at the dangers these chemicals pose.

"Copper is an essential mineral required by the body for bone and connective tissue production, and for coding specific enzymes that range in function from eliminating free radicals to producing melanin." (Source: healthaliciousness.com)

"Calcium is essential for strong bones and teeth. Calcium deficiency can lead to disorders like osteoporosis (brittle bones). Good sources of calcium include dairy foods and calcium-fortified products, such as soymilk and breakfast cereals." And apparently e-cigs, according to Talbot. (Source: an Australian health agency)

Potassium. "Studies suggest boosting your potassium intake and curbing salt and sodium can slash your stroke risk by 21% and may also lower your odds of developing heart disease. Potassium, a mineral, works by protecting blood vessels from oxidative damage and keeps vessel walls from thickening. Adults should aim to get 4,700 mg of potassium a day." (Source: health.com)

The other e-cig Talbot tested contained "nano-particles of tin". ("nano-" = 'infinitesimally small') Tin gets into the body in small amounts whenever we eat foods preserved in tin cans. While not as healthful as calcium, potassium, and copper, it's ingestion is tolerated by the FDA at low levels (as with many of the chemicals vaping-ban supporters fret about). The US National Institutes of Health (NIH) declares that "the Provisional Tolerable Weekly Intake for tin is 14 mg/kg body weight and recommended maximum permissible levels of tin in food are typically 250 mg/kg (200 mg/kg UK) for solid foods and 150 mg/kg for beverages.... There is little evidence for an association between the consumption of food containing tin at concentrations up to 200 ppm and significant acute adverse gastrointestinal effects."

Thanks are due to the Channel 10 investigative team and to Professors Glantz and Talbot for this report vindicating e-cigarette vapor and finding that, far from containing harmful chemicals, it contains substances that promote health.

"Talbot says more research is needed." Hmmmm... Perhaps in the hope that something harmful can be found.

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