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Attention Mice: Do Not Vape!

If you are a mouse reading this, take warning. Vaping can cause a tiny increase in your level of susceptibility to pulmonary dysfunction. Researchers at Johns Hopkins University have published a study in the scientific journal PLOS, showing that they have managed to produce mice whose immune systems have reduced ability to withstand infection, by placing the mice in an environment of e-cig vapor.

Of course the danger is “orders of magnitude lower” than that of cigarette smoking, but that fact only makes it into one of the concluding paragraphs of the study. “I can't say that it's better or worse,” says the lead researcher of the study with mind-numbing myopia, in an interview with The Verge. The headlines report that vaping has been found dangerous, and that is greedily picked up by a headline-hungry press. Such headlines are certain to exacerbate the already significant decline in public confidence in vaping as less harmful than smoking, and to keep an undetermined number of hapless smokers on the path to doom, even though a much less harmful option is available.

The cheers from the boardrooms of Winston-Salem could be heard all the way to Chicago! Johns Hopkins and PLOS have granted a magnificent boon to the Big Tobacco industry.

At least the researchers created a facsimile of a real-life vaping environment. They didn't administer the chemicals by injection or suppository, the kind of trick one might expect from the University of Portland research team that triumphantly showed last week that a vaping practice nobody ever engages in would be dangerous if anybody did it. That was last week's scare headline, and the storm of informed negative comment has dismissed the scare from everything except the public mind.

This week's scare, courtesy of Johns Hopkins/PLOS, will certainly have its impact on the public mind, and its positive impact on Big Tobacco fortunes, and its negative impact on cigarette-related death tolls. The fine print about how it's a trace level will remain a well-kept secret, courtesy of the CDC and UCSF.

Subheading in article from The Verge: “The study doesn't say if this is better or worse than cigarette smoke.”

OH COME ON, GET REAL! The researchers and journalists are cordially invited to join the real world, where obvious conclusions can be drawn even before dozens of confirming studies come out of other labs. And need to be drawn, given that people are dying from cigarette smoke, as the CDC never tires of remiding us. And yet they insist on doing nothing, with callous disregard for these lives.

If that many people were dying on a regular basis from, say, radon in their households, would they call for more studies before taking the action most likely to lower the danger? Of course not!

So Big Tobacco execs can sleep better tonight, knowing that a coalition of scientists, bureaucrats, and journalists has a plan for keeping people smoking.