French Magazine Spreads More Fear Of E-Cigs
The French magazine 60 Million Consumers conducted a small study of some dozen or so electronic cigarettes. The analysis showed existence of a number of substances which were already known to occur in e-cigs. News of the study has bled into American press outlets as many freak out about the carcinogens in electronic cigarettes.
The study purportedly found formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, acrolein, traces of heavy metals, and other concerning constituents. This mirrors what studies all over the globe have found, but the announcement did not go into detail on the levels these substances were found at, or how the harm of these devices compared to that of smoking.
In short, they raised the alarm bells about things we already knew. Unfortunately, as is often the case, lazy media outlets are regurgitating the announcement without the slightest check into what else is out there.
There’s a couple problems with the study. First, it is an extraordinarily small sample to take 12 products from an industry of hundreds and assume they represent everyone. Second, with context, most researchers admit that although e-cigs do cause some harm (though it is rapidly appearing to be almost none), there is no doubt that smokers should transition electronic cigarettes to improve their health.
This report is a lot like telling people that choose to go skydiving that they should avoid using a parachute because it might fail. They already chose to go skydiving — much like smokers already smoke. We don’t need to know that e-cigs are harmful. We need to know if they can replace smoking and if they are less harmful while doing it.
The report from 60 Million ends with a bit of a self pat on the back. The author writes that the Director General of Health (DGS) and the Director General for Competition, Consumer Affairs and Fraud Control (DGCCRF) have both been alerted, like the magazine is doing God’s work for the people. One wonders exactly how that particular analysis came to be.