Gothamist Article Digs Deep On E-Cigs

Klaus Kneale
by Klaus Kneale
January 23, 2013

A deceptively titled article on the Gothamist leads to a surprisingly even handed article about electronic cigarettes. The headline reads Unregulated, Addictive, And Enticing: E-Cigarettes Suck In Smokers But Risks Remain. It certainly sounds like an article designed to warn its audience against the dangers of this unchecked market.  However, it ultimately strikes a decent balance falling — if anything —  slightly on the side of electronic cigarettes.

You can read the article here.

The Gothamist is a New York City blog focusing on the lifestyle and goings on in the metropolis.  Electronic cigarettes have grown popular in the city due to the tight quarters, excessive anti-smoking laws, and massive cigarette taxes.  The article highlights these advantages, but focuses most on the arguments being made for or against the open marketing of electronic cigarettes.

Despite the title and a lack of a few details a bit more obvious to individuals familiar with the research being done on electronic cigarettes, the article does a good job of framing the e-cig atmosphere.  That’s not to say that a few bits of the article aren’t missing out on some clarifying details.

The most obvious bit of information missing is a basic understanding of nicotine.  Nicotine, like most drugs, has both positive and negative side effects.  Nicotine is not a carcinogen though it is addictive.  But addictiveness by itself isn’t a serious problem.  Nicotine assists weight loss, improves focus, memory, and reaction time, and relieves stress.  A similar less addictive drug that does much the same is caffeine.

The single greatest point to be made for electronic cigarettes seems absent in the article.  Experts say that by removing the smoke from the use of nicotine, 96-98% of the problems associated with cigarette use go away.  Although the writer mentions the value of reduced harm programming in response to the failure of quit or die programming, this fact doesn’t really seem to be made clear.

I’m inclined to believe the headline was an editor’s way of making the piece something more likely to be clicked on.  At least, I hope a writer, having done as much research as this one did for the piece, didn’t knowingly allow such a misleading headline to run.  This is negligent work — especially in an age where many people online might only read the headline and make decisions without reading the actual article.


27 Responses to “Gothamist Article Digs Deep On E-Cigs”

      mongrel on January 23rd, 2013 7:22 pm

      Quite a long read there. I feel like it was leaning gnerally against e-cigarettes, however it is certainly not bad to have caution when looking at some of the claims made about e-cigs.

        saboinia on January 23rd, 2013 7:32 pm

        right is not nicoteene is the other stuff that causes cancer in real ciggies

          Anthony on January 24th, 2013 7:35 am

          I hope they do not ban ecigs.

            brock pollard on January 25th, 2013 3:44 am


              Nathaniel on January 25th, 2013 3:56 am

              I really hope people that dont have any idea how e-cigs help people ban them so I get screwed into having to smoke again!

                slap_maxwell on January 25th, 2013 5:41 am

                Years ago I used to write a weekly column and semi-regular features for the SF Bay Guardian. You’re correct; typically either editors or headline writers will name or re-name a piece –more often than not to the chagrin of the writer. 0.o

                  Philippe Caron-Boutin on January 25th, 2013 9:08 am


                    Amanda on January 25th, 2013 12:28 pm

                    Good read…great job

                      Vince on January 25th, 2013 9:49 pm

                      It was awesome having them mention our brand – Bedford Slims – in that article.

                        Mike on January 26th, 2013 3:39 am

                        The slightest fear of banning electronic cigarettes is the best reason to learn how to build mods and mix juice! I personally don’t think a ban is going to happen. Interesting article though.

                          crystalT64 on January 27th, 2013 7:35 pm

                          omg i will be so ****** if they outlaw vaping after smoking for 25+ years this is the only thing that has worked for me !!!!

                            Lincoln Pennell on January 27th, 2013 11:16 pm


                              Kristina Pennell on January 27th, 2013 11:43 pm


                                mrcrunch08 on January 28th, 2013 5:01 am

                                Thanks for the blog. Thats info alot of nonvapers need to know.

                                  Karla Lyle (MsV8PR) on January 28th, 2013 12:26 pm

                                  Just another mis-informed article. seems there are a lot of them out there. Such a shame.

                                    brock pollard on January 30th, 2013 6:15 pm

                                    cool chillin like matt dillon on penicillin

                                      Courtney on February 2nd, 2013 12:06 am

                                      nice article, with thousands of toxins in reg cigs, id like to see what they truly find in ecigs… im sure it couldnt match

                                        John "Shub" Fellhoelter on February 2nd, 2013 3:54 pm

                                        They should ban regular cigarettes before banning e-cigarettes… But big business and government have their hands in the mix too much…
                                        They should PROMOTE ecigs

                                          Holden on February 6th, 2013 5:05 am

                                          Wow, Looks Great,Love it

                                            Holden on February 7th, 2013 5:13 am


                                              imtheboss on February 14th, 2013 7:48 pm

                                              cool. Nice job on the article

                                                Chad on March 2nd, 2013 6:37 am

                                                This was a really good read. Thanks!

                                                  Aaron on March 11th, 2013 3:06 pm

                                                  Good blog. Thanks for the link

                                                    RCO67 on March 23rd, 2013 12:41 pm

                                                    Thanks. Nice read and yes, somewhat even handed.

                                                      Michael Troester on May 7th, 2013 5:04 pm

                                                      I’m pretty sure nicotine IS a carninogen. Here are some refs from wikipedia

                                                      1. Hecht SS, Hoffmann D (March 1985). “Nicotine-derived N-Nitrosamines and Tobacco-related Cancer: Current Status and Future Directions”. Cancer Research 45 935-44.
                                                      2. Hecht SS (July 1999). “Tobacco smoke carcinogens and lung cancer”. J. Natl. Cancer Inst. 91 (14): 1194–210.doi:10.1093/jnci/91.14.1194. PMID 10413421.
                                                      3. Wu WK, Cho CH (April 2004). “The pharmacological actions of nicotine on the gastrointestinal tract”. J. Pharmacol. Sci. 94 (4): 348–58.doi:10.1254/jphs.94.348. PMID 15107574.
                                                      4. Chowdhury P, Udupa KB (December 2006). “Nicotine as a mitogenic stimulus for pancreatic acinar cell proliferation”. World J. Gastroenterol. 12 (46): 7428–32. PMID 17167829.
                                                      5. Wong HP, Yu L, Lam EK, Tai EK, Wu WK, Cho CH (June 2007). “Nicotine promotes colon tumor growth and angiogenesis through beta-adrenergic activation”. Toxicol. Sci. 97 (2): 279–87. doi:10.1093/toxsci/kfm060. PMID 17369603.
                                                      6. Natori T, Sata M, Washida M, Hirata Y, Nagai R, Makuuchi M (October 2003). “Nicotine enhances neovascularization and promotes tumor growth”. Mol. Cells 16 (2): 143–6. PMID 14651253.
                                                      7. Ye YN, Liu ES, Shin VY, Wu WK, Luo JC, Cho CH (January 2004). “Nicotine promoted colon cancer growth via epidermal growth factor receptor, c-Src, and 5-lipoxygenase-mediated signal pathway”. J. Pharmacol. Exp. Ther. 308 (1): 66–72. doi:10.1124/jpet.103.058321.PMID 14569062.
                                                      8. Davis R, Rizwani W, Banerjee S, et al. (2009). “Nicotine promotes tumor growth and metastasis in mouse models of lung cancer”. In Pao, William. PLoS ONE 4 (10): e7524. Bibcode:2009PLoSO…4.7524D. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0007524. PMC 2759510.PMID 19841737

                                                        Michael Troester on May 7th, 2013 5:05 pm

                                                        To clarify: It is not a very potent carcinogen.

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