American Chemical Society misrepresented scientific study on e-cigarettes.
The American Chemical Society (ACS) recently published an article in their journal ‘Chemical Research in Toxicology’ and to ensure a wider audience they issued a press release to go alongside it.
The result of the press release was that the media picked up the study on a global scale, running with the story of the extremely addictive properties of e-cigarettes.
However, the press release was not an accurate reflection of the study, and upon closer inspection by Dr Siegel, a prominent vaping advocate, he found that, “ All the study did was to demonstrate a new method for determining the fraction of nicotine in e-liquids and aerosols that is present in the free-base, rather than the protonated form.”
It had nothing to do with the addictiveness of e-cigarettes.
Nicotine is not simply ‘nicotine’, and it can be found in several forms.
The free-base form of nicotine is more readily absorbed by the body that the protonated form. According to the ECITA website, “Freebase forms of various drugs (including illegal ones) are generally preferred for non-oral delivery for this reason.” They continue, “Generally, testing is for nicotine generically, not a specific form, so this is a useful addition to the literature on e-cigs. They propose and validate a method for differentiating between the forms, which appears to be robust.”
The study found that the nicotine in the e-liquids from the USA was in the free base form; they did not state it was more addictive than tobacco, but it was of the more readily absorbed type.
The actual study published in the journal was a good study according to ECITA, and a good addition to the literature, however, the study did not compare against tobacco cigarettes, it gave no point of reference, it did not compare blood nicotine profiles, essentially meaning that no conclusions could be drawn as to the relative addictiveness of e-cigarettes versus tobacco.
The press release and the global media stories did not match up.
Several other studies have been carried out regarding the addictiveness of e-cigarettes, these studies did make comparisons with tobacco cigarettes and found that nicotine delivery is more efficient in tobacco cigarettes, with the evidence according to Dr Siegel, showing that e-cigarettes are not nearly as addictive as tobacco cigarettes.
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