The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) printed a while ago a controversial letter that stated e-cigarettes exposed vapers to high levels of formaldehyde, and as such increased cancer risks by up to 15 times.
However, other experts are now calling for this paper to be retracted, claiming that the levels of formaldehyde were obtained by superheating the atomizer and fluids, and that as this does not happen in real life use, the article is misleading.
Those calling for the retraction stated,
“There is a clear risk that extensive and alarming reporting will have persuaded many smokers that there is little to be gained by switching to e-cigarettes, despite the emerging expert consensus that vaping is likely to be at least 20 times lower risk than smoking.
We have documented the flaws in the experiment and cancer risk calculations and in the authors’ reply to criticisms of their work, and written to the editor of NEJM requesting the retraction of the letter.”
The Editor though has refused the retraction, stating,
“The research letter reported data on an important issue, namely the presence of a known carcinogen, at least at some device settings, in the vapour from e-cigarettes. We have seen no evidence of scientific misconduct, and we see no grounds for retraction. Disagreements about interpretation of data are not grounds for retraction. If disagreements about interpretation become a reason for retraction, the scientific community will be headed for real trouble.”
This argument is about methodology and how the results are interpreted.
This week, within the UK a very public disagreement between Public Health England (PHE) and the Faculty of Public Health is taking place in both the Lancet Journal and the British Medical Journal. Not only is there disagreements with the interpretation and methodology of the PHE e-cigarette report, (which have been robustly defended) there have also been claims of conflicts of interest and not doing ones job correctly.
All these arguments leave the public just a confused as before as to whom to believe when it comes to research and electronic cigarettes.
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