Here at Totally Wicked nearly all of us avidly watched the BBC Horizon programme, “E-Cigarettes: Miracle or menace?” on Sunday 22 May this year.
We were pleased to see that the programme was overwhelmingly positive in dispelling some of the old myths surrounding e-cigarettes, and using science to demonstrate the considerable benefits of switching to vaping from smoking.
The Horizon programme did contain a short section in which a toxicologist, Maciej Goniewicz, demonstrated some basic research into the effects of Menthol flavoured e-liquid upon the viability of cells derived from a human airway. After the conclusion of the experiment, 25% of the living cells survived after exposure to menthol flavour, 53% survived with a Pina Colada flavour, and only 6% survived after exposure to tobacco smoke.
The programme makers suggested that this implied menthol was safe to eat, but less safe to inhale.
We can only presume this was added to create a perceived balance in the programme, as this statement cannot be supported by a single cell study conducted in a petri dish. Cell studies have some value in the most preliminary stages of research, but to make claims regarding human inhalation safety based upon this single experiment is frankly ridiculous. The petri dish is an artificial environment and does not even come close to the conditions found in the human body. This is why scientists must develop animal models to more accurately study the effects of a substance within a living system.
Menthol is a flavour additive widely used in consumer and medicinal products.
You will have used many menthol containing products in your everyday lives, such as menthol decongestant sweets and vapour rub. These products have been deemed safe for inhalation by the responsible regulatory agencies in countries around the world. The inhalation safety of menthol has been extensively tested in both animal and human studies. This weight of evidence approach is consistent with the conclusion that menthol has no causal relationship to adverse impacts on public health.
Menthol is a safe flavour for use in e-liquids, so keep on enjoying it!
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