New Vape Study Misleading With Mice?
Posted 11th Feb 2015 to The Science of Vaping
In the latest round of cautionary literature to come from the scientific community, researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health used mice to prove a point about vaping.
Their findings are not to be dismissed too easily. After sorting the mice into two groups, the researchers found that the mice that were exposed to ecigarette vapor had weaker immune systems than the ones who weren't.
Specifically, the test group breathed in vapour from Njoy electronic cigarettes for two weeks in a dose that was roughly analogous with what a human would consume in the same amount of time. Then, some of those mice were exposed to Influenza A, others to Streptococcus pneumoniae, and a final group was left untouched. Those who had inhaled the vapour suffered more severe symptoms than the non-smoking mice -- symptoms up to and including death.
However, if the point of the study was to clue people into the potential health risks associated with their activities, it's a body of research that's built upon a somewhat faulty premise: that vapers are under the impression that ecigarettes are healthy -- in the way that, say, eating an apple is healthy.
It goes without saying that fresh air is the better alternative. It doesn't go entirely without saying that a study like this doesn't actually prove that ecigarettes are no better than regular cigarettes, though that might be what some people take away from it.
The study authors also don't tell the whole story regarding nicotine in vapor. Though they mention that ecigarettes contain less nicotine, they suggest that the actual intake by the average vaper is more or less that of the cigarette smoker's. It is true that users can regulate their intake, but the vaping device is a far less efficient means of nicotine delivery. Additionally, vaping can be a touch-and-go practice, meaning there's no need to smoke an entire cigarette from start to finish every time.
To be fair, one of the study authors noted that though ecigarette vapour introduces free radicals to the body, it's still 100 times lower than the amount regular cigarette smoke would contribute.
If the goal is to actually help consumers make informed decisions -- and not dogpile onto an emerging, profitable industry -- it'd be nice to see this study compare mice exposed to vapour versus regular cigarette smoke.