Monday, September 16, 2019

Local TV station falls for long debunked vaping myth UPDATE: Based on a spoof video?

Update: Here's a link to a spoof video that was published almost three years ago. Here's NBC 15's report on the subject. USA's "pulmonary expert" appears to have been taken in by an admitedly convincing parody of A&E's "Intervention" reality TV series.

Read this quote from Dr. Karen Fagan, a pulmonary expert at USA. Then check out the video.

"It boils down to science.
" 'It was originally described in a single patient, who described that he loves the smell of buttery popcorn, so he would pop it and inhale it multiple times a day,' Fagan explained."

Original post follows.

Bless their hearts. In the grips of hysteria over recent health problems caused by idiots doing what idiots do, NBC 15's Cassie Fambro has rushed to press with a fearful warning about a myth that was thoroughly debunked years ago. It's the dreaded 'Popcorn Lung Disease!'

I can't bring myself to link to the story--I have a policy against publishing or promoting known falsehoods. What I will do is set the record straight with a little help from a real pulmonary expert. The text below is excerpted from a piece that ran in the Daily Caller four years ago.

"[A]ccording to Dr. Michael Siegel, professor in the Department of Community Health Sciences at Boston University School of Public Health, the Harvard study has several “glaring omissions,” and the level of diacetyl exposure from vaping compared with smoking differs by “orders of magnitude.”

Siegel, who has spent 25 years in the field of tobacco control, points out the study published in the journal “Environmental Health Perspectives” didn’t even mention that regular cigarettes contain diacetyl, and in far greater amounts than any e-liquids.

Looking at the numbers, Siegel found “daily exposure to diacetyl from smoking is therefore 750 times higher, on average than exposure to diacetyl from vaping.” Vapers are, on average, exposed to a daily dose of nine micrograms of diacetyl, compared with 6,718 micrograms for smokers.

But the evidence gets worse for sensationalist headline writers and anti-vaping activists. “The ‘worst’ e-cigarette tested produces diacetyl exposure that is 85 times lower than that of the ‘worst’ cigarette tested,” says Siegel. The e-cigarette liquid with the highest level of diacetyl in the Harvard study exposed vapers to just 239 micrograms against 20,340 micrograms for heavy smokers.

Bronchiolitis obliterans is known as “popcorn lung” because it was identified in workers who inhaled the artificial butter flavor used to make microwavable popcorn. Some cases of popcorn lung have been so damaging that patients have required a lung transplant.

But vapers have little reason to worry about the relatively trivial levels of diacetyl in e-cigarettes compared to tobacco cigarettes.

Not only is the risk of diacetyl exposure far lower for vapers than for smokers, but according to Critical Reviews in Toxicology, “smoking has not been shown to be a risk factor for bronchiolitis (popcorn lung).”

“There’s a lot of effort out there to demonize electronic cigarettes and a lot of research attempting to identify the risk, which is fine, we need to know what the risks are, but the reporting of the research I think has been very biased.
“What this really does is undermine the public’s appreciation of how severe the risks of smoking is. What it’s basically telling ex-smokers who’ve quit, using e-cigarettes, is you might as well go back to smoking.”


“I think the media is reporting what is being presented to them. What we’re seeing is not the media going wild, what we’re seeing is the anti-smoking movement misrepresenting the data to the media.

“The [study’s] authors and the groups that are putting out this information are responsible for the way the results are portrayed to the public and the way that the results are interpreted. We’ve seen multiple examples of perfectly valid data that are just completely distorted.”

This is a fairly common problem. Members of the media know next to nothing about vaping so they reach out to purported 'experts,' who usually turn out to be sycophants for groups who demand nothing short of complete nicotine abstinence.

The British Government is years ahead of its U.S. counterpart.

The popcorn lung myth comes up a lot. So often, that there is a satirical twitter account named for it The American Popcorn Lung Association.

Perhaps the biggest problem is that media types rarely reach out to vapers, many of whom have stories to tell about how vaping allowed them to finally stop smoking tobacco. Like your beloved blogger, who is now more than two years tobacco free.


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