A recent study on the health effects of e-cigarettes, conducted by the University of California, San Diego, USA, has been taking out of context, according to observers.
The researchers treated human cells in a petri dish to an extract created from e-cigarette vapor and found that the exposed cells exhibited several forms of damage, including DNA strand breaks that can lead to cancer.
The press release accompanying the study acknowledged that the effect on cells could be entirely different in a real world environment and that the research team “didn’t seek to mimic the actual dose of vapor that an e-cigarette user would get.”
Media outlets, however, followed with headlines such as “E-cigarettes can cause cancer” and “E-cigarettes are not safe!”
Guy Bentley of the The Daily Caller said the journalists writing these articles “have barely looked beyond the first paragraph of the press release and are selectively leaving out key factors that call into question the study’s headline-grabbing lede.”
Boston University Professor Michael Siegel said the cell culture study didn’t warrant the conclusion that e-cigarette vapor has toxic or carcinogenic effects in users because the dose at which the e-cigarette vapor was found to have an adverse effect was much higher than the actual dose that a consumer receives.
Despite this, he said, one of the study’s co-authors made the “false and irresponsible claim” that vaping is no less hazardous than cigarette smoking.