Shoddy Research Reinforces Anti-Vaping Narrative

In 2019, The Journal of the American Heart Association published a study suggesting that nicotine vaping doubles the risk of a heart attack. The authors claimed e-cigarette use is “independently” associated with a heightened risk of myocardial infarction, which is “similar” to the risk among cigarette smokers.

Three years later, the World Journal of Oncology published a study that claimed vapers face about the same cancer risk as smokers. The authors said “prospective studies should be planned to mitigate the risk.”

Both studies were later retracted, largely because they shared the same glaring weakness: The researchers failed to consider whether the medical problems that survey respondents reported were diagnosed before or after they began vaping, a minimum requirement for inferring a causal relationship. As University of Louisville researchers Brad Rodu and Nantaporn Plurphanswat showed in a 2022 Internal and Emergency Medicine article, that failure is characteristic of studies that allege a link between vaping and smoking-related diseases, including several articles that so far have not been retracted.

In all of these cases, the researchers seemed so eager to discredit vaping as a harm-reducing alternative to smoking that they overlooked a fundamental methodological flaw. So did the peer reviewers and journal editors.

This sort of tendentiously sloppy research compounds a problem that harm reduction advocates have been decrying for years: Although the evidence indicates that vaping is far less dangerous than smoking, most Americans think vaping is just as dangerous, if not more so. And while public health officials could help correct that misconception, which undermines the lifesaving potential of e-cigarettes, they frequently contribute to the confusion by obscuring the difference between these two modes of nicotine consumption.

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Author: HP McLovincraft

Seeker of rabbit holes. Pessimist. Libertine. Contrarian. Your huckleberry. Possibly true tales of sanity-blasting horror also known as abject reality. Prepare yourself. Veteran of a thousand psychic wars. I have seen the fnords. Deplatformed on Tumblr and Twitter.

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