During the E-cig Summit, Dr Konstantinos Farsalinos evaluates the year 2016, from a scientific point of view. He also explains what he plans to do to counteract the current trends that are expected to amplify next year. Dry puffs and regular use are two of the subjects illustrated by the researcher in this interview for the Vaping Post.
2016: A huge increase in vaping research and also in bad quality research
The cardiologist at the Onassis Cardiac Surgery Center in Athens in Greece is the author of several peer-reviewed publications, of a book that has been published recently. He is also a member of the editor board for some scientific journals.
The researcher notices that from one year to another, with increasing popularity of e-cigarettes, there has been a huge increase in vaping research but also an increase in the number of bad quality research.
However, it is complicated for a non-scientist, and even for scientists with training, to distinguish between good and bad quality research in this domain. E-cigarettes are a hot topic and they generate a lot of writings.
K. Farsalinos is saddened to see that a lot of research was done to deliberately generate a lot of publicity. In those articles, the methodology is prepared and designed in a way that some harm is exposed that is not necessarily representative of reality. The most striking example is a continuous denial of the dry puff (or dry hits, dry burns) phenomenon, an overheating that generates a very bad taste and that every vaper avoids as much as possible.
Dry puffs, a recurrent issue in scientific literature
Although science has learnt about this problem since 2013, when K. Farsalinos first published a study to warn about dry puff‘s consequences on emissions and toxicity, the researcher notices that there are still lots of researchers who believe that it is just an assumption. Those researchers carry out studies without making sure that dry puffs are not generated into the laboratory. From a scientific point of view, these results are correct but they don’t represent realistic use of an e-cigarette.
The lack of consideration of this phenomenon generates a lot of studies pointing out huge levels of toxins but unfortunately irrelevant because no vaper will never be exposed to such high levels. “There is a trend for an increasing number of studies like this in the future“, predicts Dr K. Farsalinos, and correcting all of these is a waste of time for some researchers who try to demonstrate that there are errors by replicating protocols, comparing results, just to stop junk science and alarming media campaigns.
The “ever user” or “past 30-day use” issues
Another major issue is to misconceive regular daily vapers and consider “ever users” or “users having tried the e-cigarette at least once in the last thirty days” as regular vapers. Such a misconception inevitably leads to an overestimate of e-cigarette use and an underestimate of its effects.
“Experimenting means nothing in terms of risk or benefits, […]. Studies should focus on regular users and this is the only way to highlight the real effects of the e-cigarette, good or bad.”
-Dr K. Farsalinos
It is important to define e-cigarette use correctly and to discuss about regular useversus experimentation since no one can quit just by experimenting the e-cigarette. “The regular daily user is exposed to the toxicity of e-vapor“, concludes the researcher, “but he is also getting the benefits compared to smoking“.
A publication to address a wide range of topics
Dr K. Farsalinos let us know that he envisions, with some colleagues, to publish in 2017 in a scientific journal a guideline for e-cigarette study, a sort of analysis on how e-cigarette science should be conducted and to address all types of research dealing with e-cigarettes.
The researcher acknowledges that bad scientific research is not the only fact of protocols in analytical studies of e-liquids or e-vapor but also concerns population studies, where the same errors are reproduced.