4 Reasons This Article About E-Cigarettes Is Bad

Is vaping less dangerous than smoking? The Inquistr is determined not to tell you.


Michael Siegel highlights an egregiously misleading Inquisitr piece about electronic cigarettes that parrots the talking points of anti-smoking activists and public health officials who irrationally view these products with fear and loathing. Dieter Holger's public disservice article nicely illustrates the evasions, rhetorical tricks, and outright lies frequently employed by e-cigarette alarmists.

Start with the title: "7 Reasons E-Cigarettes Are Bad." Compared to what? Since the relevant comparison is conventional cigarettes, which are indisputably much more dangerous, the title is an empty distraction. Holger continues to dodge the central issue in his introduction:

Are e-cigarettes really any better than smoking a cigarette? Here are seven reasons e-cigarettes pose dangers to our health.

Holger is determined not to answer the question he poses, so he follows it with a non sequitur. Even if "e-cigarettes pose dangers to our health," of course, that does not mean they are just as hazardous as conventional cigarettes. In fact, as Public Health England (PHE) emphasizes in a recent report, they are something like 95 percent safer.

Holger avers that "e-cigarettes contain plenty of cancerous chemicals" and "their fair share of toxic chemicals," statements that are utterly uninformative in this context. How much, after all, is "plenty" or "their fair share"? As the PHE report notes, "most of the chemicals causing smoking-related disease are absent and the chemicals which are present pose limited danger" because they are typically present at very low levels.

Later Holger concedes that "e-cigarettes might not have the same carcinogenic materials as cigarettes (like tar)." There is no might about it, since e-cigarettes do not burn tobacco or anything else. For the same reason, Holger is clearly wrong when he states that "e-cigarettes might create the equivalent of secondhand smoke."

Similarly, citing evidence of short-term changes in airway resistance during vaping, Holger warns that "e-cigarettes have negative effects on lungs." But as Siegel notes, these effects are far less serious than the respiratory damage caused by smoking, and smokers who switch to vaping "experience an immediate improvement in their respiratory symptoms and lung function." 

Holger asserts that "e-cigarettes are just as addictive as smoking tobacco," based purely on the observation that they contain nicotine. But as Siegel notes, research indicates that vapers score lower than smokers on measures of dependence, possibly because e-cigarettes do not deliver nicotine as efficiently as the conventional kind. More to the point, addiction to cigarettes is a concern mainly because of the harm it causes, and vaping causes much less harm.

Like CDC Director Tom Frieden, Holger warns that "e-cigarettes could be a gateway into tobacco products for youth." As the PHE report points out, it's not clear what that means. But assuming it means vaping leads to smoking among people who otherwise never would have tried tobacco, there is no evidence it is happening. To the contrary, smoking among teenagers continues to fall as vaping rises, as Holger implicitly concedes in the very same paragraph.

Like Ron Chapman, director of the California Department of Public Health, Holger claims "e-cigarettes won't help you quit." How can he possibly know that? Thousands of former smokers say otherwise, and the scientific evidence reviewed by PHE indicates that e-cigarettes "can help people to quit smoking and reduce their cigarette consumption."

If you follow Holger's model, you too can produce brazenly uninformative articles about e-cigarettes. Just remember to 1) implicitly equate e-cigarettes with conventional cigarettes, 2) avoid any clear discussion of relative hazards, 3) deny the existence of former smokers who used e-cigarettes to quit, and 4) mention children, preferably early and often.

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  1. Holger is determined not to answer the question he poses, so he follows it with a non sequitur.

    That is pretty bad. And obvious.

  2. The anti-smoking zealots want to equate vaping with tobacco because of the feelz. They’re not interested in science or truth or actual harm. None of that stuff matters. It’s tobacco! Ewwww! Ban it!

  3. As smoking is a disgusting habit, we should be happy that there are alternatives. I know I would rather stand next to a vaper than a smoker.

    1. Standing next to vapers makes me want to become a vaper. It’s like nose candy. From what I’ve heard it can also turn into a fairly expensive (both time and money) hobby, very quickly if you let it.

      1. It can get relatively expensive, but it’s still cheaper than smoking. A lot cheaper. I just spent $45 on an upgraded battery and atomizer, but it will last for months. The liquid itself is very cheap, so I am able to maintain my nicotine habit for about the cost of a pack of cigarettes a week.

        1. Agreed. Start-up is fairly expensive depending on what you get. Starter kits are priced around 35 dollars generally. Dual coil mods typically run around 80 to a hundred bucks. I spend more on mods because I want to, not due to any requirements.

          At any rate, I spend about 50-100 bucks a month on juice. Might I suggest Pegasus Milk by cravingvaps.com? No, I don’t own the place or have any vested interest.

          I’m always on the lookout for good pipe tobacco juices, so if any of you have any recommendations, please share them.

          1. I get my juice from ECig1.us. It’s dirt cheap.

          2. I went full cake on this one…
            Started with a basic kit now I’m at the hobby level stage- building my own coils, buying shiny objects that produce more vapor, and spending money like it’s about to lose it’s value. Long story short, I like to vape and my health has improved considerably. Even after all my excessive purchases I still think I’ve saved about half the money cigarettes used to cost me.
            Try GNS vapors, they have a nice cigar flavor that is reminiscent of pipe tobacco. And a cherry tobacco too. (I don’t do the tobacco flavors anymore; when you subohm(large amount of vapor) vape it doesn’t taste good…the fruity/dessert/cereal ones are better).

            1. I went sub-ohm this week. Ain’t going back.

              1. Danke to both of you.

                Bacon, agreed, vaping tobacco juices with a Sub-ohm mod make them taste funky. I don’t do very many fruit flavors, but the some of the dessert ones are delightful.

                Sub-ohm, the only way to vape.

          3. You can cut that juice cost down a bit if you make your own.

            $45 bought me a liter of unflavored juice partially mixed which has lasted me almost a year now.

            The flavor compounds are cheap and a little goes a very long way.

            Messing with the flavors is the hard part, but considering the low cost, tossing out a small batch is no biggie.

  4. It seriously looks like the person in the article picture is holding an extra long lipstick applicator. It distracted me from the text.

    1. It didn’t distract me from the lack of alt-text, though.

  5. “Are e-cigarettes really any better than smoking a cigarette? Here are seven reasons e-cigarettes pose dangers to our health.”

    What a magnificent dodge. Public health nannies have become the most dishonest players on the scene.

    1. It makes sense though. Their entire position is ‘people can’t be trusted to manage their own health affairs.’ So when they don’t have outright coercion available of course they have no qualms about using trickery. It’s for the tricked person’s good after all!

      1. It’s for the tricked person’s good after all!

        If this part were true then I could at least believe they cared about people’s lives. But they are actively trying to take a way something that is good for smokers.

    2. Become? This nonsense has a long and gaudy history. Public Health officials came up with some real doozies to prop up Prohibition. Public Health pronouncements on illegal drugs typically run to about 2% fact and 98% delusional hysteria.

      Which is one reason why, when it comes to a public health issue where the facts are on their side – like vaccination – large groups of people assume they are spouting utter hogwash.

  6. As a mother of four sweet, beautiful children I worry about the effects of e-cigarettes, because can’t we all agree they are similar to real cigarettes? My middle daughter, pig-tailed Cindy Lou, once coughed while standing close to a white man who was smoking an e-cigarette. I also think they look weird, and that vaping smoke just has to be toxic. Additionally, my other middle daughter who has the cutest dimples, Lucretia, told me she wants me to live forever, and how can I live forever if evil cigarette smoke is around me? Plus, it is just a nasty habit. Also, I would never kiss a smoker because I do not like the taste of an ashtray! LOL. Keep that in mind.

    1. You think you are writing subtle satire, but I’ve read comments fro anti-smokers that make this look like a rational position.

  7. You know who else despised smoking…

    1. C. Everett Koop’s mustache-less beard?

      1. Well, they despised smoking pork, anyway.

  8. Not only can you not engage in behavior we have declared taboo, you are forbidden to engage in behavior that resembles the behavior we have declared taboo.

    My God, these people are animists about everything.

    1. That’s the part that’s most discouraging to me. It’s such primitive behavior. It reveals the believers as nothing more than cavemen in fancy outfits.

  9. e-cigarette opponents care more about their crusade than they do the lives of smokers. I’m sure they don’t think as much in their own minds, but that’s the end result. It’s abhorrent.

  10. oh no not TEH GATEWAYZ!!!!111!1!

  11. But as Siegel notes, research indicates that vapers score lower than smokers on measures of dependence, possibly because e-cigarettes do not deliver nicotine as efficiently as the conventional kind.

    Something that is routinely missed is the ritual aspect of cigarette addiction; what are you doing when you smoke — often, you are stopping doing other things, and you are breathing deeply, and deliberately, both of which are things some people may rarely do, otherwise. You are also doing something very specific with your mouth & hands, which you do not otherwise do. I would argue that for some percentage of smokers, such aspects are more powerful parts of the addiction than the nicotine.

    These things are either minutely or significantly different with an e-cigarette. With an e-cig, you do not commit 5 minutes to the activity; if you smoke while you work, it is much different with an e-cig, since real cigarettes are nearly weightless. E-cigs taste different than cigarettes, they feel different to inhale, and they do not lend themselves to being incorporated into gesticulation in the same way as cigarettes.

    If research indicates lower levels of addiction with e-cigs, I’d look toward factors such as these for part, or even most, of the explanation.

    1. The last e-cig I tried was similar enough to real smoking that I might make the switch myself.

      Also, as e-smoking is just as frowned upon as regular smoking, it is not likely that I would do it at my desk.

      1. “Also, as e-smoking is just as frowned upon as regular smoking, it is not likely that I would do it at my desk.”

        You should – just to spite the frowners

  12. For once there was not a single comment in support of the article. Inquistr must either have the most educated readers or the article was so over the top stupid it didn’t get any support at all. Not even from trolls.

  13. TL;DR Inquisitr:

    “Smoking is like totally not cool. Oh we’re talking about vaping? Well vaping looks like smoking.”

  14. Yea, my doctor wants me to get on the e-cigs, but my employer has banned them at work. I sneak the snus in violation of the “tobacco free environment” policy.

    1. Two words – Toilet Stall. Unless you blow the vapor outside the stall, who the fuck would know?

  15. First of all I must appreciate you for sharing this quite useful article with us. There is a tendency among the users of e-cigarettes to consider it as a safe option for those who like smoking, but the truth is that there are some physical and mental consequences tied with e-cigarette too.

  16. If the e cig people would buy off the CDC and the CDC Foundation, like Johnson and Johnson and Pfizer have, e cigs would be listed on the CDC website, with the worthless patches and gums, and dangerous Chantix, as “the best ways to quit smoking. Then the CDC and CDC Foundation would provide them with predetermined outcome junk scientific studies, showing the benefits of e cigs. This is a Champagne Tower. Your “donations” to the CDC and CDC Foundation, get the handy dandy illegal lobbying power of the American Cancer Society, American Lung Association, many organizations of municipal employees, who get big dough to parrot the propaganda produced and PAID for by the pharma companies who are benefitting, all sanctified by the funders of the illegal lobbying, the CDC. But all these grant funded programs are run through the CDC Foundation. CDC Foundation does not have any oversight by any Investigator General’s Office. CDC Foundation lists it’s many partners/members on it’s website. Billionaires, like Pink Bloomers Bloomberg donates hundreds of millions of dollars to groups, such as the Campaign For Tobacco Free Kids (created by Robert Wood Johnson Foundation as it’s lobbying arm. RWJF hold over 13,000,000 shares of Johnson and Johnson stock. When Sebelius/HHS testified in front of Congressional Committee in 2012, she said she would produce records of the funding of illegal lobbying (CPPW) used to bully elected officials to pass smoking bans. Then she quit her job.)

  17. There is no science of “second hand smoke”. This is all about money moving from pharma and special interests into federal agencies, for the purpose of getting the money into the hands of grant moochers and spongers on every level, who will agree to produce junk science, (Glantz, etc.) and get the money down the Champaign Tower down through government employees on the states and local level, and into the “non profit” sector, for their lobbying assistance.

  18. Since the government makes more money on a pack of cigarettes than the tobacco companies do, I fail to see why tobacco companies are sued and the government, which licenses the selling of every pack of tobacco, IS NOT. The government needs to give up it’s addiction to tobacco money and ban the selling of all tobacco products, rather than pay people to lie, and pay people to lobby.

  19. I feel like they are 95% better from going to e-cigs from cigs. It has saved my life. Idk how those vapers do all those fruity flavors tho. I like the cig taste so I use Marlboro Eliquid to help me still feel like I am smoking. I tried patches and chantex and they did not work. Trying to find the right dosage was hard.

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