by Pippa Starr
December 9, 2021
Let’s start with some Christmas fun trivia.
Could fried foods, roasting your coffee beans and burning your vegetables be doing you damage?
According to the science that some media outlets and anti-vaping organisations lean on, they could cause an infiltration of worm like creatures that infest developing teens brains and lead to detrimental health effects!
If that can happen as a result of cooking fatty foods or char grilling your favourite veges on the grill, then just imagine what could happen when the levels of carcinogenic chemicals are amped up in a traditional cigarette!
You guessed it, traditional cigarettes are far more dangerous and toxic to all.
What has frying vegetables, burning asparagus and coffee got to do with protecting journalists from getting or causing cancer?
It seems like nearly every second day there is a scary piece of media that is scaremongering Australians away from using e-cigarettes where they quote someone, often from an established mode of science.
The mode of science is important, as is the proportion of risk being assessed and measured.
More often than not, the science being referred to in the media is being compared with fresh air and whilst fresh air is lovely, when it comes to scientific method it is absurd to make a useful comparison.
Here’s why, the human life experience exposes most of us to all sorts of daily toxicants as we go through out our day.
Think about it, where have been in the last week?
If you were in lockdown, you may have cooked up a storm.
If you are back at work, you may be travelling into urban areas where cars and factories are nearby. Either way you will have been exposed to an unthought of quantity of toxicants and you would have breathed them in.
Don’ panic! I am not about to tell everyone going about their day that they are about to drop dead, rather the opposite.
Let’s consider those scary media articles that would make you think that anyone puffing on a vape is about to drop dead today or any minute.
This morning I read this quote contained in a Canberra newspaper from the CSIRO that stated:
“Hazardous substances have been found in e-cigarette liquids ... including formaldehyde, acetaldehyde and acrolein, which are known to cause cancer," the department states.”
That sounds alarming and would make any smoker think twice about switching to using a vape to quit, right?
It’s only when you research a little further you begin to realise that the levels of formaldehyde in your local town water supply are likely to be up to 625x higher than what’s in 15 puffs of a vape! Imagine what the steam off a shower could be doing to your body when levels of formaldehyde could be embalming your body as you stand in a shriveled pile of regret.
Ok, pardon my sarcasm there, but stopping showering isn’t going to prevent you from getting cancer, as studies indicate showering isn’t any more likely to cause you cancer than a vape pen is likely to.
This is why the term “risk proportion” needs to dominate the conversation when referring to risk, especially in the media.
What about the Acetaldehyde? That can cause cancer!
Indeed, it can, but let’s look at this ask a proportion of risk.
According to tolerable levels of Acetaldehyde in your local town water, 15 puffs of a vape contains 227x less!
Yet some media outlets have vapers gowning up for a future of chemotherapy sessions.
But what about that nasty worm forming acrolein that infiltrates the body with worm like precision to all its favourite cancer-causing cells?
While acrolein is not a contaminant found in drinking water, it is found in the air at levels outside up to 3 parts per billion and indoors up to 12 PPB.
It’s found when heating fats and is also present in roasted coffee, potatoes, onions, cocoas beans and cooked turkey!
Now I am not suggesting you don’t enjoy your chocolates and heaven forbid,
ban your traditional roast turkey over the Christmas period, but take a second to pause and think, everyday things like that can cause risk, but keeping that risk in proportion is important!
As you are having a discussion with that drunk uncle that is edumacating you about how it says in the media that he’s better off smoking this Christmas, it might be good to suggest politely to take a risk proportionate approach.
Ok, that might be better when he is sobor, because we all know how things get stressful over Christmas.
Many will get so stressed that they will pick up a cigarette that actually contains at least 300 times more acrolein than what is usually present in 15 puffs off a vape.
So next time you read that scary media article about how vaping is the next big tobacco you have a few more things to consider.
Not only has vaping nicotine never had a proven cause of death or an evidenced deadly disease, vaping nicotine has actually assisted over 68million people across the world as a gateway off the known deadly tobacco products.
While the media hustle for space to be noticed in a social media world, belting out sensationalist articles based on disproportion has become very old hat and has become more boring than a drunk uncle’s Christmas cracker joke.
If media want to stand out from the pack, possibly headlines like:
“Oh Shit, It Turns Out Vaping Is Actually Saving Lives”
“Vaping could help tax payers pay less in tax”
, may be the best new cards to play going into 2022.
At least then, it wouldn’t be fake news!