Letter to the editor

Dear Chronicle,

I’m writing this email in hopes of combating some of the under-researched misinformation in the article on e-cigarettes.

Firstly, It is overwhelmingly clear that the author was approaching this “story” from an editorial standpoint; what with her overt generalization of a non-smoker’s reaction to someone smelling like smoke:

“They are the friend with the terrible cough or the aunt that always dismisses herself during a family dinner then returns smelling like a honky-tonk tavern and ruins everyone’s appetite.”

By leading a “news” article with what can only be called an opinion, (I’ve met plenty of non-smokers who actually enjoy the smell of smoke and I’m sure that I haven’t met them all) the motivation and journalistic integrity of the article, writer, AND publication is immediately called into question. A blatantly editorial statement in the second paragraph of the entire paper? C’mon Chron… That’s not news (see “information”).

“Information” is what brings me to my second point. The most cursory online search on the topic of this front page news story (vaping formaldehyde) turns up the original medical publication AND innumerable, fundamentally sound objections to the basic procedural method of the study. The validity of the objections aside, the SHEER AMOUNT of dissension to be found is enough to warrant a mention in this story.

About that “fundementally sound objection” from earlier…

As a former 2-pack-a-day smoker turned vaper (vapor? vapist?), it is perhaps clearer to me than many the most glaring flaw in this study’s methodology. While it is possible to produce the necessary heat to cause the formation of formaldehyde with many vaping rigs, it is something that you would NEVER INTENTIONALLY DO!

“Dry burning” is, quite literally, the ONLY way for this chemical reaction to occur and it is something that, if(when) you have the misfortune of experiencing as a e-cig user, you remember it… Dry burning a vape is akin to mistakenly lighting the wrong end of a cigarette; it’s never done intentionally and is met with the instinctual reflex to not inhale. If you think the smell of tobacco is noxious; go get yourself a whiff of some burning cigarette filter(mmm… burning fiberglass) then imagine how it tastes… When you dry burn a vape, you are causing the cotton in the wick to ignite(mmm… burning cotton) which, as you may notice, is smoking and the opposite of what an e-cig user is trying to accomplish. Check out this correspondence article that I “found” linked to the immediate right of the article you cited…

http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMc1502242

I could write many more paragraphs on the flaws of this study (nickel v. titanium v. kanthal coils: definitely an unconsidered factor) with the information I found but if you were really all that interested in “news” you’d have seen it all yourself.

However, I do have one last thing to say:

As a journalist, even for a community college (see “institute of education”) newspaper, you have a responsibility to inform. If you are incorrect (and in this case, you unfortunately are) about how dangerous vaping is, then you may have just helped convince that smoker that vaping isn’t worth calling off their slow, cigarette fueled suicide…

Kudos…

Bobbie Lee Sheffield II

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