Dr. Farsalinos debunks AUA claims that vaping leads to bladder cancer

When the American Urological Association (AUA) recently published a report claiming that vaping can increase the risks of bladder cancer, Dr. Konstantinos Farsalinos was instantly outraged.  How can a product that has been classified as 95 percent less harmful than smoking be so demonized by an American public health agency?

Dr. Farsalinos is a world-class cancer specialist from the Onassis Cardiac Surgery Centre in Athens, Greece, who also just happens to be decidedly pro-vaping.  Like many medical professionals in Europe, Farsalinos bases his opinions on scientific evidence like the 2016 research provided by the UK Royal College of Physicians which was the first to classify e-cigs as 95 percent safer and healthier than smoking.

Konstantinos Farsalinos encourages vaping over smoking

After the UK research was posted last year, Farsalinos and his colleagues began conducting numerous vaping studies of their own.  So, the Greek physician knows a thing or two about proper scientific research protocols.   According to his May 18 blog entry, the AUA data regarding vaping and bladder cancer is simply not reliable.

“It is all over the news today that e-cigarette use is associated with bladder cancer. This is an impressive statement that would certainly raise concerns if any such association was really shown in any study. First, this is based just on a conference abstract, not a published study. Second, the abstract did not measure any association between e-cigarette use and bladder cancer. It evaluated chemicals linked with bladder cancer in the urine of 13 e-cigarette users compared 10 non-users as controls. No smokers were recruited for comparison.”

In short, Dr. Konstantinos Farsalinos points out that the AUA failed to include any smokers in their sample group to compare the perceived “risks” from vaping to those derived from smoking.  It’s like saying that a Mercedes-Benz GL-Class – one of the safest automobiles of all time – is more prone to blowing up than a bicycle.   Without throwing in the 1977 Ford Pinto as a comparison rather than a bicycle, the results are easily skewed to favor a predetermined and preferable outcome.  Other problems with the AUA data – according to Farsalinos- include the following.

  • The sample group consisted of a “very low” number of participants.
  • Proof that the participants were, indeed, smoke-free for a significant period of time were not verified. The participants were merely asked verbally if they were smoke-free.
  • The sample group did not include any smokers for comparisons of perceived and measurable risks associated with bladder cancer.
  • The AUA scientists did not measure the proper biomarkers associated with “smoking exposure.”

The AUA research team seemed to base their conclusions on measurable levels of two cancer-causing agents - toluidine and-naphthylamine - as the biomarker samples of the participants.  However, they failed to disclose that the levels of these two agents are well-documented to be essentially the same when compared between smokers and non-smokers.

In short, the AUA knew when they published the report that the agency was misleading the reader.  Perhaps this is why the information was published as a “conference abstract” rather than a real scientific study with peer review criterion. 


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