Farsalinos blasts Johns Hopkins ‘study’ claiming e-cig vapor is high in arsenic, metals

Many vapers were bombarded this weekend by posts claiming that e-cig vapor is so high in trace metals like arsenic that is causes brain cancer or even death.  The reports stem from a recently published paper co-authored by scientists from the notoriously anti-vaping academic institution of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. Longtime vaping advocate Dr. Konstantinos Farsalinos of the Onassis Cardiac Surgery Centre in Athens, Greece, also caught wind of the bogus study and instantly took to social media to refute its alleged findings.

The Johns Hopkins research-in-question is entitled Metal Concentrations in e-Cigarette Liquid and Aerosol Samples: The Contribution of Metallic Coils.  It was published on the website Environmental Health Perspectives before being picked up by nearly every major news outlet in the country, including Fox News.  Peppered throughout the extensive document was the rather non-scientific claim that “statistically significant” levels of metallic toxins were discovered in e-cig vapor.

Related Article:   New Farsalinos vape study debunks old NEJM ‘formaldehyde myth’

It was this conveniently worded and intentionally misguided catch phrase that induced the wrath of both Dr. Farsalinos and millions of vapers alike.   After reading the report in its entirely, Farsalinos blasted the Johns Hopkins report on Facebook and publicly refuted its findings.



According to the Johns Hopkins study, the researchers solicited the help from a group of 56 vapers using refillable electronic devices of the same e-liquid.  After evaluating the contaminants in the related aerosol, they reported “potentially toxic” amounts of several trace metals, including arsenic, chromium, manganese, nickel and lead.  They further claim that repeated ingestion of these metallic toxins can increases cancer risks of the neurological, cardiovascular, immune, liver, and respiratory systems. 

Farsalinos history with anti-vaping research

However, Farsalinos has been conducting scientific studies involving the perceived toxicities of e-cig vapor since 2011, and he aggressively refutes the findings.  While he does agree that small amounts of lead and chromium can sometimes be found in e-cig vapor vaped at excessively high temperatures, he also claims that the “significant” levels as described by Johns Hopkins are intentionally misleading. 

“For those asking questions about the latest study on metal emissions from e-cigarettes, here is my comment:  The ‘significant amount’ of metals the authors reported they found were measured in ug/kg. In fact, they are so low that for some cases (chromium and lead) I calculated that you need to vape more than 100 ml per day in order to exceed the FDA limits for daily intake from inhalational medications.”

“The authors once again confuse themselves and everyone else by using environmental safety limits related to exposure with every single breath and apply them to vaping. However, humans take more than 17,000 (thousand) breaths per day but only 400-600 puffs per day from an e-cigarette.”

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

This is not the first time that Dr. Farsalinos has blasted bogus research studies and debunked their findings.  When the American Urological Association published a report last year claiming that vaping leads to increased risks of bladder cancer, he took to his blog to point out the poor scientific practices used in the experiment by the study’s co-authors. 

“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.”

Meanwhile, Farsalinos has also debated the findings of other vaping studies which claim that e-cig vapor causes popcorn lung or contains dangerously high levels of formaldehyde.  In nearly every case, Farsalinos asserts that the co-authors of these anti-vaping studies are intentionally manipulating the data to support a pre-determined conclusion in what amounts to be a pay-for-play system of “academic McCarthyism.”

Related Article:  Attacks on vaping science is ‘academic McCarthyism,’ says Greece’s Dr. Farsalinos

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