When you think you’ve seen it all… American Heart Association strikes again with an e-cigarette “study” that insults scientific reasoning


By Dr Farsalinos

A new study presented as an abstract in the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions 2020 provides new evidence about clinical symptoms and EVALI-like symptoms experienced by e-cigarette users compared to non-users. At least that is what the study is supposed to show. There is also a press release by the American Heart Association, titled “Lung symptoms common among users of e-cigarettes and related products”.
The study examined 1432 current e-cigarette users who completed an online survey in 2016 (please remember that). They asked if they had any of the following symptoms:

dry mouth, cough, nausea, headache, loss of taste/smell, shortness of breath, chest pain, irregular heartbeat, heartburn, high blood pressure, itching/burning skin, rash, bad breath, irritability, leg cramps, runny nose, stuffy nose, sore throat, upset stomach, hoarse voice, nightmares.

They also checked for any of the following EVALI-like symptoms:
cough, nausea,  loss of taste/smell,  shortness of breath, chest pain, stomach pain

They found that e-cigarette users had higher odds of having any clinical symptoms (OR: 1.90) and of EVALI-like symptoms (1.70) compared to non-users. Users of flavored liquids also had higher odds for symptoms compared to non-users.

Unfortunately there is not much to say. My criticism will be brief. The study (and the press release) are an insult for science and common sense. Scientists suggest that symptoms linked to EVALI (an outbreak that happened in 2019) were present in 2016. Additionally, EVALI-like symptoms included non-specific symptoms that could be easily linked to COVID-19. Perhaps COVID-19 is a disease caused by e-cigarettes. And it was already present in 2016. The scientific community needs to urgently examine this possibility and release another impressive statement about the risks of evil e-cigarettes.

I hope that the creeping politicization of science will end soon… But I am not at all confident about that.


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