While trolling the web this morning for articles related to electronic cigarettes, I happened to stumble onto an article on healthline.com written by Jonathan Foulds, MA, MAppSci, PhD. The article, titled “E-cigarettes deliver almost no nicotine“concludes that it is doubtful that e-cigarettes are a valid method of quitting smoking traditional tobacco cigarettes. Dr. Foulds bases this conclusion on a study performed by Professor Thomas Eissenberg of Virginia Commonwealth University. That study showed that e-cigarettes with a high (16mg) nicotine content only delivered about 10% of the nicotine that traditional cigarettes do to the bloodstream.
Dr. Foulds assessment did not take into consideration some of the flaws in the Eissenberg study – flaws that Eissenberg, himself, has now admitted to. One of the most significant flaws was the requirement that all participants be people who had never used an electronic cigarette before. As everyone who uses these things knows, there is a significant learning curve involved in using an electronic cigarette, so using nothing but absolute newbies for the study invalidates it from the outset.
The other major significant flaw in the study was that participants were instructed to take the same size puff off of the electronic cigarette as they would from a normal cigarette. They were also only permitted ten of these approximtely one second puffs. Even experienced e-cigarette users would not be able to derive a decent drag off of a one second puff – it takes a half second for the liquid to even begin vaporizing!
The purpose of this forum post is not to discuss the obvious flaws in the Eissenberg study, though. Instead, it is to instruct people to be very careful about which “health experts” they choose to trust. Usually, after a little digging, you can find out the true reasons some of these people, who profess to be looking out for your health, are really advising you the way they are. For instance, here is a video from the show, “The Doctors” promoting the benefits of an electronic cigarette. They clearly have no hidden agenda:
Dr. Foulds, however, may very well have a reason to denigrate ecigs. I decided to check out the backgraound of Dr. Jonathan Foulds and, fortunately, didn’t have to search very hard for information. Thankfully, his profile information is available on healthline.com. I also was grateful that I didn’t have to read very far to find what I was looking for. Dr. Foulds tells us in the second paragraph that he directs a program at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey that aims to reduce the harm to health from tobacco by helping smokers quit (http://www.tobaccoprogram.org/). From that link, I found myself only one link away from the money click!
At the top of the website, there is a tab called “Treatment” where I hovered my mouse and found the link to the “Tobacco Dependence Program.” Here, we discover that this noble sounding program just had its funding discontinued by the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services (no reason given) and that they are now being funded by CINJ, RWJMS, and SPH – all of which are funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
Robert Wood Johnson is, of course, the name shared by family members that are descendents of the president of one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world - Johnson and Johnson. Johnson and Johnson has been spreading its money far and wide, desperately trying to stamp out e-cigs, which threaten the sales of its Nicoderm products. No stranger to spending whatever is necessary to promote its drugs, Johnson and Johnson is currently fighting a 2010 US Department of Justice lawsuit, alleging illegal kickbacks to Omincare – a company that dispenses Johnson & Johnson’s drugs to senior care facilities and nursing homes. The RWJF has contributed more than $446 million to various non-profit organizations that lobby in favor of smoking bans (see this link, this link and this link). Face it, if cigarettes are banned everywhere, people will have to either quit or find an alternative. Since Johnson and Johnson profits from its highly ineffective Nicoderm smoking cessation gum, an alternative to smoking can hardly be permitted!
Knowing where “authorities” on subjects get their money from is usually a very good indicator of their true intents. It is a shame that Dr. Foulds – a man whose career (and income) is allegedly dedicated to helping people quit smoking – has aligned his project with RWJF. Without the money generously provided by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the good doctor may be out of a job! It certainly makes one question his credibility in regards to ecigs now, doesn’t it?
E-Cig Express Quote of the Day: “In the last few years, the very idea of telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth is dredged up only as a final resort when the alternative options of deception, threat and bribery have all been exhausted.” – Michael Musto
About the author: Scott McKirahan has articles published on a wide variety of subjects, ranging from politics to sports, and is the owner of the e-cigexpress.com and electriccigarettestop.com websites.