A group of researchers from Johns Hopkins and other universities are getting a lot of attention with a study that claims to show dangerous levels of various metals in e-cigarette vapor.
The press release was in newsrooms before the study had even been published, and the researchers were on the phone with reporters before the ink on the press release was dry. And the story is still spreading. Unfortunately, most reporters simply repeat the authors’ version of what the results mean, and don’t bother seeking out experts who might challenge the paper’s conclusions. And they definitely need challenging.
“Toxic metals linked with brain damage are ‘leaking from e-cigarettes into vapour’, experts have found,” said The Mirror. “Oh good, e-cigarette vapor contains toxic metals, too,” shouted the sarcastic Mashable banner. And those weren’t even the worst headlines.
Do the headlines match the study’s findings? And, for that matter, do the researchers’ own conclusions even describe the findings of the research? (more…)