In response to this article in the Daily Mail on 2 August, I wrote the following letter to the newspaper last week.
Dear Sir,I refer to your article entitled "Warning on passive vaping in bars: Second-hand smoke from devices contain toxic chemicals that can irritate your eyes and skin" (Daily Mail 2nd August).
It seems bizarre that your science correspondent would put such great store on a study from Berkeley University which is known for producing partial and policy-led research in the past in order to attract clickbait headlines which bear no relation to the truth. The methodology that produced your headline was another perfect example. It was designed using modelling rather than scientific measurements, which were not taken by the authors. If the modelling was realistic it would at least be worth noting, but instead extreme emissions data was used coupled with assumptions that have only been measured in tobacco smoke, not vapour. The study was fatally flawed as it seems to deliberately misunderstand how e-cigarettes work and how vapers use them.
In contrast to the Berkeley study, higher and more respected authorities are very clear about the potential threat from 'passive vaping'. Cancer Research UK stated in 2016 that “There’s no evidence that second-hand e-cigarette vapour is dangerous to others", while Public Health England and the Royal College of Physicians - amongst others - have endorsed vaping products, with the former also advocating that e-cigarettes are not included in workplace smoking bans, which your article rightly highlights. The Department of Health also recently released a report declaring that emissions from e-cigarettes pose no identifiable risk to bystanders.
UK public health groups have been concerned at a dangerous shift in attitudes to vaping due to unclear and inaccurate information on e-cigarettes. The poorly executed and arguably nefarious Berkeley study - the results of which go against everything said by the most prestigious public health organisations in this country - can only have negative effects on public health and we would urge you to look closer at the motives of those who wish to create confusion and misinformation in this way in the future before publishing.
Andrew Allison MCIJ
Head of Campaigns, The Freedom Association
Golden Cross House, 8 Duncannon Street, London. WC2N 4JF