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CASAA Research Projects

Testimonials Project

This project collects success-story testimonials from smokers who used smoke-free alternatives to quit or reduce their smoking. The testimonials will be posted  on a public webpage for everyone to see.  At some future point, we will be providing participants with the ability to come back to the site and update their stories.

The purpose of this is political advocacy for the benefit of consumers. We know that individual stories of smoking cessation are the most powerful testimony when others attempt to restrict access or discourage use of e-cigarettes and other smoke-free products. We estimate that thousands of individuals have already told their story somewhere, and many more would be happy to do so. However, it is difficult to demonstrate this without collecting many of the testimonials together.

We expect almost all these stories will be from electronic cigarette users, though if you used other smoke-free products (snus, pharmaceutical nicotine, dissolvable tobacco, and any others), we very much welcome your testimonials also.

To participate in the Testimonials Project, please click here.

E-Cigarette Chemistry Review Project

There have been numerous studies of the chemistry of e-cigarette liquid and vapor, and they have found similar results.  They have consistently shown nothing that suggests serious concern.  However, these facts are not obvious because the results as they have been published cannot be usefully interpreted by anyone without expertise in environmental health.  The result is that political spin – particularly that by the US FDA regarding their study – has crowded out the science.  The fact that the actual FDA chemistry results showed the same lack of reason for concern as other studies has been difficult to communicate.

CASAA has provided a grant of $15,000 to Dr. Igor Burstyn, an internationally respected professor of Environmental and Occupational Health at Drexel University, to write a review of the existing research on e-cigarette chemistry and to put in perspective what health risks such exposures create (or do not create).  Dr. Burstyn is known for being an impeccable scientist, and he is familiar with tobacco harm reduction.  Because Dr. Burstyn is not a harm reduction activist, he cannot be said to be biased, and he will not be intimidated by pressure from the tobacco control industry.  CASAA believes that these factors will make it difficult for regulators and anti-THR activists to dismiss the analysis.   (Professor Burstyn is an internationally respected member of the genuinely scientific wing of public health science, so those who might cringe at the “school of public health” title should not fear. )

We anticipate that the research will begin in June and should be completed by the fall of 2013.  In the meanwhile, CASAA members and a graduate student are completing a compilation and basic review of the existing literature.

This anticipated cost of $15,000 is a small fraction of what has been spent doing the original chemistry lab work, but by making more effective use of those results, it will produce research that we believe this will immediately become the most important single analysis about e-cigarette chemistry and exposures.

The review will present all available results (the actual chemistry, not the spin) about e-cigarette liquid or vapor chemistry in comparable and maximally useful terms. Currently, it is quite difficult to even recognize the similarities and differences among study results because they are presented in such different forms and formats.  There are no simple accepted summary statistics.  Moreover, an expert analysis is needed to determine which results can be considered measures of roughly the same quantity and which are measuring quantities that need to be considered to be fundamentally different even though they seem similar. To make these results practically useful requires putting them in perspective of other exposures and health risks. After putting the results in useful terms physical terms, the research will then put these in terms that are useful for health science and regulation.  In particular, they will be compared to the most relevant exposure limits for the various chemicals, where possible, and also in terms of other exposures.

The results of this work will be made available as a working paper immediately upon completion, rather than being kept hidden and useless until it appears in a journal.  One or more papers will also be submitted for scientific journal publication.

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