Burstyn comments at FDA workshop on ecig science

by Igor Burstyn

[Editor’s Note: As I mentioned previously, FDA refused CASAA’s application to have Igor appear on the agenda of the FDA workshop on e-cigarette chemistry and related science. After seeing who they did put on stage, it became doubly clear that they were intentionally avoiding Igor because he had the expertise and credibility to point out fundamental flaws in a solid majority of what was presented. Fortunately Greg Conley had three minutes on the agenda and gave it to Igor, so that he could present the following talk. It was not a lot of time, but it was enough for Igor to point out how absurd is most of what passes for science in this realm. His slides are here. I have inserted the slide advance marks in the text. –CVP]

[Slide 1] Good morning, folks. First, a small correction. Actually, my affiliations are on the slide now, not from the previous introduction.

[Slide 2] So what I’d like to talk to you about today very briefly is that there’s really not that much new under the Sun about e-cigarettes. I don’t come from the tobacco control world. I come from a very different area of academia and research. And I was surprised that so many things about electronic cigarettes were surprising to people. So that’s my story.

So we’re really not all that ignorant about toxicology of what comes out of electronic cigarettes. And I talk about it as somebody who’s trained in industrial hygiene, environmental health, who was taught to anticipate what would happen if my workplace had a source of environmental emission introduced to it that was very much like electronic cigarettes, and it was there, and it was exposing me. And I was trained through my undergraduate and my graduate training to recognize and deal with those situations and be able to make rational decisions about mitigating risks for myself, and my co-workers and my colleagues.

We have rich experimental experience from other areas of environmental and workplace emission controls and hazard assessments that are incredibly helpful and can be easily applied, and are portable to the world of electronic cigarettes and tobacco products. And there’s really no reason to assume this precautionary posture that really amounts to willful ignorance. We really know a lot more than we sometimes give ourselves credit for. And my claim to credibility, such as it is, is summarized in this paper, and if you’re really interested in what I have to say on this topic, it’s all published out there. You’re most welcome to contact me. I’m easily found.

[Slide 3] But this is my main point, which was made yesterday as well: The dose makes the poison. We have known that for a very, very long time, and it’s really not helpful for us to think otherwise because nothing really has changed in the truth of that statement since Paracelsus put it forward. And this is part of the story. [Slide 4] If we apply the standards that are admissible in workplaces to emissions from electronic cigarettes and look at about nine thousand chemical measurements that were available to me back last summer, we can see that across chemicals, we see individual exposures that are way below a threshold where we’d actually begin to worry about them. There’s really no reason to be concerned here. Most of them are in trace quantities. They’re present, but they’re not going to hurt you.

[Slide 5] And if you look at similar calculations based on emissions from vapers, you can reach the same conclusion. You can sit or stand near a vaper and experience emissions they generate, and you should not be worried or afraid for your life or health.

[Slide 6] So we do know a good deal about electronic cigarettes. If the word “cigarettes” was not in that title, we wouldn’t really be that worried about them because it’s just a name. And it’s not really appropriate to deal with these things as if we learned nothing since the 16th century. Scientists don’t try to avoid vials of chemicals; likewise, public should understand and treat chemicals with respect, but we should not be afraid of them.

Thank you very much for your attention.

[Slide 7 contains further observations that could not be fit in the limited time.]


9 responses to “Burstyn comments at FDA workshop on ecig science

  1. I see that Mr. Glantz new pet was present, too.
    I guess Mrs. Williams had a wonderfull presentation about scaremongering.

  2. Reblogged this on artbylisabelle and commented:

  3. There is something distinctly devilish about what is happening over ecig regulation.
    From above, we can assume that the FDA is being pressed by ‘Government’, and from below it is being pressed by academia. You and your associates are trying to gain access from the side.
    Will you be allowed in? Well, at least Burnstyn was granted an hearing, Even if only at second hand.
    I suspect that the FDA already know full well that ecigs toxicity is minimal, and well within OSHA (?) guidelines for workplace exposure. It is therefore likely that, just as with SHS, decisions will be made for political reasons and not based upon science at all. We may never know what the real reasons might be, since it is not difficult to find superficial justifications.
    It is all very odd. You would think that Government would jump at the chance to cut spending on gums and patches since people buy their own ecigs and juice, but is it afraid of losing control? Both Big Tobacco and Big Pharma have an interest in the ecig market being brought under control (although I do not suggest collusion).
    At least there is comfort to be had from knowing that, if the FDA produce draconian regulations, they have done so despite knowing full well that the regulations have no scientific justification. Would there then be a reasonable reason for citizens to regard such regulation as a form of persecution?

  4. Further, I think that there could be confusion about “the poison is in the dose”. It could be taken to mean that any specific dose must be very high. It does not suggest that repeated smaller doses could do as much damage as one big dose. For example, people who suffer liver disease from alcohol do not have to drink a whole bottle of whiskey at one sitting. Drinking a glass of whiskey every hour, hour after hour, could be just as damaging.

    What I am getting at is that time-scales matter. Assuming that a person is a normal healthy human being, AT WHAT AGE would he develop lung cancer
    from SHS? Thus, if the vapour from an ecig is going to kill a person, either directly or indirectly, at what age will that damage become apparent?
    No one seems to talk about it.

  5. Thank you, Dr. Burstyn, and also to Greg Conely for giving up his time to let the good doctor say his bit.

  6. This whole debacle has never been about health and safety – although those are the clothes that the regulators claim the emperor is wearing.

    It has always been about control of the market place and bottom line profits for the drug and tobacco industries.

  7. Happy to help. Dr. Burstyn did an excellent job.

    And my thanks to National Vapers Club. Their representative ceded their time to me, so I was still able to speak.

  8. Pingback: News 13th Dec 2014 | vapers.org.uk

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