Major Vape Study Retracted

The University of California study tied e-cigarette use to heart attack risk.

February 24, 2020

ALEXANDRIA, Va—A peer-reviewed paper published in the June 2019 issue of the Journal of the American Heart Association helped fuel a national vape panic, finding that vaping could lead to a heart attack. Now, Vice reports that the controversial study officially has been redacted after months of pressure from the scientific community.

Titled “Electronic Cigarette Use and Myocardial Infarction Among Adults in the US Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health,” the study by Dharma N. Bhatta and Stanton A. Glantz of the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education at the University of California, found that some‐day and everyday e‐cigarette use are associated with an increased risk of a heart attack. The authors added that the effects of e‐cigarettes are similar to conventional cigarettes, and that dual use of e‐cigarettes and conventional cigarettes at the same time is riskier than using either product alone.

The study, however, may have been based on misleading data. In a statement, the Journal of the American Heart Association said that “during peer review, the reviewers identified the important question of whether the myocardial infarctions occurred before or after the respondents initiated e‐cigarette use, and requested that the authors use additional data in the PATH codebook (age of first MI and age of first e‐cigarettes use) to address this concern.” 

“While the authors did provide some additional analysis, the reviewers and editors did not confirm that the authors had both understood and complied with the request prior to acceptance of the article for publication,” JAHA said.

"To me, this story simply confirms what I have been arguing for a long time: that there is a profound anti-e-cigarette bias among tobacco-control researchers, and this is precisely what caused this fiasco," said Michael Siegel, a professor of community health sciences at Boston University.