Wikipedia slant on e-cigarettes

class misinformation vector
category wiki/encyclopedia
funding private/personal donations
association at least one WHO afficionado
bloomberg ties - (PR tampering possible)
motivation sourcing bias?
science aversion 🟧🟧
related-to EVALI, ergo-harmful

Wikipedia articles on vaping/e-cigarettes weren't overly objective. In particular the EVALI-related information had been monkeyed with beyond the unfolding investigations.

Credit where credit is due: Wikimedias quality control (arbitration committee) has since rectified some of the causes. Though didn't undo the misinformation spread, and some slant remains.

Remaining slant WP:2019–2020 vaping lung illness outbreak

  • Intro is on point now.
  • "Background" seems more an "Aside"
    • not really covering the VAPI cases (→ Safety_of_…?)
  • "Responses"
    • "e-cigarette vendors place the blame" → one should add "[correctly] place[d]" here. Slantend article citation (didn't say "place the blame") doesn't legitimze the insinuation of deflecting. (id=916690758)
  • See also:
    • Links to Juul / Safety_of_electronic_cigarettes (bit of a ragbag in itself), despite, you know, cases having little to do with nic ecigs.
  • Public Health Recommendations x1, Investigation x0, United States x4
    • phrasing "The CDC recommends that e-cigarette, or vaping, …" gets repeated quite a lot (→appeal to authority: "The CDC says:")
    • which soleley rests on the EVALI misnomer (linguistic implication of e-cigs; though weren't relevant / inproper terminology for THC vaporizers)
    • Perfectly fine to cite it, where backed by sources (e.g. AMA/Schuchat quotes). But this seems a remnant of QG’s parroting strategy.
  • general:
    • Zero to nil critique of the CDCs handling. Though there have been ample responses. Clearly missing (more apt summary than [2] even).
    • Still no mention of seminal leafly article on the origin cause. (Though might be buried in one of the refs)
    • no M.Siegel article linked, e.g. on delayed THC questioning+testing. (Though a blog; which doesn't usually fit WPs snobbery.)
    • None of the existing notes explain why people even thought VitE oil was physically mixable into water-soluble PG/VG liquids
  • elsewhere:
    • Still conflating "vaping" in THC-vaporizer articles in links: [[electronic+cigarette|vaping]] False attribution / terminology misrepresentation isn't very becoming of an encyclopedia.

To also say something nice:

  • Broad media embedding of US hearings seemed angled, but are quite telling. - Detailed asides are what makes WP kinda useful for initial research/overview.

  • Way outta scope for WP to assess the role of the FUD campaigns around VAPI/EVALI. A bit more context wouldn't go amiss though. (After all, the publicized case list is fairly extensive by comparison.)


Origin motivation behind article was clearly an amalgamation of dangers, rather than a "safety" comparison. That being said, perfectly on-scope for an encyclopedia. And actually a great overview. Choice of sources hints at WHO slant however.

  • Overt emphasis on minutae over medical summary (copd, lung euphesemia, etc.) and their projected probability in comparison to tobacco
  • Just vagueties on oxidative stress etc.
  • Not even associates VG to macrophage issue (misblame on nicotine [probably WHO/Bloomberg source])
  • Metal toxicity section is actually alright
  • Emission lists/comparisons, without mentioning pasteur study. (E.g. dated/uncontextualized formaldehyde talking point.)
  • If the goal is a safety assessment, it should ultimately point out that the WHO is not widely considered to be objective/credible on this topic.
  • Section on disproven claims would be prudent, if WP wanted to ease the toxic debate rather than stay subjected to the back-and-forth and junk science themselves. (Most authors seem aware why there's so much variance in the sources.)


Phrasing/source woes:

  • "Not to be confused with Heated tobacco product." → 🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩 five points!
  • Intro:
    • "… that simulates tobacco smoking" → absurdly observational🟧 description. They substitute. That's their raison d'etre.
    • "Some look like traditional cigarettes, …" → used to. "Old devices looked like…" would be apt.
    • "but vaping is likely less harmful than smoking tobacco." → scientific consensus moved from likely to certainly. The exact quantity is uncertain. Not the likelihood🟨.
    • "and can be more addictive than tobacco.[18]"
      • Prolly confirmation biased (intro)🟨. Small study, subselected n=90🟧. Q&A=25 looks okay🟩.
      • Fagerstrom had long renamed his test (FTND) from nicotine to tobacco dependency.
      • Device type/concentration only vaguely taken into account for usage patterns. (6-9mg/ml on their own seem unlikely to induce/retain a stronger dependency than tobacco, and observed dual use.)
      • No review
      • Btw, perfectly fine as individual citation anyway. If only it didn't appear to preclude mentioning the referenced counter assessments. (Again suggests some influence by WHO drivel on WP to trivialize tobacco as nicotine addiction.)
    • "For most use, e-cigarettes do not raise quit rates.[20]" → Another Glantz🟥 study, nobody even bothered to assess it:
      • Here's the thing. To outsiders the WP study selection mechanisms are fairly opaque.
      • It's evident that this topic requires a bit more effort. (One of the most embattled medical topics and such.)
      • There must be some healthy middle ground between solely relying on conclusions, vs. "own research" brandishing.
      • Some cognisance of peer reviews/comments would feel advisable.
  • "Motivation"
    • "… raising concern that they may be delaying or deterring quitting.[10]", uhm, Glantz🟧.
    • "Many people vape because they believe vaping is safer than smoking." → possibly correctly🟨
  • "Gateway theory"
    • == "gateway hypothesis"🟩
    • "There is good evidence that vaping is a "gateway" to smoking**[56]**," → WHO summary based on lotta Glantzing.
    • Btw, WP: this point only needs a bit differentiation. An invididual gateway effect is easily observable. It's just that there's not much of it at the population level (diversion and cessation outweigh most smoking migration). That's what most of the scientific saber-rattling originates from.
  • "Young people" (AKA the contentious topic)
    • Fairly ok overall.
    • nitpick: "Most young e-cigarette users have never smoked,[67]" → most of those are also experimental or even one-time consumers; hence perhaps not actual/active "users". (inflation scare phrasing)
    • "[45]" certainly needs review
    • Relevant add:
  • "Safety"
    • Duplication (also doubly linked merged article)
    • EVALI link midway in, not clarifying that THC vapes aren't called "e-cigarettes". (Repeated three times in article, btw. This is the only contextual one.)
    • Else fairly overviewy.
  • "Addiction"
    • nicotine "as addictive as heroin and cocaine.[25]" → ಠ_ಠ (1988 wants their factoids back; -- they were talking about tobacco back then, under the presumption that nic was the sole addictive compound in it)
    • "First-time nicotine users develop a dependence about 32% of the time.[166]" → citing a cannabis study there; bet 20¢ they're referencing tobacco initiation anyway.
    • Just realized the rest of the references are way over my head. (Encyclopedic even^^)
    • But last two paragraphs bore with US hysteria again.
  • "Related technologies"
    • I kinda regret giving five 🟩 points early on.
    • Albeit yes, on technical grounds, tobacco toasters / semi-dry-herb vaporizers are related.
    • More important than a product list would be the context: the tobacco industry had those plans in the drawer since the 90s. But only brought them to market once e-cigarettes catched on.
    • Overall the presence of this section gives the impression of conflating e-cigs with BigT however.


Was seemingly just meant as support article for EVALI conflation. See last sentence in intro. Otherwise hamstrung by dated references, often just NGOs.

WP:Electronic cigarette and e-cigarette liquid marketing

  • QG history (2019 edits)
  • reference [206] via "E-cigarettes are marketed to non-smokers." looks like activist letter, more than research ("accumulating evidence has demonstrated the ineffectiveness of e-cigarettes in leading to smoking cessation, and decreasing the adverse health impacts of cigarette smoking.")

WP:Nicotine marketing

  • also some slant, delves into tobacco marketing at the end
  • (was actually looking for ad spending, but article is somewhat useless on that)
  • "Unsupported claims on safety and quitting smoking are made." is itself an unsubstantiated claim (ah, [72] is a WHO reference)


With the protuberance of vaping-related articles on WP, you have to wonder why there's none on the obvious lobbying efforts. (It's not like we didn't know which orgs are paid off of tobacco taxes or from tobacco exporting nations.)