Just a spoonful​ of sugar….

You know I’m often astonished at the stuff that science turns up. Stuff like carbon dioxide can be trapped in solid rock, the Higgs bosun, their’s a ninth planet and the earth has two moons. In fairness, I learned the last one from QI but they got it from science. People doing long involved research, publishing papers so the rest of us can share in the wonders of this universe. It’s not all big stuff either, the first new antibiotic in 30 years was discovered last year, common swifts can stay airborne for 10 months. Try that Ryan Air!

As astonishing as this stuff is, what’s even more astonishing is the amount of bad science that gets published. You have to assume that the people who discovered quantum levitation are pretty smart people. So how does a paper like this get past reviewers, editors, and publishers?

Detection of 5-hydroxymethylfurfural and furfural in the aerosol of electronic cigarettes

It sounds serious and scholarly and all kinds of clever until you actually read it. In the abstract it states

Saccharides, which are commonly used to impart a sweet flavour to ECIG liquids, thermally degrade to produce toxic compounds, like aldehydes and furans.

A good hypothesis except for the fatal flaw that saccharides are not used in e-liquids. I have no idea why they assumed sugar would be used as everyone knows that when heated sugar caramelizes and would ruin your e-cig coil. They tell us that there are over 7000 e-liquid flavors and these fall into 6 groups, tobacco, menthol, fruits, beverages, sweet flavours and others. The sweet category is the one these geniuses decided to concentrate on. Telling us that;

The ‘sweet’ category, which is popular among ECIG users,7 lists sugar, caramel and honey as advertised ingredients.

Evidence for this claim leads to this page; Bee Sweet, Rocket Fuel Vapes


Somehow our intrepid boffins mistake a description for an ingredients list! Bad enough to do this once but they include 3 examples of flavor descriptions as evidence of sugar as an ingredient. There is no link to an actual list of ingredients from the manufacturer or to the result of testing purchased samples for sugar content.

In fact no samples were purchased for testing, instead, assuming sugar was an ingredient, “Liquids with various concentrations of sucrose, glucose or sorbitol were prepared in a 70/30 PG/VG ratio

Imagine if NASA had taken this;


as evidence of the composition of the moon and based all pre-launch testing on fatty dairy products!

That’s the level of stupid this study archives. Anything they found after this point is irrelevant to everything but the  samples they tested. No point reading any further because the pretty graphs and fancy math have no information about the subject they claim to have.

If they had purchased some e-liquid samples and tested them they would have found that the sweet flavor is achieved by adding Ethyl Maltol  Stevia or some other artificial sweetener because every fool (apart from the fools doing the research) knows, the molecules in heated sugar break down and produce several different compounds and its sweet taste is replaced by a more bitter flavor. It also caramelizes and ruins coils.

Chemistry Department, American University of Beirut, your study is bad and you should feel bad!

Funding Research reported in this publication was supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number P50DA036105 and the Center for Tobacco Products of the US Food and Drug Administration.

National Institute on Drug Abuse of the National Institutes of Health, you should demand your money back!



2 thoughts on “Just a spoonful​ of sugar….

  1. As far as I’m aware, Professor Higgs was in no way connected with either sailing, or boating. The particle you refer to is the Boson, not the bosun. Just saying.


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