The Consumer Advocates for Smoke-free Alternatives Association (CASAA) is pleased to announce our launch of a new Research Fund, to support scientific research work that furthers our missions of protecting access to and educating consumers about smoke-free alternatives and tobacco harm reduction (THR).

CASAA will continue to be the leader in political actions to stop state and local anti-THR in the USA, and increasingly we are taking political action at the federal level.  We will also continue to provide education internationally through our websites and other activities. But CASAA is now also in a unique position among THR advocacy organizations to provide scientific leadership.  The addition of Dr. Carl V. Phillips to the CASAA board, and the merger of his research operations into CASAA, along with ties to other THR scientists gives us the capacity to evaluate research and identify research needs, as well as the ability to inv
olved members of the wider scientific community.    
We will use that capacity to identify where research that would benefit consumers is lacking, and where we can help fill the gaps. We have already launched the Research Fund by transferring $4000 of our general funds to the Fund to hire a researcher to manage a collection of THR smoking cessation testimonials.

We are also immediately launching our first fund-raiser to support an important scientific research project, described below, that could lend some important clarity to the debate about e-cigarettes.

Donations to the CASAA Research Fund will be spent 100% in support of research projects.  (So please, CASAA supporters, do not forget about the CASAA general fund if you choose to donate the research fund.)  Unlike most other research charities, none of it will be spent on overhead, fundraising, or to pay the organizers.  We are committed to keeping the research efficient, lean, and important, and to avoid bloated projects that drain the limited funds available to support consumer interests in THR.

E-cigarette chemistry, a review of the research and analysis of its health implications
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 secured the interest of an internationally respected professor of environmental and occupational health at a major university to write a review of the existing research on e-cigarette chemistry and put it in perspective what health risks such exposures create (or do not create).  This researcher is familiar with tobacco harm reduction and will not be intimidated by pressure from the tobacco control industry, but is not a harm reduction activist, and so cannot be said to be biased.  He is known for being an impeccable scientist.  These factors will make it difficult for regulators and anti-THR activists to dismiss the analysis.

A grant of $15,000 will allow him to conduct this research, and if we can raise the money within the next month or two, we can have a result by late summer, in time for it to be considered in discussion of new e-cigarette regulations.  

This cost 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 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.

If you would like to donate but do not wish to use PayPal, please mail check or money order payable to The Consumer Advocates for Smoke-free Alternatives Association, 8094 Rolling Rd #200 Springfield, VA 22153