Last week, National Geographic's website ran an article that claims that while e-cigarettes are effective for weaning smokers off of traditional tobacco products, they may pose health risks of their own.

Scientific innovation scares some people, notes Cameron English at Whether it's genetically modified crops, vaccines, or e-cigarettes, irrational fear is usually propped up by the phrase "research is urgently needed," or some variant of it. In the midst of quoting a researcher about the "urgent need" to investigate health concerns about e-cigarettes, National Geographic fails to acknowledge that none of the clinical studies conducted about e-cigarettes has found that they pose any serious health risk. Instead, they only quote University of San Francisco tobacco researcher Stanton Glantz, who says that e-cigarettes could be harmful, "because they contain a number of toxic chemicals and ultrafine particles in addition to nicotine," and that, "secondhand e-cig vapor could be harmful."

The problem, for English: no supporting research, but appeals to authority and claims about how it 'could be harmful', a sure sign of agenda-based journalism.

The Truth About E-Cigarettes by Cameron English, Policy