Farsalinos’s work is influential, especially in Europe. In a 2018 review, Public Health England dismissed potential formaldehyde risks, repeatedly citing Farsalinos’s work. Other studies have independently found low formaldehyde levels in some e-cigarettes.

Scientists who’ve been attacked by Farsalinos are critical of his methods. Andrey Khlystov, an atmospheric chemist and co-author of the Desert Research Institute studies, said Farsalinos’s work is “full of self-contradictions and crazy jumps in logic.”

Farsalinos said he’s mystified why people are so worried about e-cigarettes.

“It’s a paradox. The more studies we have, the more convinced we are that e-cigarettes are less harmful” than regular cigarettes, he complained. “The public perception of e-cigarettes gets worse and worse year after year.”

When the U.S. Surgeon General warned that youth vaping was “a major public health concern” in December 2016, Farsalinos again swung into action. On his blog, he dismissed the report as “highly misleading” and “emotional statements with no real content.”

Farsalinos and Riccardo Polosa, an Italian doctor who has received research funding from Philip Morris International Inc. and e-liquids manufacturers, along with two other researchers, later published a detailed critique of the report in Harm Reduction Journal, calling youth e-cigarette use “infrequent or experimental.”

Recent U.S. government data have painted a different picture. E-cigarette use among high-school seniors has more than doubled since the Surgeon General’s report was published. Last year, the CDC said, 3.6 million Americans middle- and high-school students used e-cigarettes.

Farsalinos said his opinion hasn't changed, and that most youth use is confined to people with a history of smoking.

This article provided by Bloomberg News.

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