What to do about…

Today was meant to be the day when something erupted from California.  There were two options on what it could be, either the classical “e-cigs don’t aid cessation” stories where some pseudo-scientist deep in the bowels of UU pokes a few buttons on Hex, sends the antz scurrying to come up with a catchy click worthy headline.

That one did pop up briefly.  It is still being touted around but not as loudly as the other “story”.


Straight from the wizard himself after feeding the antz some sugar substitute. Not exactly catchy is it, but then again it is on the UU blog. The NY Times came up with something a bit shorter, but still lacking that certain something.



There were plenty of other online articles that followed similar patterns.  They all included one of two statements:

  • “Rises Sharply” or “Sharp Rise”
  • “Teen E-Cigarette Use Triples”

But where did all this information come from? Ah but of course, the Palace of Misinformation more commonly known as the CDC as a result of the NYTS (National Youth Tobacco Survey).

“NYTS is a cross-sectional, school-based, self-administered, pencil-and-paper questionnaire administered to U.S. middle and high school students.”

Self-administered just like the teaching that takes place at UCSF, following on from the cosmic theory that putting a large number of books (and other material) in one place will attract people to read them and gain some kind of knowledge.  Pretty sure that it isn’t working.

The NYTS asks a variety of questions such as “where’s my Wow Wow sauce” and “When is the sixth course”.  It also asks the most pertinent question for all new arrivals at UU: “do you know where the bathrooms are”.

Of course, the Archchancellor has no time to answer such meaningful questions and instead chooses to ask meaningless ones instead:

  • “During the past 30 days, on how many days did you smoke cigarettes?”
  • “During the past 30 days, on how many days did you use electronic cigarettes or e-cigarettes such as Blu, 21st Century Smoke, or NJOY?”

Of course, an ‘astonishingly high’ 24.6% (of an estimated 3.7Million users, but only 22,007 responded for the 2014) had used any tobacco product which includes Hookah, cigarettes, cigars, e-cigs, Snus, smokeless tobacco, Pipes. You get the picture.

Among all high school students, e-cigarettes (13.4%) were the most common tobacco products used, followed by hookahs (9.4%), cigarettes (9.2%), cigars (8.2%), smokeless tobacco (5.5%), snus (1.9%), pipes (1.5%), bidis (0.9%), and dissolvables (0.6%)

So over three quarters of the 22,007 responders don’t use any tobacco product at all. No story there is there so let’s focus on the remaining 24.6% who happened to use a ‘tobacco product’. Of course e-cigarettes would feature prominently wouldn’t they since the delightful Guild of Alchemists defined a ‘tobacco product’ as being vaguely associated with the plant, after all there isn’t anyone actually advertising them are they? Oh. Right.



Ignoring the first two entries, e-cigs are definitely on the up and up, but cigarettes are decreasing! Surely this is cause for celebration no?


No I guess not. There’s pages upon pages of online media outlets all crying the same fucking story. Must speak to the Guild of Writers about this.



All despite the fact that smoking has decreased at its fastest rate ever recorded.  There’s only one reason for the outcry.


This pucker faced putrid fritzl-admiring chunder-thunt. A freaking mechanical engineer. He’d make the Beggars Guild cringe.

Dr Gil Ross sums it up:

“See how simple it is to promote your agenda over public health? The authors merely had to conflate use of e-cigarettes and smoking to get to their goal: ‘no change in overall tobacco use…’ But there is no tobacco in e-cigs/vapor products, which they well know. They continue to beat the drum of the ‘Gateway Effect’ myth, implying or asserting that e-cigs are a road to nicotine addiction and thence to cigarettes — when their own data show clearly the opposite: e-cigs are a gateway out of smoking, for kids just like adults.”

Dr Abrams also mentions that the NYTS has limitations:

There are limitations to the conclusions one can draw from NYTS data. “We need to carefully watch patterns of e-cigarette use,” Abrams said. “Longitudinal studies like the National Institute of Health’s Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health and Legacy’s Teen Longitudinal Cohort will be coming out in the next few years. Those studies will deepen our understanding of e-cigarette use and help us answer what are still open questions today as to whether e-cigarette use is a gateway to smoking combustible products or to lifelong nicotine addiction. While those questions remain, we want to be clear that we absolutely know that any nicotine use by youth is unacceptable.

So instead of looking at the pretty graphs with total figures, why not look at the whole damned thing in context. I’m no scientist and it took me a few minutes to track down the key information I needed. Of course, Dr Frieden of the CDC would never admit to making a mistake now would he?

Dr. Frieden was quoted as stating that electronic cigarettes are “condemning many kids to struggling with a lifelong addiction to nicotine.”

Whoops. Never mind that eh? We’ll just create another fiction about the cheeeldren.

In the meantime, I’m off to a meeting with the Patrician. Something about the Guild of Assassins and a contract….

3 thoughts on “What to do about…”

  1. Find the article and your site very interesting, Just have to share an incident that occurred yesterday. Quick bit of background first,My local Costa coffee do have a no e-cigarettes sticker in the door (its a smaller version of the no smoking stickers), But i do vape in there, Discretely as i go in there 3 or 4 times a week and spend lots of money (only ever asked by staff to not vape once and she then apoligised and said i understand your frustration but her bosses have made their decision).

    So yesterday sat down with Two other people, Vaped, Looked up and immediately a guy caught my eye, Guy; Whoa what are you doing you cant smoke in here, Me; Im not smoking its vapour, Guy; I dont care you cant smoke in here its illegal (now shouting loudly and getting aggressive), Me; Smoking, Its vapour, Completely different thing, Guy; Youre smoking, Thats smoke, Me; its not smoke, Guy; Well theres tobacco in it then (i vape with a huge battery and a Kanger Pro tank), Me;(now laughing) Tobacco?, Where? (holding vaper up), Guy; Oh well its illegal im gonna tell em now on my way out, and tell he did, Girl came up and of course said i couldnt use it, So i started on her then saying well is it illegal to vape?, Of course she said no it isnt but i cannot use it anyway.

    I was completely taken aback by this guys level of ignorance to vaping, In his eyes i was smoking a benson & hedges. What gets me the most about the incident is that its ignorant fools like him who are getting places like Costa to ban them as they are complaining again and again about something they know absolutely nothing about, If this guy had bothered to educate himself would he have acted in the same way? I doubt he would, I worry for vapers when there are people out there who literally think we are smoking with these things.

    I smoked dreadful cigarettes from 11 to 34 then decided to buy a vape kit, Never had a single cigarette since not even a drag,My Mums partner smoked heavily for many years, Has developed COPD and had Heart Stents fitted but still smoked until one morning he was on his hands and knees in the bathroom literally choking to death,From that day hes never smoked again thanks entirely to vaping.We and vaping deserve bloody credit for this achievement, Not demonizing, Not people seeing you vape indoors and reacting crazily as though youve just lit a ciggie up, Massively frustrating.

    1. Thank you so much for sharing this. It serves to highlight just how much the scary headlines and the constant dogmatic views of Tobacco Control have been ingrained into the minds of many of the public.

      Slowly the general public opinion is starting to change, it’s easy to demonise but much more difficult to bring their thinking to the point of questioning everything they hear about vaping. Progress is being made, it’s just slow.

      Incidents like this are where we as the “mere mortals” can attempt to politely educate those who believe the headlines over the facts.

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