If like me, you call “bullshit” whenever a news article claims that “e-cigs are as bad as smoking”, you’ve probably been playing the same game of bullshit bingo as I have.
Trouble is, I never seem to win anything.
The latest headlines, generated by a dodgy press release naturally, to spread like wildfire is, of course, all about “toxic metals” found in the liquid and aerosol. Naturally, when I first saw the headline, I uttered the now infamous phrase: “I call bullshit”.
Leaving aside the fact that I haven’t posted for a while (almost two months), it isn’t particularly surprising to find that a) the media are at it again, and b) tobacco control researchers are at it again.
We have seen this kind of study before, at around the same time of the year, where some ‘research’ makes some claim about how e-cigarettes are “worse than originally thought”. We’ve recently seen a report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine in the US which largely mirrors the findings from the UK’s Royal College of Physicians; I do plan to go over that at some point – time permitting.
Of course, there’s always more research to be done, nothing is ever 100 percent conclusive, so it is unsurprising to see more DNA research.
Sure, most vapers view vaping as a way off tobacco and bully for them. Some view it as a cessation method; ‘cos they wanted to stop smoking and nothing else worked for them. Again, bully for them. Vaping is, by and large, a flexible and thoroughly enjoyable pastime.
Thing is, most in public health, and tobacco control in particular, will never see vaping as anything but a cessation tool, or a threat to their funding. They would love to have vapers work with them to “end the tobacco epidemic“, and while yes, beating public health around the head with a stack of evidence to get them to back off has had a remarkable effect; after all the UK is the most forward-looking on ecigs, it is far from being perfect. Mostly, public health and tobacco control should just fuck off, and leave us alone.
Just recently, the “gateway theory” has been doing the rounds yet again. I stumbled across this paper that claims the gateway theory is in fact, real and undeniable.
As usual, the researchers are making wild claims about cause and effect, but there’s one key problem with this paper, in that it is the outcome of focus groups:
It is a form of qualitative research consisting of interviews in which a group of people are asked about their perceptions, opinions, beliefs, and attitudes towards a product, service, concept, advertisement, idea, or packaging.
Here we go again. More taxpayer funded “research” to look at what average, everyday people are saying on Twitter. I’ve written about this type of research before, and no doubt I’ll end up writing about it again, and again, and again ad infinitum.
The supposed aim of this spectacular pile of fetid, festering, dingo kidneys is to try and automatically classify Twitter users who tweet about e-cigarettes into “distinct categories”.
I guess this lot were bored or had a stack of cash floating around that was about to be nabbed by something worthwhile, or they had another study idea that needed a cash injection so they needed to waste cash to get more. Typical tobacco control “research”
I know. I borrowed the title from jewel robber extraordinaire Dick Puddlecote. He won’t mind. It is, in fact, thanks to the illustrious Puddlecote that I became aware of another pile of utter rubbish.
A quick glance at the PubMed abstract piqued my (slightly addled) science brain. I’ve written about the very low nicotine cigarette debacle before, and that (at the time) Ms Cramer of RSPH had given a talk at the E-Cigarette Summit (2015) on the idea of “de-nicotinised” e-cigs and how, by some miracle, that led to fewer cigarettes being smoked but more vaping (the ol’ self-titration theory being proven once again).
Puddlecote has mentioned, a couple of times, the whole thing surrounding VLNC in the US is nothing more than a thinly veiled attempt at coercion. He goes on to remind his readers that Tobacco Control conveniently forgets the whole low-tar cigarettes were instigated – by them – through legislation.