Predisposed Outcomes

Another day, another study. Two actually. Though the first I was planning to cover is a meta analysis (which will have to wait), while the second is a vaping mouse study. As most of you will no doubt be aware, conducting experiments on mice is an age-old way of identifying possible links to humans.

However, in a large number of cases, the results identified in mice do not necessarily translate well across species to us homo-sapiens. Unfortunately, the fallout from this study is going to be the usual moral panic.

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Awareness Failure

It’s been a while since I had a good look at some junk science. I kind of missed doing it. So, what better way to get back to it then with this steaming pile of festering dingo kidneys?

This study sought to assess: 1) pervasiveness of vaping or electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) use, 2) General understanding of information on vaping or e-cigarette use, 3) Prevalence and respondent awareness of smoking/vaping prevention programs, and 4) Awareness of the harmful effects of e-cigarettes.

Kanyadan et al 2019

Oh boy.

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Another Round of Bullshit Bingo

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”.

Here’s why.

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E-Cigarettes and DNA Damage

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.

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Vaping as a Stick

I’m sure I don’t need to remind you, but vaping isn’t a stick to go around beating smokers with. It isn’t purely a cessation tool, though most alphabet organisations would love you to believe that.

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.

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The Gateway: Reloaded

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.

 

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