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Ideology Beats Science

It seems that the shrieking from tobacco control about the Smoke-Free Foundation is still going. I am not particularly surprised by the near-constant wailing. It has, however, taken on a particularly curious note with the activist magazine Tobacco Control now flat refusing to publish any “industry-funded” papers; something it’s refused to do since 2013.

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Still Screaming

It’s been about a month since the announcement of a lot of cash being spent (transparently mind, unlike tobacco control) to further support research into harm reduction products which caused quite a stir within the tobacco control industry. Much to mine, and several others, delight.

As far as it is understood, Phillip Morris – who right now is trying to cosy up to public health (and failing miserably – take note vapers) – are going to be shovelling a rather large amount of cash into this initiative. Rather large equating to approximately 80M US Greenback.

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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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Very Low Intelligence

 

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.

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A Typology of Vapers

Typology. According to the Oxford English Dictionary (sorry Mirriam-Webster, I’m English, not American; although here, both have the same definition) is “A classification according to general type, especially in archaeology, psychology, or the social sciences.”

Amusingly, it can also be defined as “The study and interpretation of types and symbols, originally especially in the Bible.” As I’m in no way going to be analysing the Bible (the greatest work of fiction ever devised), the former definition applies. Here, it refers to this paper, and after reading the abstract my initial reaction was to award it with the “Pointless Research Award”.

In the interests of fairness, I’m going to shelve that initial reaction, be open-minded and thus comment on the substance of the paper itself. Should be interesting.

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