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

When bad sciences gets worse.

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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Steps to address a non-existent problem

 

Yesterday demonstrated the effects of a coordinated effort to discredit one of the most disruptive technologies that has several groups within ‘public health’ worried. Not only for their funding source, which is neither here nor there, but also for the steadily decreasing relevance.

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A New Confidence Trick

As noted in 2006, ahead of the free vote to ban smoking in public spaces:

It is essential that campaigners create the impression of inevitable success. Campaigning of this kind is literally a confidence trick: the appearance of confidence both creates confidence and demoralises the opposition.

They “knew” they were going to win, and thus were confident in securing the votes for their “next logical step” in the war on smokers.

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Another Ratchet Notch

Or in the words of Simon Clarkcreeping prohibition. Which is exactly what it is.

Bexleyheath town centre could become the first London Borough to implement smokefree zone

Time, and time again we see councils doing mad stunts like this. Bristol, of course, did it with voluntary bans in two town squares. Wales then banned smoking on a series of beaches. Swansea held a consultation (subsequently ignored, natch), Sheffield has done it, and of course, various NHS hospitals are banning smoking anywhere on their grounds, and finally, Birmingham Children’s Hospital proposed enforcing a smoke-free zone for nearby roads outside their grounds.

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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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