Denial of the Echo Chamber

One of the many reasons I have a blog is so that I can spout, mostly nonsense, into the ether my thoughts on a particular topic that piques my interest. Most of the posts on these pages cover the various bits of “science” – mostly bad science – that grab sensationalist headlines, that do nothing more than to confuse a highly nuanced subject. Most of the time I am fairly factual, though quite often I will, quite frankly, take the piss.

It’s cathartic.

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Our survey says….

Surveys. I’ve touched on the usual suspects upholding their own data as though it was the Holy Grail before. ASH is utterly remorseless when it comes to trumpeting their own data, usually for their own means, and they also heap scorn on data that contradicts their sacrosanct view of the populace. Typically, in the UK we have two primary sets of survey data on smoking – the ASH survey (hosted by YouGov) and of course the Smoking Toolkit Study.

Both of these, along with many others run by Cancer Research UK, consistently show that never-smoking-teens rarely pick up e-cigs. They also consistently show little or no progression from e-cigs to combustible tobacco. They also consistently show a decrease in smoking prevalence at the same time there’s an increase in e-cig prevalence. It’s hardly the silver bullet to prove (or disprove) “gateway” theories correct or otherwise; after all it is still perfectly feasible that some insanely curious folks will experiment with both. It’ll happen.

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Control, control, you must be controlled

As I’m sure you’re aware, England has had their ridiculous ban on smoking in cars since September 2015. They even “celebrated” the anniversary this year where there was a totally unremarkable 3% decline in self-reported exposure in kids to smoke in cars – using their own survey figures of course. Now the so-called “ban” in England didn’t apply to Scotland, so instead they had to create their own version of the Orwellian legislation.

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Feel the Heat, not the Burn

In case you haven’t been paying attention, the news is awash with an announcement from Philip Morris saying that their Heat-not-Burn product iQOS is coming to the UK. London specifically – for the moment at least.

Well, so what you might be asking, why has a new product launch attracted so much press? The answer to that is two-fold. One, it’s a new product from a tobacco company. We all know how much folks are beginning to despise the tobacco industry – particularly those in tobacco control and public health. Two, it sits in the middle-ish of the “risk-profile” (if such a thing is to be believed) with combustibles at the top, abstinence at the bottom, NRT, e-cigarettes, and snus all feature.

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