Good Grief

Another Round of Bullshit Bingo

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”.
A New Confidence Trick

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.
E-Cigarettes and DNA Damage

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 (NASEM) 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.
Public Health’s Useful Idiot

Public Health’s Useful Idiot

“Big Vape is copying Big Tobacco’s playbook” says Liza Gross in her recent article on The Verge. This isn’t the first time, nor I suspect will it be the last time, that a media outlet tries to conjure up images of a faceless, and evil industry by conflating the tobacco and vaping industries. Even if a representative of the vaping industry is interviewed (which is rare), the journalistic hack tries to subtly (or not so subtle in some cases) taint the piece with the usual “shill” claims.
Ideology Beats Science

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. Again, not particularly surprising. But it does highlight a very interesting, and potentially damaging viewpoint. Let’s be brutally honest here, the funding received by many tobacco controllers is via taxes.
Vaping as a Stick

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.
The Gateway: Reloaded

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.
Social Media Snooping

Social Media Snooping

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”.
An Absolute Shitshow

An Absolute Shitshow

With so much happening behind the scenes at Facts Towers I almost, almost missed this large, festering pile of bantha poodoo. I say almost, because, well it’s bloody difficult to miss it. Y’see, an article in The Sun no less gives the impression that Cancer Research UK is putting some vape-friendly ads out. I haven’t seen them myself, so I have no idea what they look like. Remember, it is fast approaching “Stoptober”, the annual public health splurge on convincing folks that you really should be stopping smoking now.
Very Low Intelligence

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).