We are only two weeks into 2014, but that's all the time needed for the rigor of tobacco control science to have degraded to about the lowest level imaginable.
In a blog commentary entitled "New Evidence that Ecigs Promoting Nicotine Addiction among Young Adults," Stan Glantz argues on his blog that a new study has provided evidence that electronic cigarette use leads to nicotine addiction among young adults who have quit smoking in the past or never smoked in the first place.
Stan writes: "Kelvin Choi and Jean Forester just published a well-done longitudinal study of young adults that followed young adults in Minnesota for one year
and examined how attitudes about e-cigarettes affected behavior. They report that one year after entering the study 7.4% of the young
adults reported ever using e-cigarettes (21.6% among baseline current
smokers, 11.9% among baseline former smokers, and 2.9% among baseline
nonsmokers). Put another way, 11.9% of people who had quit smoking
before the study started were using e-cigarettes at the end as were 2.9%
of people who had never smoked. For these people, e-cigarettes were a pathway to renewed or new nicotine addiction."
The Rest of the Story
The rest of the story is that the study actually did not find that 11.9% of the former smokers were addicted to nicotine at follow-up. Nor did it find that 2.9% of the baseline nonsmokers were currently addicted to nicotine.
And to make matters even worse, the study actually did not even find that 11.9% of the former smokers were currently using electronic cigarettes. Nor did it find that 2.9% of the baseline nonsmokers were currently using electronic cigarettes.
What the study found was that 11.9% of the former smokers had ever tried an electronic cigarette in the past year. This means they might have tried an electronic cigarette once and never taken another puff again. It means they may have tried a single puff on an electronic cigarette just to see what it was like.
Similarly, the study found that 2.9% of the baseline nonsmokers had ever tried an electronic cigarette in the past year. It could have been that the respondent took a single puff on an electronic cigarette and never took another puff.
But instead of telling the truth, Dr. Glantz distorts the results (essentially, he just makes up a new study which didn't take place), and has us believe that this study actually measured addiction to electronic cigarettes. In fact, the study didn't even measure regular use of electronic cigarettes. It didn't even measure current use of electronic cigarettes.
I'm sorry but the rigor of our science has degraded to about the equivalent of that of the tobacco industry of the 1980s.