Tuesday, September 17, 2013

How Low Can We Go? Basis of Anti-Smoking Researcher's Conclusion About Overall Health Consequences of E-Cigarettes: Two Anonymous Blog Commenters

In a recent blog post, Dr. Stan Glantz argues that heavy promotion of electronic cigarettes will increase, rather than decrease, the toll of nicotine addiction.

Question for my readers: Which of the following is the evidence upon which Dr. Glantz puts forward his argument?

A. A review of clinical trials on the effectiveness of electronic cigarettes.
B. A review of laboratory studies of the chemical constituents of electronic cigarette vapor.
C. A review of survey evidence of youth use of electronic cigarettes.
D. All of the above.
E. A weighing of the potential health benefits and costs of promoting electronic cigarettes.
F. Comments made by two anonymous blog commenters.

The Rest of the Story

To see how low we have gone, the answer to the question is:

F. Comments made by two anonymous blog commenters.

It is sad to me that this is where we are at now. A major anti-smoking researcher offers a widely-disseminated public opinion about the net benefits of electronic cigarettes to the overall public health of the nation, and his opinion is based on the rantings of two anonymous blog commenters!

Clearly, this is someone who has drawn a pre-determined conclusion about electronic cigarettes and their net impact on the public's health and who is not interested in serious consideration of this issue on anything close to a scientific basis.

It truly saddens me to see to depths to which the anti-smoking movement has deteriorated.

The issue of the net impact of the marketing of electronic cigarettes on the public's health is a complex one that, at a minimum, involves a consideration of:
  • the likely number of smokers who will quit smoking as a result of electronic cigarette promotion;
  • the safety advantages of electronic cigarettes over continued smoking;
  • the natural history of smoking in the absence of an electronic cigarette trial;
  • the uptake of electronic cigarettes by nonsmoking youth and the extent of progression to established smoking.
But apparently it's a lot simpler for some anti-smoking researchers. The whole question can be answered by two blog rants by Patricia and Stig.

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