Thursday, October 08, 2015

Anti-Smoking Researcher: Cutting Down on the Amount You Smoke Has Benefits if You Cut Down Using Low-Nicotine Cigarettes, But Not if You Use E-Cigarettes

In a Jekyll and Hyde fashion, Dr. Stan Glantz has taken two opposite positions on the issue of whether reducing cigarette consumption can convey health benefits. If you reduce cigarette consumption using e-cigarettes, it has no health benefits, Glantz says. But if you reduce cigarette consumption by switching to low-nicotine cigarettes, it does have health benefits, according to Glantz.

In his comments on the recent study of low-nicotine cigarettes, Dr. Glantz insinuates that reducing the amount you smoke does have health benefits, and he applauds low-nicotine cigarettes for what he suggests is the benefit of helping smokers reduce the amount that they smoke.

However, in commenting on electronic cigarettes, Dr. Glantz argued that cutting down substantially on the amount you smoke has no health benefit. Thus, according to Dr. Glantz, smoking two packs of cigarettes per day is no more harmful than smoking a half pack per day, for example.

Dr. Glantz's comments on the lack of health benefit in cutting down on one's smoking came in response to one of the reported benefits of electronic cigarettes: that they help many smokers to cut down substantially on the amount they smoke. Glantz wrote: "Dual users, who simultaneously use both products, are unlikely to see much, if any, health benefit because of the continued cigarette use, even if daily consumption drops." In other words, if you are still smoking, there are no benefits from cutting down on the amount you smoke thanks to e-cigarettes.

This is actually an important point because in published studies of the efficacy of electronic cigarettes, they reportedly helped more than half of smokers to either quit completely or cut down the amount they smoked by 50% or more. Thus, electronic cigarettes - even dual use - results in a substantial decline in cigarette consumption for the majority of users.

The Rest of the Story

This story illustrates the tremendous bias present among many anti-tobacco groups and advocates. I discussed this bias yesterday in revealing how anti-tobacco groups have embraced low-nicotine cigarettes as a smoking cessation strategy while shunning e-cigarettes, despite evidence that low-nicotine cigarettes have no effect on cessation or reducing cigarette consumption while e-cigarettes do.

Here, Dr. Glantz would have us believe that if you reduce your cigarette consumption using low-nicotine cigarettes, it will have a health benefit, but if you reduce your consumption using e-cigarettes, it will not have a health benefit. Of course, this is impossible because your body doesn't know how you cut down on the amount you smoke; it just responds to the amount of cigarette smoke that you are inhaling.

But it would not have been convenient for Dr. Glantz to argue that cutting consumption has health benefits in the context of e-cigarettes because he has apparently reached a pre-determined conclusion that e-cigarettes are evil and aims to demonize them every chance he gets. He clearly has a bias towards continued consumption of tobacco cigarettes, for a reason that makes no public health sense but will certainly aid cigarette company profits.

The public should not trust information they receive from anti-smoking groups any longer. We are no longer a credible source for scientific or public health information. You're better off going with the tobacco companies, or Wikipedia!

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