California ecig “regulation” hearing: a catalog of lies (part 1)

by Carl V Phillips

On April 8, the California Senate Health Committee held a hearing on an anti-ecig bill. This was an amazing job of cataloging the many anti-THR lies about e-cigarettes. The main immediate impact of the bill would be to ban vaping in all the private and public (mostly private) places where smoking is banned, but the preamble of the bill makes clear that the plans are much worse than that, including licensing and laying the groundwork for punitive taxes on vapers. (That would be to punish them for denying California the buck-and-a-half per pack (approximately) that they were paying the state when they smoked.) Continue reading

TPSAC meeting on Swedish Match MRTP application: is there a scientist in the house?

by Carl V Phillips

The FDA just concluded the meeting of their Tobacco Product Scientific Advisory Committee (TPSAC) to review the MRTP application by Swedish Match to change the incorrect warning labels on their smokeless tobacco products. They applied for removal of the warnings that say that the products cause diseases that they do not actually seem to cause (meaning: to a measurable degree, of course) and to replace them with a warning statement that says while no tobacco product is safe, these are substantially lower risk than smoking. (Background on that here, here, and here.) In other words, they were asking to be able to state something that is beyond doubt and not be forced to make claims that are not supported by the science.

So how do you think this extremely reasonable and clearly valid supplication to the FDA went? Continue reading

Chinglishization of CVP (utterly trivial)

by Carl V Phillips

I found myself laughing out loud at a series of alerts that showed up in my inbox. I think they are probably link-farm spam sites, though they might be touting e-cigarettes. It does not really matter. They were apparently working from a (presumably unauthorized) translation — into Chinese I am pretty sure — of a sentence that appeared in a mediocre article in Forbes:

“E-cigarettes are part of a larger phenomenon known as tobacco harm reduction,” says Carl Phillips, PhD, scientific director[*] of Consumer Advocates for Smoke-free Alternatives Association (CASAA)

Continue reading

Discovered: the stupidest thing the tobacco control industry has ever said (fairly trivial)

by Carl V Phillips

If you are looking for an important post, read the previous one. Then read it again — I really think it is crucial. After that, you can share today’s discovery, of what may be the stupidest thing the tobacco control industry has ever written.

I am not talking about the worst claim or the most harmful — those would obviously be anti-THR lies, though I am not sure how you would pick one to put at the top of the list. I am not talking about other major lies that have distorted public policy and contributed to the Orwell-ization of our society, like the claims that smoking costs the government money or that moderate exposure to environmental tobacco smoke causes a measurable risk of disease. I do not even mean bald-faced statements whose falsehood is obvious to anyone who gives the a moment’s thought, like their claims that tobacco use has no benefits. No, I am talking about one of those moments when someone says something so stupid that you open your mouth to reply but are are overwhelmed and have no idea where to start, and so are frozen like an open-mouthed statue by the sheer enormity of the stupid. Continue reading

More on “public health” and the mirror image delusion (California War on Ecigs edition)

by Carl V Phillips

I have previous written about the dominance of the mirror image delusion among “public health” types, including tobacco control. It refers to the tendency of non-insightful people to think that whoever is across the table from them is fundamentally just like them. This is, for example, what leads them to make absurd assertions like drinking soda or tobacco use has no benefits. They personally don’t care for it and cannot understand how anyone can be any different from them. Recognizing the mirror image delusion in someone offers some useful insight: When they accuse others of something, it tells you they themselves are guilty of it or realize they would be guilty of if offered the opportunity. So liars assume that others are lying, someone who is inclined to have an affair will suspect their partner of having an affair, etc. Continue reading

New study: smoking may be harmless in the 21st century

by Carl V Phillips

The abstract of the new study, just published in the Journal of Abstracts that are More Educational than an Entire MPH Curriculum:

Title: The potential harmlessness of smoking

Background: While smoking was demonstrated to be a widespread and moderately-high-magnitude health threat in the 20th century, less is known about what effects it will have in the 21st.

Methods: Systematic review of journal articles reporting measures of disease risk from smoking during the 21st century.

Results: In contrast with the overwhelming evidence that smoking during the 20th century caused death and disease, no evidence was found to support a similar claim about the 21st century. No RCTs were found, and thus the effects cannot be proven to exist. Moreover, the observational studies that reported effects of smoking during the 21st century consistently failed to control for overwhelming confounding by the well-known risk factor, smoking in the 20th century, and thus the results are highly suspect.

Conclusions: Smoking during the present century may be harmless. All smoking-related public policies that are premised on smoking being harmful should be immediately revoked, in accordance with the precautionary principle and the requirement to do no harm. Continue reading

A real peer review of Hughes et al paper on teenage use of ecigs

by Carl V Phillips

As I alluded to in the previous post, I am working on a project to review the quality of peer review of papers in the THR space. The first step in that is to write a review of the original submission to the journal. It will then be compared to what the journal’s reviewers actually wrote. It just so happens that a paper that came out today and that is currently dominating the chattering on the topic — “Associations between e-cigarette access and smoking and drinking behaviours in teenagers”, by Karen Hughes, Mark A Bellis, Katherine A Hardcastle, Philip McHale, Andrew Bennett, Robin Ireland, and Kate Pike — happens to fit the criteria for inclusion in our study. So I went ahead and wrote my review of it so I could share it before everyone moves on to a new shiny object du jour. Continue reading

Peer review and sins of omission

by Carl V Phillips

I was recently compiling a collection of journal articles related to THR for a study of peer review. (More on that before too long. Note to those who have been anticipating this work: Yes, I am a few months behind — is anyone actually surprised by that? But, yes, it is coming along.)

One thing that I was struck by was how many articles about assisted smoking cessation did not make the cut to be in our collection because there is no mention of THR. I guess it comes as no surprise when you think about it. But the sheer volume comes as a rather stark illustration for those of us whose reading is concentrated on articles that do focus on THR and THR products. Continue reading