Glantz attempt at dialogue makes clear the vacuousness of his arguments

by Carl V Phillips

The leading ANTZ strategy for creating the illusion that they have valid arguments, hiding the fact that they are a combination of liars and clueless, is to avoid dialogue. It is relatively easy to create the illusion of valid arguments that will trick the ignorant masses (and especially one’s own useful idiots) if you simply keep repeating your talking points and pretend that the rebuttals to them do not exist. The ANTZ make a practice of not showing up at any public discussion (except the fake public discussions where they control the entire agenda and prevent the airing of rebuttals) and pretending that the evidence that shows they are lying does not exist. The reasons for this are clear: If they try to engage in dialogue, it immediately becomes apparent that they do not have a leg to stand on.

Case in point is an attempt by Stanton Glantz to respond to the valid arguments against banning the use of e-cigarettes in private indoor spaces. (The ANTZ have tricked people into calling these “public place” bans, but it is actually the case that nearly all of the places affected by them are private, and that those who control actual public spaces can implement local prohibitions without those draconian actions.) In response to one such proposal, someone entered into evidence this document by Wisconsin Smoke-free Alternatives Coalition (WSAC). Note that this document borrows (with permission and acknowledgment) some language from  CASAA documents (and thus I am the original author of a few of its passages), and the primary author is a member of the CASAA leadership (Kristin Noll-Marsh), but this is not a CASAA document as implied by Glantz.

Glantz makes the mistake of attempting a partial rebuttal on his “blog” (scare quotes because unlike what we normally think of as a legitimate blog, he does not allow critical responses in the comments section — thus this appears here instead of there; he or his useful idiots are free to respond here, of course, and will not be politically censored as at Glantz’s site because this is a truth-seeking environment). In so doing, he demonstrates how poorly he and other ANTZ stand up when faced with a real argument, as shown below. Note that the original document is 10 pages long, so Glantz was cherrypicking a few sentences that he thought he had a response to, which further emphasizes just how weak his arguments are and how stupid he thinks his followers are — he ignored 90% of the content, but still could not formulate valid arguments against the 10% he chose.

The indented material is from Glantz’s post. The lines in quotation marks are the ones he chose to try to rebut from the WSAC document. Note that I have quoted all of Glantz’s attempted arguments rather than cherrypicking a few points like he did.

“Most of the information provided to lawmakers is from special interests that have a clear agenda against tobacco harm reduction policies.”

Whether or not e-cigarettes end up having the effect of reducing the damage that smoking does (assertions that have yet to be demonstrated) has nothing to do with whether they are used indoors where bystanders are exposed to the secondhand nicotine, ultrafine particles, and other toxins that e-cigarette users exhale.  Having spent decades cleaning up indoor air, there is no reason to pollute it again.

Even if one accepts the argument that e-cigarette users are using them in place of dirtier cigarettes, these people could not smoke and expose themselves to the nicotine and other toxins in cigarettes in smokefree environments.  Allowing e-cigarette use would, therefore, result in an increase in total exposure to nicotine and other toxins in e-cigarette users (compared to smoking nothing).

Numerous false and unsupported claims that appear here that are not central to this point; some are addressed below. Notice the standard sociopathic ANTZ tactic here: Throw out a dozen different lies any chance you get, even if irrelevant to the case in point, because it is trivial to lie but takes a lot of effort to rebut. Glantz’s claim here — to put it more clearly than he appears capable of — is that pro-THR arguments are irrelevant to private indoor space bans. This is both false and fails to respond to what the WSAC document actually said.

The WSAC claim — as should be obvious to anyone with better reading comprehension than Glantz — is not “harm reduction is good, and therefore these proposals are bad,” but rather “the people promoting these laws are motivated by an anti-harm-reduction agenda, not genuine concern about indoor air.” That is obviously relevant for understanding what is going on. When someone claims that they are really concerned about X, and are basing their claims on supposed-science about X, but it is clear that pursuing X is merely part of a different agenda, then you should be suspicious.

You should be suspicious that (a) their arguments for X are disingenuous and (b) they are lying about the scientific claims. These are both, of course, true about Glantz et al. This is the concept known as conflict of interest (COI) — a worldly goal that might create the incentive to lie about the material at hand. It is something that Glantz and his colleagues do not understand, as evidenced by their consistent lie, in COI disclosures, that they have no COI.

COI plays out like this: If someone who is genuinely concerned about indoor air quality presented information that ostensibly supported the claim that indoor air quality is threatened by vaping, then it is reasonable to trust that they think they are telling the truth. They might not understand the science (a safe bet if they are anything like tobacco control people) and they might be so overly concerned about indoor air quality, to the exclusion of all else that people care about, that they overstate the case for restrictions. But at least you could trust that they actually care about what they pretend to care about. But when their real interest is just stopping THR, and thus bans are just one of the many attacks on THR they are pursuing, then there is an obvious reason to question whether their claims about air quality have anything at all to do with the truth. In this case, it is clear that they are just being made up by anti-THR liars to further their cause.

Pointing out this ulterior motive is WSAC’s point, which Glantz failed to respond to at all in his supposed response. In this particular case, I suspect this is because he is so immersed in the web of lies that he genuinely did not understand WSAC’s point, and so was incapable of responding. Tobacco control people like him are so used to acting based on their COI, and lying about it, that they forget they are doing it.

“Special interests [pressing to include e-cigarettes in clean indoor air laws] that have … financial ties to industries that sell products that are in direct competition with e-cigarettes.”

This is certainly not true for us or the nonsmokers’ rights advocates we know.

The irony in this claim, of course, is that the major cigarette companies, Philip Morris, RJ Reynolds, Lorillard, and BAT, have either purchased or started manufacturing their own e-cigarette brands beginning in 2013 and accelerating in 2014.  As of December 2014, the major cigarette manufacturers owned about half of the e-cigarette market.

Notice that his first “response” to the observation that the proponents of the bans have financial COIs, in addition to their other COIs, is to assert (inaccurately, it turns out — but that is another story) that one particular such group does not have the financial COI. Do I even have to explain how stupid this is?

His “response” then gets even stupider. Apparently he thinks the word “irony” has something to do with irrelevant tangential claims — he really needs to spend some of his ill-gotten millions on a dictionary.

To sum up what we have seen so far, the quoted true observations by WSAC can be summed up as “those proposing these bans are motivated by anti-THR interests, some of which are financial, and are just making up claims about air quality to support a different agenda.” Glantz’s attempt at responding consists of “it does not matter whether THR is beneficial,” “one particular organization does not have one particular kind of financial COI,” and “major tobacco companies are in this market.” Anyone see any connection between the original observations and what Glantz seems to think is a response to them? Anything at all? No, me neither.

What we have here is partially a case of Glantz having no hesitation about telling lies about anything. But we also have a pretty clear example of him not even understanding things well enough to know what would constitute a relevant response.

I have to break the next one apart because each sentence of the response is a different lie. Again, note the observation about tobacco control people just vomiting out every lie they can think of in order to fool the reader.

“An e-cigarette is a smoke-free device used almost exclusively as an alternative to smoking.”

The dominant pattern among adults is “dual use” of cigarettes and e-cigarettes, i.e., most smokers continue smoking while using e-cigarettes, but 32.5% of current e-cigarette users were never or former smokers. [sic — run-on sentence in original]

Note the total non sequitur (which is presumably another example of Glantz’s failure to understand even basic reasoning). The WSAC document said “an alternative” not “a 100% substitute”. Someone who is partially substituting e-cigarettes, eliminating some of their smoking (which tobacco control people like to try to denigrate with the term “dual use”), is using the e-cigarette as an alternative to smoking, just like WSAC said.

The next part is standard Glantz lying. The average useful-idiot reader of Glantz (which is, of course, his main target audience — those tobacco control people who are not sociopaths, but can be tricked by the lies) will read that as saying that e-cigarettes are attracting nonsmokers. But what the study actually showed is that almost everyone who had recently puffed an e-cigarette was either a smoker (partial substitution) or a former smoker (complete substitution). Only a few percent were never smokers. In other words, this study confirms exactly what WSAC wrote, even though Glantz is lying and implying that it contradicts the quoted (true) observation. (As an aside, it is worth mentioning that most non-smokers who have recently puffed an e-cigarette are not users by any normal definition of the term. They are just normal humans who are not irrationally terrified of tobacco products, and naturally wanted to give one a try.)

Use of e-cigarettes among never-smoking adolescents is increasing rapidly, much more rapidly than among adults, particularly among middle and high school students with relatively low susceptibility to smoking cigarettes.

I suppose if you define “increasing rapidly” to mean “going from zero to a few percent”, then this is technically true. Of course, that is not what he wants to trick his readers into believing. In any case, it in no way denies the accuracy of the original WSAC statement he pretends that he is rebutting.

The CDC found that “Never-smokers who had ever used e-cigarettes were nearly twice as likely to have an intention to smoke conventional cigarettes than never smokers who had not used e-cigarettes” indicating that e-cigarettes may serve as a gateway to conventional cigarettes and not as alternatives to smoking.

This, of course, is utterly false. I have pointed out Glantz’s lies on this subject in detail elsewhere (example). There is no possible way that he cannot know that he is lying about these claims. But, of course, we know he is not someone who lets the immorality of lying to stand in the way of his sales job.

All that aside, though, this actually does not, in any way, respond to the original WSAC point.

The University of Michigan’s 2014 Monitoring the Future national survey found that in 2014 “teen use of e-cigarettes surpasse[d] use of tobacco cigarettes” and that “e-cigarettes are a primary source of nicotine and not a supplement to tobacco cigarette use.”

Likewise, the California Department of Education <<need link>> [sic — yes, that was in the original] found that lifetime and current use of e-cigarettes surpassed cigarette use among 7th, 9th, and 11th graders in the 2013/14 school year.  Current e-cigarette use was three times higher than current cigarette use for 7th (6.3% vs. 2%) and 9th (12.4% vs. 4.3%) graders, and almost double for 11th graders (14.3% vs. 6.8%). For lifetime use, e-cigarette use was three times higher than cigarette use for 7th graders (2.9% vs. 11.4%), more than two times higher for 9th graders (10.4% vs. 23.6%), and almost two times higher for 11th graders (17.4% vs. 29.3%).

As with most of the lies about the chiiiildren, the study was actually about having tried a product, not being a user of it. “Current use” is a misleading term for “took one puff in the last 30 days.” Moreover, they make no attempt to measure the extent to which e-cigarette trialing is replacing trialing smoking or other actually harmful behaviors. And, as usual, the numbers were tiny compared to the number of adults using e-cigarettes for THR — and thus, once again, this is irrelevant to the WSAC claim.

E-cigarettes are very low risk compared to smoking, estimated to pose in the neighborhood of 1/100th the risk.

The reality is that no one knows the long-term risks of e-cigarette use.  While they do expose users to lower levels of many cancer-causing chemicals, they still expose them to nicotine, ultrafine particles, and other toxins that cause heart and non-cancer lung disease.

These are, of course, tobacco control’s main out-and-out lies about THR. No one really knows anything that will happen in the long run. People like Glantz like to use this philosophical truism — interesting when thinking about metaphysics, but irrelevant to policy-making — to pretend we do not know at the practical level. We do know at that level of course.

It is also kind of interesting that not knowing the long-term risks does not stop people like Glantz from making claims about hazards and insisting we must act based on those claims.

The reality is that we know from ample evidence about smokeless tobacco that exposure to nicotine (without smoke) causes no measurable risks of heart disease and cancer. So the “nicotine” bit there is an out-and-out lie. We know from analysis of the liquid and aerosol that the exposure to other chemicals (for the vaper herself, to say nothing of bystanders) is far below the level that would create concern. And given the huge amount of discussion on the point, we all know — even someone with Glantz’s level of understanding the science — that that e-cigarette aerosol is droplets, not particles. He chooses to keep lying about this one despite people (people who mistakenly think he actually distinguishes between truth and lies) having explicitly explained the truth to him.

The fact is, however, that the relative risks to users of e-cigarettes and cigarettes are irrelevant to discussions of clean indoor air laws, where the question is whether or not e-cigarette use increases bystanders’ exposure to exhaled toxins above what it would be if no one was using e-cigarettes in the room.

The latter is not actually “the question”, of course. Otherwise Glantz would be calling for a ban of furniture, carpeting, computers, cooking (especially), and human bodies, among other things, since they all increase toxins in indoor air. That comes back to the points made above: The people who are trying to ban e-cigarette use in private spaces do not really care about indoor air quality

But his basic point is a rare correct observation for him: The low risk of e-cigarettes is not directly relevant to questions about the effect on indoor air. This brings up a rather interesting question: Why, out of the ten-page document, did he choose this as one of the very few sentences to cherrypick and respond to, given he thought it was irrelevant. The answer, of course, is that it gives him a chance to throw in random lies about e-cigarettes — ones that he explicitly identifies as irrelevant.

To step back a second, one reason that the WSAC document and others like it bring up the low risk of e-cigarettes is because the tobacco control people — who, as noted, are not really concerned with air quality — make them a central part of their “arguments” for bans. That is, it is true that such claims are irrelevant to the particular bans in question, but it is the tobacco control liars, not the honest THR advocates, who introduce the irrelevancy that Glantz seems oh-so-bothered about. Another reason is that since it is clear that the risks to the user are trivial, it follows that the risk to bystanders are 1/100th of trivial.

Some opponents of e-cigarettes have made an analogy of the harm reduction potential of e-cigarettes compared to smoking as ‘jumping out of the 15th story instead of the 100th story of a building.’”

As noted above, the harm reduction issue is irrelevant to whether or not e-cigarettes should be included in clean indoor air laws.

“Most smoke-free tobacco/nicotine products, including smokeless tobacco, e-cigarettes, and NRT (pharmaceutical nicotine) are roughly 99% less harmful than smoking.”

As noted above, the harm reduction issue is irrelevant to whether or not e-cigarettes should be included in clean indoor air laws.

As noted above, if Glantz really believed these points were irrelevant, why did he cherrypick them from the document?

In any case, he is wrong in his assertion. Yet another reason for bringing up the benefits of THR — one that Glantz pretends does not exist because he has no response to offer — is that banning e-cigarettes in private indoor spaces discourages THR. If a bar patron or an office worker has to go outside to vape, just as he would to smoke, his incentives for switching to the low-risk alternative are dramatically reduced and his temptation to switch back to cigarettes is dramatically increased. One could argue how important this is and how much this cost of bans offsets the supposed benefits of bans. But unlike what Glantz is trying to trick his readers into believing, it is a relevant point.

“Nicotine is not a carcinogen. It is the carcinogens and toxins in smoke that increase the risk of smoking-related diseases, not the nicotine.”

Although the CDC reports that evidence on whether nicotine as a carcinogen is inconclusive, cancer is not the largest smoking-related cause of death. Smoking-induced heart and metabolic disease and non-cancer lung disease resulted in more deaths than smoking-induced cancer between 1965 and 2014.

The Surgeon General has reported that nicotine is not harmless; it affects the nervous and cardiovascular systems and has adverse effects on fetal growth and development.

So he has nothing here. He basically agrees that the point about cancer is right. He then makes irrelevant observations about smoking since, based on the smokeless tobacco data, it is clear that the nicotine is also not causing those other diseases. He then cites a report that does not actually support the claim he makes.

The WSAC statement is entirely correct, of course, and he does not even say otherwise. The mind boggles at why he would cherrypick this sentence to respond to. I think we can read that as saying that he has so little going for him that he ran out of statements that he even had a lie to respond with.

“A recent spate of news reports about calls to poison control centers regarding e-cigarettes do not specify whether the call was an actual poisoning situation or simply informational inquiries.”

E-cigarette related calls to the poison control centers dramatically increased between 2010 and 2014 due to children under five (51.1%) and people age 20 and over (42.2%) ingesting the e-liquid, inhaling or absorbing e-cigarette emissions through the skin or eyes. Most calls reported an adverse affect following exposure including vomiting, nausea, and eye irritation.

Hmm, funny how he forget his mantra about this not being relevant to private place usage bans (which it is). How, exactly, is forcing people to vape in areas that include children, rather than in bars and offices, going to reduce poisoning?

Setting that aside, the quoted sentence is not actually one of the main arguments against the poison control nonsense. Those consist of: (a) e-cigarette liquid is not really all that toxic, (b) the total number of calls is trivial compared to the number of calls about cleaners, medicines, or even NRT, (c) because this is starting from a zero-base, the percentage increases are going to look large even though the absolute numbers are small, and (d) the reason people are calling is because tobacco control liars are whipping them into a frenzy of worry — the recipe for poison control calls is not “exposure” but “exposure+worry”.

“Nicotine levels in e-cigarette vapor are too low to be toxic.”

The level of nicotine delivered in e-cigarettes is designed to support nicotine addiction.

His response is both completely a non sequitur and completely false. You would think he could at least manage to say something that was either true or relevant.

“Vapor does not travel as far from the consumer as smoke and it dissipates quickly.”

Bystanders living with e-cigarette users have similar levels of cotinine – a biomarker of absorbed nicotine – as people living with cigarette smokers.  Similar results were found in a controlled experiment, together with effects on lung function of bystanders.

And yet again what he wrote does not actually rebut the original claim, even if true. The first study actually found a much lower level of cotinine, and importantly the levels for all the cohabitants were small compared to those of product users. The experiment consisted of spraying e-cigarette aerosol into a room, which is obviously very different from the exhalate from a vaper. It also did not find effects on lung function (in fact, it found the exact opposite), flatly contrary to what Glantz says. Given Glantz’s lack of understanding of the much simpler points, it is not clear for more technical issues like this whether he is intentionally lying or just lying about understanding the science. If the latter, he should really find someone with some expertise to advise him.

“The smell of vapor doesn’t settle on people and objects.”

E-cigarettes can produce higher levels of thirdhand nicotine exposure than conventional cigarettes.

Ok, now I think he is just trying to write non sequitur responses. I mean, can even he think that is responsive?

Also, it is pure lie. The link is to a study that (a) sprayed e-cigarette aerosol into a non-ventilated chamber, rather than measuring real exhalate, (b) that nonetheless found trivial amounts of nicotine, and (c) did not compare the results to cigarettes.

“A Marlboro cigarette has over 11,000 ng/g of tobacco specific carcinogens. E-cigarettes and pharmaceutical nicotine patches both have around 8 ng/g.”

As noted above, cigarettes (and e-cigarettes) have adverse health effects other than cancer.  More important, this point is irrelevant to whether or not e-cigarettes should be included in clean indoor air laws.

To paraphrase him: “Yes, this is true. I have no response.”

“Reports of finding formaldehyde and other chemicals in e-cigarette vapor fail to disclose that the levels found (0.013 ppm), on average, are lower than can be detected in average city indoor/outdoor air (0.03 ppm).”

Whether or not this is true, this is irrelevant.  The fact is that e-cigarettes emit toxins into the indoor air that would not be there absent the presence of e-cigarettes.

Wow, something that actually looks like the start of a potentially legitimate argument. Someone who actually cared about indoor air quality — unlike the ANTZ who really just care about stopping THR — might actually argue that in spite of a baseline exposure existing, a particular additional exposure is still a cause for concern. The WSAC point is that the exposure (to the vaper herself — let alone the trivial exposure of bystanders!) is small compared to everyday levels. But it would be possible for someone — someone who really had a case to make about hazards — to argue, based on real science about exposure effects, that the elevation is still of concern.

Does he do this? Of course not, because it is not true (and even if it were, the science would be over his head). Instead, he tries to trick the reader into thinking he made an argument and drops any attempt to make a real argument in favor of:

Not surprisingly, the cigarette companies along with their smokers’ rights groups made similar claims about cigarette smoke in arguing against clean indoor air laws since the 1980s (example 1example 2 example 3, example 4).  The reality was that levels of respirable suspended particulates (RSP) were substantially higher in places where tobacco was smoked compared to smokefree environments, including outdoors and around vehicles on busy commuter highways.  The same is true for casinos today.

Do I really need to point out that “someone once made an argument that sounded kind of like this but that I assert was factually wrong” says nothing about the present factually-correct argument? Only the deranged minds of tobacco controllers would think that.

“A comprehensive study done in 2013 by Dr. Igor Burstyn (Drexel University School of Public Health) reviewed all available e-cigarette chemical tests and found that chemicals in e-cigarettes pose no health concern for users or bystanders based on generally accepted exposure limits.”

The Burstyn study, funded by the CASAA, used an inappropriate standard to estimate the risk associated with secondhand smoke exposure to cigarette aerosol.

I have to break the paragraph there to just say WTF? Burstyn’s study did not look at smoke or cigarettes.

The Threshold Limit Values (TLVs) Burstyn used in his analysis were developed for workers in occupational settings and do not represent public health standard values.

This is the same groundless assertion Glantz made when the Burstyn paper first came out. It is just as vacuous now as it was then. First, even if it were true, it is not as if Burstyn showed that the exposures of vapers were up close to those limits. They were orders of magnitude below those standards. So even if those standards were too lenient, the paper would still show no worries to vapers. Second, Burstyn points out that the exposures for bystanders are orders of magnitude lower than the exposure of the vaper herself.

But on top of that, notice that Glantz never actually offers any argument for why these “do not represent public health standard values”, let alone offers an alternative standard. He — the same guy who cannot figure out that the above passages are non sequitur — simply asserted that without basis.  If he did offer an alternative standard, of course, we would see that the exposure was far below that too.

The tobacco industry promoted similar misleading studies using permissible exposure levels (PELs which are similar to TLVs) on chemicals found in secondhand smoke in the 1980s (example 1, example 2) and subsequently used these studies to argue that ventilation systems would effectively reduce the level of toxic chemicals in secondhand smoke to oppose clean indoor air legislation (example 1, example 2, example 3).

Not only is this an irrelevant non sequitur, as per usual, but notice that he does not even say that the industry position was wrong. He does not so much as assert this, let alone try to support the claim with evidence. Once again, it is clear that he is just trying to create the illusion of an argument.

A paper published in the June 2014 issue of ASHRAE Journal which uses appropriate standards provides strong evidence for policymakers to include e-cigarettes in smokefree laws.  It notes that e-cigarette aerosol contains carcinogenic chemicals including formaldehyde, metals (cadmium, lead, nickel), and nitrosamines and that indirect exposure poses a significant health risk to bystanders and concludes “ventilation is not a solution and e-cigarette use will have to be regulated indoors in the same manner as is done for tobacco smoking, which is prohibited indoors” [emphasis added].

Notice that even if accepted at face value, the substantive claims do not contradict Burstyn’s conclusions. The claim that we can detect — given the extremely sensitive detection methods available today — a molecule of something does not mean there is a health hazard. The author clearly did not understand several key points that Burstyn explains in his paper. The policy assertions of the quoted author are just one man’s uninformed opinion (it is a commentary piece, not a research report), a man who happens to not be a researcher or health expert, but someone who makes a living selling “healthy building services”. Hmm, this sounds like it might relate to WSAC’s point about COI that Glantz failed to understand (or pretended to fail to understand) above.

So basically what we have is one paper, by an established highly respected expert on the several relevant subfields, that actually runs the numbers and compares them to concrete established standards, and thereby shows there is no worry. The only responses to this that Glantz can come up with are to (1) assert, based on nothing, that the standard is wrong (but offer no alternative); (2) observe that superficially similar arguments have been made about smoke exposure (but not even suggest they are wrong); and (3) quote the unquantified opinion from a commentary by someone who clearly does not really understand the material and who stands to profit by having others not understand it. Yeeah. Glantz might as well just come out and say “I can offer no basis for questioning Burstyn’s expert analysis.”

“Reports of “ultra-fine particulates” found in vapor are misleading. Particulates in cigarette smoke are “solid” particulates, while particulates in vapor are water particulates (otherwise known as “droplets.”)”

The ultrafine particles created by conventional cigarettes are also droplets.

Ultrafine particles are created by aerosolizing e-liquid to deliver doses of nicotine to the user. Aside from nicotine, the e-liquid contains propylene glycol, flavorants, heavy metals, and other chemicals formed through the chemical reactions of igniting the e-liquid. Ultrafine particles delivered by e-cigarettes are similar to conventional cigarettes (ultrafine range: modes ≈ 100-200 nm). When deeply inhaled into the lungs, ultrafine particles can contribute to cardiovascular and pulmonary diseases through several mechanisms.

As anyone with any expertise in the field whatsoever knows, cigarette smoke contains a lot of solid particles. There are many reasons to believe that the deposition of these solids in the body causes harm.

This makes them not similar to the basically 100% liquid aerosol from e-cigarettes, which cannot physically behave like the solid particles that supposedly (the evidence is far from clear for even that) cause the harms (and that Glantz links to statements about). Glantz knows this. He just keeps lying about it.

“There is no evidence youth smokers who said they use e-cigarettes were non-smokers before using e-cigarettes.”

As discussed above, more youth are initiating nicotine addiction with e-cigarettes than conventional cigarettes.  The CDC estimated that in 2013 more than a quarter-million youth who had never smoked a cigarette used e-cigarettes.

Once again, Glantz seems to forget his “not relevant to the question at hand” mantra when he thinks he has a rebuttal. The supposed rebuttal takes advantage of the fact that CDC uses the word “use” in an intentionally misleading way, as has been documented here many times. Most of us would not think of “someone who took one puff” as being a product “user”.

“Non-smoking youth who try e-cigarettes may have otherwise been trying smoking if e-cigarettes had not been available.”

Youth and teen e-cigarette initiation and use rates have surpassed that of traditional smoking, with youth at low risk for initiating smoking experimenting with nicotine through new tobacco products including e-cigarettes. In Hawaii lifetime e-cigarette use for high school students tripled, increasing from 5.1% to 17.5%, and for middle school students quadrupled, increasing from 1.8% to 7.9%, between 2011 and 2013. Of these students, approximately one-third of middle and high school e-cigarette users had never smoked a traditional cigarette. Among Connecticut  middle school students 51% reported e-cigarettes as the first tobacco product ever used.

Need I point out that the supposed rebuttal did not respond to the original statement?

“The claim that adult smokers do not want ‘candy’ flavors is patently false and based on conjecture and personal bias.”

The issue is not whether adults want candy flavors; the issue is that candy flavored e-cigarettes have strong appeal for youth.

Well, the answer to that appears to be “no”. There is certainly no evidence to suggest “yes”. But in any case, that is not what the tobacco control liars are claiming. They do indeed claim that adults do not want these flavors.

[Note to anyone who happens to remember it: The next time you find yourself rebutting claims that adults do not like flavors, please cite Glantz’s post and note that even he does not try to argue that is the case, but rather says it is not a real issue.]

This fact is not surprising, since the tobacco companies have been using flavors to recruit youth for decades (example 1, example 2, example 3, example 4).

I could point out how none of those links provide anything resembling scientific support for his claim. But instead I will just note that this is (a) irrelevant to WSAC’s statement, (b) a non sequitur from Glantz’s own previous sentence (which was a statement of “the issue”, not an assertion, let alone a “fact”), and (c) just generally a random tangent designed to distract readers.

“The CDC surveys clearly show that there has been no ‘gateway effect’ causing non-smokers to start smoking. As e-cigarettes have become more popular, all available evidence is showing that more and more smokers are quitting traditional cigarettes, including youth smokers.”

As discussed above, many youth are beginning nicotine use with e-cigarettes rather than conventional cigarettes, including many youth at low risk of ever starting to smoke conventional cigarettes.

Once again, even if this were true, it does not actually rebut the original observation. Also, it is not true. The linked study did not measure use (only trialing) and did not show even the trialers were at low risk.

“The only benefit of including e-cigarettes in smoking bans is protecting bystanders from infinitesimal levels of just a tiny fraction of the chemicals found in second-hand smoke.”

Yes, the benefit of including e-cigarettes in clean indoor air laws is to protect bystanders from involuntary exposure to the pollution e-cigarette users create.

As noted above, bystanders living with e-cigarette users have similar levels of cotinine – a biomarker of absorbed nicotine – as people living with cigarette smokers.  Similar results were found in a controlled experiment, together with effects on lung function of bystanders.

As noted above, this last bit is simply false.

Notice that the point of the WSAC statement was in the words “infinitesimal” and “just a tiny fraction”. Glantz just ignored these key points — that the dosage was such that there is no worry — hoping no one would notice. (Given his usual readership, he was probably mostly right.)

“Smokers move from dual use (using both the e-cigarette and conventional cigarettes) to using just the e-cigarette alone.”

As noted above, dual use is the dominant use pattern.

This may be another case where Glantz is genuinely so inexpert on the topic, and on social science in general, that he does not even understand he is lying here. In a situation where people’s behavior transitions over time, and where (as with e-cigarettes now, and even more so in the data from past years) most people have started this transition only recently, there will be many people still in the transition period. In the long run there will be far more people who have completed the transition (quit smoking entirely) than are in transition, but early in the process this will not be the case.

“Treating e-cigarettes like conventional cigarettes will just keep smokers smoking and even possibly push those dual users completely back to smoking by removing their only incentive to quit.”

One of the major reasons adult smokers use e-cigarettes is to use them where they cannot smoke conventional cigarettes.

Moreover, while there is no doubt that some people have transitioned from using cigarettes to using e-cigarettes (or even quitting both), studies of all smokers show that smokers who use e-cigarettes are about one-third less likely to stop smoking cigarettes than smokers who do not use e-cigarettes.

This point is, of course, the reason that many of the points that Glantz asserted were irrelevant are actually relevant. He obviously agrees since he decided to respond to it. He then effectively concedes he cannot rebut it since his responses, even if taken at face value, do not contradict it.

The latter bit is an out-and-out lie. The link is to an opinion piece by Glantz, rather than a study of smoking cessation — presumably a typo — but Glantz has been telling this lie for a while. It has been pointed out to him, including by the authors of the study he cites for this lie, that he is misinterpreting the results. But he does not care whether something he says is true or not.

And finally: The first link is not a study of why people use e-cigarettes, as he implies, but just that same opinion piece — presumably the intentional use of that link — where he previously asserted the claim. But setting that aside, let’s unpack the implicit claim to finish off this loathsome exercise in dealing with transparent sociopathy on a substantive note:

The subtext here demonstrates the hateful, anti-social, harm-seeking mentality of tobacco control. Glantz does not actually explain why we should care that smokers are attracted to smoke-free alternatives when they cannot smoke. The real reason we should care is, of course, that when smokers are attracted to try a low-risk alternative, it dramatically increases the chance that they might try to switch to it entirely. This is a good thing. But that, of course, is not what Glantz is communicating to his fellow extremists. Instead, he is engaging “dog whistle” politics — akin to extreme-right-wing politicians using code words to tell the racists “I am on your side” — to trick the average reader into not recognizing the hate in that statement.

Many in his target audience are tobacco control’s useful idiots who do not actually favor making people suffer. Glantz clearly disdains these people and believes they are stupid enough to fall for his blatant lies and fake arguments. He counts on them being tricked into believing that there really is an air quality issue here and that he actually cares about it. But using the dog-whistle technique, he still manages to send the message that appeals to the sociopaths and narcissists that run modern tobacco control. He rallies them with the reminder that the real goal of private place usage bans is to make smokers suffer. That group takes pleasure in being able to inflict that pain, and if someone who is and is going to remain a smoker (at least for a while) suffers less thanks to being able to vape indoors, that reduction in suffering is seen as a loss for the tobacco controllers.

It should be obvious that the real motivation in imposing these private place bans is not about air quality. If it were, there would be substantive claims about air quality, wouldn’t there? Glantz and his co-conspirators are simply using that as an excuse to try to prevent a reduction in the suffering that they intentionally inflict. This takes us back to the first WSAC points about the real motives of proponents of these laws. If there were anyone in the world who genuinely supported THR but argued for private place usage bans based on concern about bystanders, it might suggest there is genuinely such concern. But when the “arguments” come entirely from those who oppose THR in general, and have a record of wanting to inflict suffering, it is clearly all based on lies.

23 responses to “Glantz attempt at dialogue makes clear the vacuousness of his arguments

  1. Pingback: Glantz attempt at dialogue makes clear the vacuousness of his arguments |

  2. Your response to Glantz’s rebuttal, if it were a boxing match, would have been stopped by your third or fourth point. The sad thing is, that’s really the best intellectual effort he can muster. His skills, if you could call it that, are solely in erecting the persona of a knowledgeable expert. Thanks, once again, for so thoroughly revealing the fraud behind the curtain.

  3. Cite: “Bystanders living with e-cigarette users have similar levels of cotinine – a biomarker of absorbed nicotine – as people living with cigarette smokers. Similar results were found in a controlled experiment, together with effects on lung function of bystanders.”


    Flouris et al. found serum cotinine levels after “passive vaping” of “2.4 ± 0.9 versus 2.6 ± 0.6 ng/ml”. [1]

    But: Floruis did not mention the “normal serum cotinine levels” in “normal breathers” (without acitve/passive vaping/smoking)

    Let’s have a look at Benowitz et al.: “Optimal serum cotinine levels for distinguishing cigarette smokers and nonsmokers within different racial/ethnic groups in the United States between 1999 and 2004.” [2]

    “Optimal cotinine cutpoints were 3.08 ng/mL (sensitivity = 96.3%, specificity = 97.4%) and 2.99 ng/mL (sensitivity = 86.5%, specificity = 93.1%) for adults and adolescents, respectively.”

    Fact: Everything under 3.08 ng/mL is normal! Almost everyone has serum cotinine levels up to 2.4 ng/mL!



  4. Cite: ““The claim that adult smokers do not want ‘candy’ flavors is patently false and based on conjecture and personal bias.”

    The issue is not whether adults want candy flavors; the issue is that candy flavored e-cigarettes have strong appeal for youth.

    Well, the answer to that appears to be “no”. There is certainly no evidence to suggest “yes”. But in any case, that is not what the tobacco control liars are claiming. They do indeed claim that adults do not want these flavors.”


    Please look at:

    Shiffman, S et al.: The impact of flavor descriptors on nonsmoking teens’ and adult smokers’ interest in electronic cigarettes.”

    and the conclusion from Shiffman et al.:

    “The e-cigarette flavors tested appealed more to adult smokers than to nonsmoking teens, but interest in flavors was low for both groups.” [1]


    • Carl V Phillips

      That paper shows that many adult smokers think they would like “candy” flavors, though a larger portion think not. It also shows the average interest in ecigs among nonsmoking teens is so close to being pegged at the zero-lower-bound that it is difficult to detect any effect of flavors. Neither of these actually gives us much insight into the questions at hand, unfortunately.

      • For Glantz to say “issue is that candy flavored e-cigarettes have strong appeal for youth” is to traffic in one of his favorite unfounded assumptions. That flavors appeal to adults is too obvious to refute. The billion dollar vaping industry didn’t get there on the basis of tobacco-only flavored e-cigarettes. It may have started that way, but it’s difficult to imagine the rapid expansion without the addition of appealing flavors. Moreover, there’s no reason to suspect that adult consumer preferences wouldn’t work in much the same way for youth. (Kids love adult stuff.) I concede that candy flavored e-cigarettes appeal to youth, how could they not? But that simple fact is not the issue.

        When Glantz trots out this idea he’s asserting, with zero evidence, that candy flavors are luring large numbers of kids into vaping who would otherwise be uninterested in nicotine use. In addition, he’s further asserting (because there’s “no question” about widespread gateway effects) that these same kids will inexplicably abandon these flavor preferences and switch over to tobacco-only flavored combustibles. Finding evidence that kids like flavors in their e-cigarettes shouldn’t be too hard to find. And someone likely will to great media fanfare. The problem is people like Glantz will assert such a finding represents clear evidence that e-cigarettes are harmful to youth. A baseless hidden assumption that Glantz and other ANTZ get away with when they push the trivially true “flavors appeal to youth” lie.

  5. This may be the best piece I’ve read from you EVER, Carl. It’s cutting and thoughtful. Thank you for taking the time to write it.

    In years past, I’ve tried to help in my own relatively insignificant way. I’m not important or well-connected or rich or especially skilled. But I was fired up and sure that we’d win. Today, I honestly find the increasingly-uphill struggle to save e-cigs so soul-crushing that I’ve withdrawn from it almost entirely…certainly publicly (social media etc). I just can’t take the stress anymore of trying to contend with outright lies (not distortions, but LIES) from folks like Glantz as the basis for new prohibitive laws. It feels like we’re jousting at windmills. I genuinely worry that ‘authorities’ will believe anything Glantz says (and by extension, disbelieve anything we say)…because he and his ilk have power, money, connections, and presumed ‘expertise’. Presumed nobility.

    Maybe I’m weak. Maybe I have other issues. Maybe it’s not fair to expect everyone to have the same fortitude. Maybe it’s complicated. (And maybe I shouldn’t be clogging up your blog with all this.) But my point is: I’m really glad you and others still have the strength to fight the good fight…and fight it well, with truth. Because my fortitude’s run out. Between stresses from the lying activist ANTZ, stresses in the community and personal issues…I actually went back to smoking just to run away from it all. 4 years of only vaping, and I went back. (Note: my return to smoking is not a reflection on e-cigs, but a reflection on me.) I just want some peace of mind already. Am I making any sense?? Hopefully someday the sword will stop dangling over vaping. If it does…I know it will be thanks to the efforts of folks like you who kept on keeping on. Thank you for being stronger than I.

    May I also add one more thing? I’m a pacifist and would never actually hit someone. That said, I have never been more tempted to violence than I was this morning while reading Glantz’s condescending, callous, snide and dishonest rebuttals to the WSAC selections. Hmm. … Perhaps there’s some fight left in me yet, if I cared that much.

    Appreciate you letting me ramble on. I certainly won’t make a habit of it. It was quasi-therapeutic (if only for a few minutes), and I thought maybe it could help a vaper or two out there who might be struggling with burnout of their own…just to know that they’re not alone. Have a great day Carl & thanks again for the blog piece.

  6. This may be the best piece I’ve read from you EVER. It’s cutting and thoughtful. Thank you for taking the time to write it.

  7. Thank you, Dr. Phillips. You obviously are far more capable of destroying Glantz’s so-called “analysis” of our little booklet than I ever would have been!

  8. graham Entwistle

    Can we have a “love this to pieces” button please?

    Cheers Carl. This is both high amusing and highly educational. It also serves to demonstrate what a sick loathsome pathetic excuse for a human being this idiot truly is. Talk about sucking the life out of a party, I pity you guys having to share the same continent with such a cruel despicable individual so intent on inflicting harm and suffering on others.

  9. Thanks Carl. This document *needed* to be written and is a very valuable reference.

  10. My comment addresses this passage:

    “As noted above, bystanders living with e-cigarette users have similar levels of cotinine – a biomarker of absorbed nicotine – as people living with cigarette smokers. Similar results were found in a controlled experiment, together with effects on lung function of bystanders.”

    The first Glantz link takes us to an article by Ballbè, et al, “Cigarettes vs. e-cigarettes: Passive exposure at home measured by means of airborne marker and biomarkers,” located here:

    The study reveals that the Geometric Means (GMs) of the salivary cotinine concentrations of nonsmokers were 0.38 ng/ml for those living in homes of smokers, 0.19 ng/ml in homes of e-cigarette users, and 0.07 ng/ml in control homes. Those are all similarly LOW levels. In fact, extremely low levels.

    Glantz claims that similar results were found in the “controlled experiment” conducted by Flouris, et al., described in the Inhalation Toxicology journal, “Acute impact of active and passive electronic cigarette smoking on serum cotinine and lung function.”

    One thing that experiment demonstrated was that serum cotinine levels were similar for active (61.3 ng/ml) smokers and for vapers using an e-cigarette containing nicotine (60.6 ng/ml). That’s a good thing.

    Glantz assigns a nefarious intention on the part of manufacturers: “…designed to support nicotine addiction.” An equally, if not more, plausible explanation is that manufacturers want to provide smokers with an acceptable, reduced-risk alternative. After all, if the reduced risk alternative is unsatisfying, smokers will just stick to cancer sticks.

    Another thing demonstrated was that under the experiment’s artificial conditions as described above by Carl, the serum cotinine levels of non-smokers were 6.38 times higher (2.6 ng/ml) than the levels Ballbè, et al. measured in the real-world situation of non-smokers who lived in a smoker’s home (0.38 ng/ml), and 12.6 times higher (2.4 ng/ml) than the level of non-smokers who lived with a vaper (0.19 ng/ml).

    Finally, Glantz misrepresented what Flouris, et al. had to say about lung function. Neither active nor passive vaping had any effect on lung function. Furthermore, even though active smoking reduced lung function, passive smoking did not.

    • “Finally, Glantz misrepresented what Flouris, et al. had to say about lung function. Neither active nor passive vaping had any effect on lung function.”

      How then, apart from outright lying, did he manage to come to the conclusion that there WAS an effect on lung function?

      • Carl V Phillips

        That is an interesting question. A lot of his lies seem to start with something that someone who is innumerate might actually get when they tried to read or reason. Whether this is intentional from the start (he actually does get it but crafts a lie that can fool his useful idiots) or a genuine error (thus the lie is him not admitting he does not understand things) is rather unclear with him sometimes. What is clear is that after it has been pointed out to him that he is wrong, and he persists in making the claim, that he is intentionally lying without any apparent compunction about it.

        In this case, and several of the others cited here, the claim he makes is patently contrary to what actually appears in the cited source. In that case, it is difficult to offer any explanation other than him setting out to intentionally lie about the material, with the subtext being “I count on my readers to be too stupid to know or check even the most basic facts.”

  11. Glantz: “Aside from nicotine, the e-liquid contains propylene glycol, flavorants, heavy metals, and other chemicals formed through the chemical reactions of igniting the e-liquid.”

    It appears that Glantz believes vaping involves setting e-liquid on fire.

  12. Regarding pharma COIs Glantz wrote, “this is certainly not true for us.” Would that not be contradicted by the RWJF grant he received (
    In addition, if someone received a research grant from a tobacco industry associated charity, would that not create bias and make research irrelevant according to Stanton Glantz’s own standards?

    • Carl V Phillips

      Yeah. So not only is the comment non-responsive to the original point, but it is also false.

      • So how does he get away with that COI while attacking the whole world for doing the same?

        • Carl V Phillips

          The same way he gets away with all of his lies: Tobacco control is an incestuous operation where no one calls anyone else for their lies, and that has conned and extorted its way to so much money that it is answerable to no one.

        • Brian Carter

          Glantz gets away with it because he passes himself off as a scientist/academic, but he’s really an activist/politican. Every single thing he does is in pursuit of his policy goals. And like most activist/politicians it’s all about managing the public’s perception of the issue. Cherrypicking data, disingenuous interpretation of research findings, and blatant hypocrisy are mere tools of the trade. When you think Glantz think double-dealing politician propped up by slogans and talking points. He’s trying to come up with something, anything, (true or not) that might resonate with the public.

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