Monthly Archives: April 2015

Simple talking points on RCTs not being a very useful way to study tobacco harm reduction

by Carl V Phillips

I have composed this at the request of Gregory Conley, who recently had the nightmarish experience of trying to explain science to a bunch of health reporters. It is just a summary, as streamlined as I am capable of, of material that I have previously explained in detail. To better understand the points, see this post in particular, as well as anything at this tag. For a bit more still, search “RCT” (the search window is the right or at the top, depending on how you are viewing this). Continue reading

CASAA / CVP testimony re Massachusetts ecig regulation

by Carl V Phillips

As those of you familiar with U.S. THR advocacy know, for years CASAA provided written — and whenever possible, in-person — testimony for many of the major proposals for anti-THR regulation (and the unicorn-rare bits of pro-THR regulation). However, due to the absolute deluge of such proposals now, and the growing body of politically activated e-cigarette enthusiasts (not so much popular support for other paths to THR, sadly), we have chosen to concentrate on leverage, educating and empowering our members to give effective testimony at the state and local level (which we also always did).

We are able to provide our own testimony for some major proposals occasionally, however, as we did for Massachusetts this week. Continue reading

New York Times makes clear that they object to Joe Nocera’s honesty

by Carl V Phillips

Today, the New York Times Editorial Board, in an apparent backlash against their excellent columnist (one of the two), Joe Nocera, exercising his autonomy to write something honest about e-cigarettes, published both an anti-ecig screed by two leading liars and a general anti-THR screed of their own (mostly about e-cigarettes, though the headline was about smokeless tobacco). Needless to say, both are thick with lies. Honestly, they are pretty boring, but for the record, I thought I should call out a few points. Continue reading

California ecig “regulation” hearing: a catalog of lies (part 2)

by Carl V Phillips

Continuing from the previous post, you will recall that we established that California Senator Mark Leno is absolutely hilarious when he tries to talk about science — assuming you can maintain a sense of humor about someone who is spouting lies in support of a bill that would inflict a great deal of harm with no apparent benefits. He continues by suggesting he also does not understand how lawmaking works, or even his own bill. Sadly, it is not nearly as funny as his attempts to talk science. Continue reading

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