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Public Health Circus

The first idea to name this article was Public Healther-Skelter. Because that's exactly what it is. But heck, someone beat me to it on Google.

What public healthers do with the money from government and non-government never ceases to amaze me. That multi-million $$ Californication still rings in my mind. 

This time the place is Australia. Despair not, today Sydney - tomorrow your city. Or your neck of woods (see, that's also why I'm writing). 

If you haven't had that privilege already, meet Simon Chapman, Professor of Public Health at University of Sydney and his new article Want to quit smoking? Switching to e-cigarettes won't help  

Somewhere below his harm-increasing headline, Mr. Chapman gives us the main point of a new study he's cheering. 

A study published today in the leading journal Addiction might just change everything for electronic cigarettes.

The study of 1,473 English smokers found those who didn’t use e-cigarettes were more likely to stop smoking after 12 months: 13.9% of non-vapers successfully quit, compared with 9.5% of occasional vapers and 8.1% of daily e-cigarette users. 

(bolded by yours truly)

Now, do I hear someone say: what about vapers who completely switched to e-cigarettes. Who never were dual users, or were so but only for a short time and before that study started? A couple of days, a week, a month... Well, you guessed it, they weren't a part of the study at all.

No vapers in the study about vaping. This is also how our Professor deals with that ilk, an obvious factor of disturbance to his well funded efforts.

There are many dedicated vapers in the community today who have authentic stories of how they were able to stop smoking with e-cigarettes, often after many failed attempts with nicotine replacement therapy.

But public health policy on e-cigarettes and smoking cessation should not be built on such anecdotes any more than the heartfelt convictions of many drivers who say they’re quite safe and incident-free after drinking should challenge the evidence-based data on the risks of alcohol on driving.

This arrogant comaprison of evidence provided by vapers to that of drinking drivers aside, here is what Professor's favorite study has done 

1. They tested only dual users and non-users of electronic cigarettes who are smokers.

2.   They came up with statistically not significant data. The Professor said it himself, but it didn't prevent him from naming his article "Want to quit smoking? Switching to e-cigaretteswon’t help"

3.   They probably also dismissed all the vapers already completely switched to vaping as  anecdotal evidence

Yes, it's getting harder to count that evidence with each new million of us, but, Professor, why did the study so dear to your public health heart exclude them completely? 

Suppose they tried to recruit members of my family for a study like this. They'd happily skip my daughter and myself (both vapers for more than 2 years), and focus on husband and Mum. Husband used e-cigs for some time and relapsed back to smoking. Mother is a dual user. She will probably never stop using tobacco, she has never given it a try in her life. I consider her dual use a success. As for husband, he may quit if and when he finds some vaping device in the future good enough. Or he may not.

But the point is - public healthers love to put on their or someone else's scientific coats and wave their papers as if these hold nothing but the truth, while they ignore (at least) half of what's going on.

Two more points to make, before I go on:

They also totally ignore the fact that this industry has been developing rapidly, with new devices or modifications of the existing ones coming out practically weekly. 

With this and similar misleading articles, they are trying to encourage every smoker who has ever tried e-cigarette and didn't like it to completely stop looking for other variants of this device. And to those who have never tried them - they keep sending the message not to bother.

That's precisely why I made this comment

You'll notice "comment removed by moderator" That was my reply to Professor's reply, but more about it a bit later, after this.

Above is the only thing they were right about. I should have used my real name like everybody else. I overlooked it when I logged in with Twitter first. Which gave them the excuse to remove my next comment. So, I corrected it later and asked for my comment to be returned. 14 minutes later, the thread was closed and, you guessed it right, nothing was returned.

Why did  they approve my first comment then? Probably because Professor thought he answered it right. He flaunted a graph he posted on Twitter which shows 15.8% of smoking prevalence in Australia. 

Here goes 1st paragraph of my removed comment

Yes, I'm sure that the same public health officials have done everything in their power to ruin the smokers' standard of living by helping tax authorities impose draconic taxes on tobacco. And I'm sure you've all been a great help in ostracizing smokers in your society, so you probably have no idea how many people have been rolling their own in the privacy of their home. (So much about your graph, dear Professor).

This whole thing is disturbing, but not because of one removed internet comment - there are others on that page, better written, more substantiated and more eloquent than mine.

We are talking about disturbing on another level   

Their studies are so lame that a complete non-scientist from the internet can come and successfully dispute their fundamental logic. In the middle of the night. In a non-native language.

So I did. This is it

Now there's a new harm reduction product and you are doing what? Throwing statistically insignificant data under a bombastic headline. Not only are they insignificant, they may be misleading and this is why:

It is very interesting how public health officials need decades when things don't go their way, but now they are happy to see scientists need less than a year to establish who quit smoking and who didn't. What constitutes the quitting here? One month? Three months? Twenty months? I'd done it all before vaping. And so did many.

Had I not quit smoking the very first day I tried vaping, a study like this one could have caught me in the middle of such an attempt to quit.

So, let's say someone participated in a study as a smoker and after 9 months he quit smoking and 3 months later, i.e. after the study's follow up, he belongs to these 13.9%. But then, after a few days he relapses to smoking. Study doesn't record that, of course.

Point is, Mr.Chapman, you are in the dark about this all, but that doesn't prevent you from plastering this headline:  Want to quit smoking? Switching to e-cigaretteswon’t help 

Btw, the following piece of arrogance deserves a whole article on its own. Can't do it now. Too sick and tired.

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