Further to Yesterday’s Post About the ‘Kerfuffle’ Within the Ranks of Academics Excluded from the Iron Triangle

The plot has thickened. Accusations are flying in all directions. Dr Siegel is upset because, indirectly, Dr Philips did not like Dr Siegel’s idea of a ‘clinical study’ to investigate the effectiveness of e-cigs as ‘cessation devices’ on the grounds that such a study would be investigating tiny differences because e-cigs are not sufficiently popular, when compared with tobacco cigs, for the tiny differences, which would be revealed by such a study, to have any strength. Zealots like Glantz would seize the results of such a study and convert them to a reason for effectively banning ecigs ‘by regulation’.

The website of Siegel is:


That of Philips is:



Weird things are going on. For example, a commenter who backs Siegel called upon Philips to comment on Siegel’s blog. Now, I have followed both these blogs for a couple of years, and I have never seen either of the two comment on each other’s blogs. I don’t know if they communicate privately.

The impasse revolves around the use of chewing tobacco and something called ‘dip’. I don’t know what ‘dip’ is, nor do I care. I assume that it is similar to chewing tobacco, or possibly snus.

Whatever, it seems that Siegel rejects any product at all which involves TOBACCO. He is happy with ecigs because they do not involve TOBACCO. He viscerally cannot accept any form of tobacco at all in ‘harm reduction’. His deep hatred of tobacco companies spills over into his mental processes. In the case of ecigs, however, because they do not involve tobacco, even the entry of tobacco companies into the market is not a terribly bad thing. Well, not so bad as to disqualify ecigs as a ‘cessation device’.

Right. But Vapers do not see ecigs as ‘cessation devices’, and that is where Siegel is totally out of touch. He is seeing them in terms of Tobacco Control rather than individual choices. A Vaper has renounced the pleasure of tobacco and replaced that pleasure with the pleasure of ecigs. As an example of what I mean, until a month or so ago, I always drank Carling lager in the pub. On one evening, the pub had run out of Carling and so I had a pint of Fosters instead. I was a bit surprise to find that the Fosters had a bit more flavour. And so I switched to Fosters. ‘Omne comparitudo claudicat’ (every comparison limps), so that this example is not quite the same, but it does illustrate the basic idea. A Vaper would not switch from tobacco cigs unless he enjoyed ecigs sufficiently.

Thus, all the blather from academics about ‘cessation devices’ is obsolete. Patches, gums and inhalers are ‘cessation devices’ – ecigs are not. They have a completely different character.


But Siegel’s present troubles, which have resulted in massive comments (comparatively) revolve around his extraordinary claims an American baseball player’s opinion that he got mouth cancer from chewing tobacco while playing baseball caused his mouth cancer. Because of this player’s opinion, Siegel thinks that ALL baseball players should be banned from chewing tobacco while playing. Further, his justification is that kids might see the players chewing.

He may have gone crackers.

Meanwhile, Philips is quiet. Who can blame him? This is not his chosen battlefield. He advocates ALL means of ‘tobacco harm reduction’, including those which use tobacco.

I fear that Siegel is so hung up on his anti-tobacco company stance that he has placed himself securely on the horns of the dilemma of his own creating.

He would rather see smokers DIE A TERRIBLE DEATH than advocate any solution which involves use of tobacco.


Needless to say, I regard both of these gentlemen as possessed by the demons of epidemiology. To me, they resemble past epidemiologist who thought that miasmas from swamps caused malaria. There is no significant difference. SHS ‘miasma’ causes any number of conditions, like leprosy, the black death, sunburn, gammy legs, tummy ache, ingrowing toenails, etc, etc. And SHS works its magic by magic. The magic is described with obscure terms of enzymes of various kinds. It’s definitely magic!

Siegel said that there is ‘good evidence’ that chewing tobacco ’causes’ mouth cancers (among baseball professionals). What rot! The fact is that such cancers are extremely unusual, which means that anyone who gets mouth cancer and also uses chewing tobacco is in no different position from one who gets mouth cancer and drinks coffee, or eats apples, or enjoys oral sex, or licks ashtrays.

The correlation between the increase of the  import of apples into the UK after WW2 and the increase in divorces is absolutely true and undeniable. Therefore, one must have caused the other. Shite is the word.


4 Responses to “Further to Yesterday’s Post About the ‘Kerfuffle’ Within the Ranks of Academics Excluded from the Iron Triangle”

  1. west2 Says:

    “I don’t know if they communicate privately.”

    They have done. Carl V Philips other blog ‘EP-ology’ gives a more detailed explanation of the ‘drama’:


    • junican Says:

      I read Carl’s blogs religiously, but I cannot understand why he puts some things on ‘Epology’ and others on ‘Lies’. I missed that one, but would have read it eventually.
      Thanks for the tip.

  2. Rose Says:

    A cry from the heart in 2006, given in full.

    Information Requests for Corrections and HHS’ Responses

    Date: March 28, 2006

    Associate Director for Communications Office of the Director
    National Institutes of Health

    Re: Information Quality Request for Correction

    Dear Sir or Madam:

    I respectfully submit the following Information Quality Request for Correction.

    1) Detailed description of the material proposed for correction, included where located on website etc.

    The following website contains information regarding smokeless tobacco (“spit tobacco”) that we believe should be corrected

    http: //www.nidrc.nih.gov/HealthInformation/DiseasesAndConditions/SpitTobacco/SpittingIntoTheWind.htm.

    The specific objectionable material appearing on this website states as follows:

    “What’s Really in it For You?

    Nicotine (addictive drug)
    Polonium 210 (nuclear waste)
    Formaldehyde (embalming fluid)
    Cancer-Causing Chemicals
    Radioactive Elements

    These are just some of the ingredients in dip and chew. Spit tobacco is not a safe alternative to cigarettes. The toxic chemicals can damage your gums. They also can cause cancer.”


    2)The specific reasons for believing that the information does not comply and supporting documentation.

    The information provided on the site and the manner in which it is presented is misleading. With respect to “radioactive elements” generally and specifically, “Polonium-2l0 (nuclear waste)”, the major source of Polonium-2l0 is food. In fact, over 75% of exposure to Polonium-210 comes through food products. It comes from soil transfer, as a component of fertilizer and air deposition. Air and water also contain this clement. To our knowledge, there is only one published report that evaluated the presence of radioisotopes in U.S. smokeless tobacco products. Hoffmann etal.,in a paper published in 1986, measured PoJonium-21O levels in five brands of U.S. commercial snuff. Specific radiation levels for each of the five brands were: 0.64, 1.22, 0.33,0.16,0.18 pCi/g. Polonium-210 is of interest because it decays to radon, a radioactive gas that is considered to be a human carcinogen (NTP 2000). Tso et al. in a 1966 paper theorized that radioactive Polonium-2l0 originated in U.S. tobacco from soil that had been fertilized with phosphates rich in Radium-226. Martell, in a 1974 paper theorized that Polonium-210 in tobacco products originated from airborne particles that were taken up by the glandular hair of the tobacco leaf.

    The human health risk from Polonium-21O in snuff is insignificant. Assuming the use of 12 grams of snuff/day (an acceptable average use of snuff per day, as reflected in a 1988 paper published by Hatsukami et al.), and a Po]onium-2l0 concentration in snuff of 1.22 pCi/g (Hoffmann et al. 1986), a snuff user would be exposed to 5,344 pCi/year of radiation. This is less than 1/1500th of the annual 107 pCi/year allowable occupational exposure limit to Polonium-210 (NRC 2000).

    Therefore, to suggest as the above website docs, that radioactive elements and so-called nuclear waste are found in smokeless tobacco is misleading because their presence in smokeless tobacco are so low as to create no health impact on humans.

    With regard to the suggestion that smokeless tobacco contains formaldehyde (“embalming fluid”), this is similarly misleading. Formaldehyde is naturally produced in the body in small quantities, is present in the air, food, cosmetics and medicine. Levels in food can vary but fruits, vegetables, meat and dairy products can all contain formaldehyde. For example pears can have levels of 60 ppm, pork 20 ppm, and frozen cod 20 ppm. It is not surprising then, that trace amounts of formaldehyde may be present in smokeless tobacco, but at levels no higher than found in foods.

    As with your agency’s comments regarding radioactive elements and Polonium-21O, it is therefore misleading to include the unqualified comment that formaldehyde, or as you state “embalming fluid”, is present in smokeless tobacco when the trace amount present can have no greater impact on humans than they would be exposed to in foods.

    In regard to “Cancer-Causing Chemicals” and “Radioactive Elements” we cannot be sure specifically what you arc referencing. However, no chemicals or elements are present in our products that do not occur naturally in many food products.

    Finally, a poison symbol is placed beside this ingredient list. The overall impression of this display is misleading to our consumer and presents an image of the ingredients, quality and safety of our product that is not accurate.


    3) Suggested recommendations for what corrective action(s) should be taken.

    We request that the information be removed from this website.


    4) A description of how the person requesting correction is affected by the error.

    As a manufacturer of smokeless tobacco products this misleading information prevents our consumers from getting accurate information about our products. As a result, adult consumers are less able to make informed decisions about the type of tobacco products that they use. To put this in some perspective, consider the following statement by Britain’s Royal College of Physicians in December 2002, in a paper titled “Protecting Smokers, Saving Lives”:”As a way of using nicotine, the consumption of non­combustible tobacco is of the order of 10-1,000 times less hazardous than smoking, depending on the product. Some manufacturers want to market smokeless tobacco as a ‘harm reduction’ option for nicotine users, and they may find Support for that in the public health community.”

    In terms of the “real world” impact of consumers, who if provided with accurate information regarding smokeless tobacco, might switch from cigarette smoking to smokeless tobacco if they cannot quit smoking on their own or through the use of Nicotine Replacement Therapy, the following should be considered:”We find that if all current male smokers begin using smokeless tobacco, life years for the current population of adult males in the United States could be extended by approximately 18 million years. [Even] if we could reach an attainable goal of bringing smokeless use rate up to Sweden’s [approximately 20 percent of the male population], approximately 9.4 million smokers would begin using smokeless tobacco. The number of life year saved would be about 2.16 million.”
    Ault RW, Ekelund RB, Jr., Jackson JD, Saba RP. “Smokeless tobacco, smoking cessation and harm reduction: an economic analysis.” Applied Economics 2004; 36:17-29.

    It is my company’s view that any government website discussion of smokeless tobacco, in order not to be misleading and inaccurate by making blanket statements that smokeless tobacco is not “safe”, should, at a minimum put the relative risk of smokeless tobacco in the proper perspective.

    Please do not hesitate to contact me if there is anything further I can provide.

    Best Regards,

    Gerard J. J.Roerty, Jr.
    Vice President, General Counsel&Secretary Swedish Match North America, Inc.

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