E-cigs in the USA

I have been reading Michael Siegel. It seems that a couple of people in the MSM have broke ranks. You can read about it here:


Siegel says that Jacob Sullum (where do these people get their surnames from?) has pulled the CDC (Centre for Disease Control) argument about the dangers of ecigs to pieces. And so he has. What is a bit different is that Sullum is actually editor in chief on Reason.com. The same article appears in Forbes.com, another marginal publication. But what is important is that the piece is not just an oped from a columnist but is actually from the editor of the site. The only problem is that Reason.com is not especially ‘big’ in MSM terms. EG, there were only 39 comments on the story. Siegel also points to another article in Forbes.com by a Sally Satal, who is ‘resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute’ and is a psychiatrist. She also derided Frieden’s statement.

The problem is that there are not nearly enough people ‘of standing’ who are questioning the clear and obvious disinformation which is being circulated and published by the so-called ‘trusted’ Heads of Quangos. I wonder why that is? And why is it that the opinions expressed against the calculations of Frieden and co are NEVER from statisticians? Surely, a decent statistician would point out in no uncertain terms that the conclusions drawn from various surveys of school kids are worthless. For example, suppose that a survey is conducted of 10,000 junior school kids. Suppose that 90% say that they have never even tried a tobacco cigarette or e-cig in the last month. Firstly, how can you be sure that that is true? You simply do not know whether these kids are fibbing or not. But move on to the 10%, equals 1,000. By virtue of the fact that the 1,000 are ‘the odd ones out’, you have already singled out a specific group which is unrepresentative of the norm. 9,000 are ‘normal’, 1,000 are ‘abnormal’. Now, suppose that 500 of these ‘abnormals’ regularly, if occasionally, puff on a tobacco cig as well as an e-cig, or on tobacco cigs alone, or on e-cigs alone, and, sometimes, nicotine free e-cigs? All the time, the statistical significance of the numbers becomes less and less trustworthy. You might as well not mention the original figure of 10,000 school kids. In fact, the 1,000 ‘abnormals’, when broken down into age groups, social groups, risk-takers or not, etc become single individuals in the end. In other words, the surveys boil down to the same thing as anecdotes.

And yet the likes of Frieden get away with drawing wide-ranging conclusions from such crap evidence over and over again. But what is infinitely worse is that no ‘proper’ statisticians EVER are called upon to comment. The commenters are always other ‘health professionals’ or ‘professors’ or ‘doctors’ of psychiatry or something. It is almost as though it was a game in which the referees were excluded. Cricket matches without umpires; football matches without referees. Frieden can kick the shins of opposing team members and run away. The opposing team cannot kick Frieden’s shins because he is protected by a couple of goons.

Siegel and others are calling for a Congressional Enquiry. It will not happen until it becomes obvious that the likes of Frieden et al, and there are a lot of ‘et al’ people, all drawing salaries, are a massive cost on the economy, not only in themselves, but also in the in the effects of their activities.

What could be more obvious as an example than the NoLa smoking ban? It is easy to see what will happen there. For a few months, little will change until the novelty of the smoking ban wears off. What will then happen, as has happened in the UK and Ireland, is that those people who enjoy going to a bar most evenings for a beer or two and a smoke, and watching a bit of sport on the TV, will drift away. You can do all those things at home. Why subject yourself to persecution? The next group to absent themselves is those who enjoy a snack at lunchtime, along with a beer and a fag. Why bother if the fag is missing? Might as well stay in the office and grab a hamburger. The next group is those who go to the pub/bar expecting to be entertained by the gregarious smoker/drinkers. By now, all those people have decided not to bother, so those expecting to be entertained by the jollity of others find that there is no jollity.

Meanwhile, the lack of customers no longer justifies entertainment. Thus, a further tranche of customers disappears.

Attempts to convert the pubs into ‘eateries’ works for a while, but there are problems. Overheads are sky-high and competition is tough. ‘Pub Grub’ gets a bad reputation as compared with genuine, ‘haute cuisine’ restaurants. I am not joking. Programmes on the TV such as Masterchef have raised the expectations of culinary delights, which mass-produced pub grub cannot satisfy. I know for a fact that many small restaurants have upped the anti, and are now catering for a clientèle with more adventurous tastes. A strange thing happened to our golfing group of eight people when we visited Portugal. We had played and showered and dressed up and ventured forth looking for a place to have our evening meal. We happened upon this small restaurant. It was just a house able to provide seating for about twenty people. The meal was superb. The wine was superb (and cheap). Sadly, a couple of our group preferred quantity to quality, and we did not return there, although I tried my best.

In fact, on Saturday, in celebration of our 50th wedding anniversary, herself and I, and family, are going to just such a restaurant. Who knows? Perhaps dinner dances will come back into fashion! But they will certainly not until the biggest puritanical edict of all time is removed.

What is there that is clear about the effects of SHS? It is that the Doctors Study shows that SHS will kill no ordinary healthy person before he/she is at least 300 years old.


This is why I sometimes doubt the honesty of people like Michael Siegel. He is very much in favour of e-cigs. But he sees no conflict between e-cig ‘vapours’ harm (for the vaper) and SHS harm.

So let us ask for some facts, please. Given a 100% harm from smoking tobacco cigs (totally unrealistic, but mathematically possible), what is the percentage harm from SHS? What is the percentage harm from e-cigs? What is the percentage harm from pipes? What is the percentage harm from cigars? What is the percentage harm from snus? What is the potential harm from NOT enjoying any of the above?

Epidemiology has become a conjuring trick. Science, especially Statistics, it most certainly is not.


4 Responses to “E-cigs in the USA”

  1. Jude Says:

    In my little town I’ve watched as the pubs become places for teenagers to drink on Friday & Sat nights, and not much else. There used to be live bands, and a good time was had by all, different ages, different backgrounds, all that has changed. Now there is karaoke, and a jukebox if you’re lucky.

    The smoking ban, (which includes vapers), has pretty much destroyed pubs. With winter coming there will be even less people going out, and the pubs are shutting far earlier than their licenses require, something I never thought I would see.

    I don’t go to cafes on my lunch break any more, can’t smoke, can’t vape, so why bother spending money there. I bring lunch from home, and go sit in the park, save money, and can vape and relax.

    I have no sympathy to those businesses that have decided to ban vaping, because they don’t have to, there is no law, and no fines from gov if they allow people to vape. If they go broke, its their own fault.

    • junican Says:

      I think that we all agree that an establishment has the right to make whatever decisions it desires re smoking or vaping. It must suffer the consequences of its decisions.
      Australian politicians really must be a very aggressive bunch of good-gooders to ban nicotine containing e-liquid while not banning cigs. Imagine puritans banning beer which contains alcohol but failing to ban whiskey. The mind boggles.

  2. artbylisabelle Says:

    Reblogged this on artbylisabelle and commented:
    How to treat the populous like a pie and divide it into segments. Smokers and vapers removed from the platter and served outside in the rain. Now is everybody happy?

    • junican Says:

      I don’t think that anyone is happy – not smokers, not vapers, not non-smokers. Take the NOLA ban, I should imagine that almost all those who went to bars there were not bothered about tobacco smoke. If the UK is anything to go by, what will happen is that bars will gradually start to lose business, but the rate of loss will increase over time until many bars close down.

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