An amusing post by Michael Siegel:
He comments adversely on a recent study which claims that ecig flavours are a gateway to smoking. He quotes this from the study:
“Consistent with previous findings about e-cigarette use, our findings suggest that youth use of flavored e-cigarettes might serve as a gateway for future cigarette use.” [My bold]
Another quote from the press release from the American Academy of Pediatrics:
“Flavored E-Cigarette Use May Increase Teens’ Taste for Smoking.”
And a couple more:
“New research shows the use of electronic cigarettes with flavors such as gummy bear and bubble gum among U.S. middle- and high-school students may serve as a gateway for future smoking.”
“The study … suggests use of these products increases young people’s intentions to begin smoking..”
Let us think about Michael Faraday’s discovery that a changing magnet field creates a changing electric field which induces and electric current in a conductor. Did he say ‘may’, or ‘suggests’ or any such qualifier? He did not. He described what actually, really happened when he experimented.
Is this not precisely what has been happening to science in recent times? I have no doubt that real’ science is still being conducted, but it is not in the area of tobacco control. If tobacco control engaged in real science, is would cite real experiments, or at least real observations. Astronomy cannot conduct experiments, but it can observe very precisely.
So we can look at what M Siegel complains about. He complains that the study was used to claim that flavoured ecigs lead to smoking when there is no ‘proof’ of direction. That is, it is just as likely that smoking leads to use of flavoured ecigs as well as the other way round.
But what amuses me is the researchers are perfectly correct to link flavoured ecigs and smoking as they do since they use the word ‘may’. Let’s face up to it – the use of the word ‘may’, in science, is the height of dishonesty. It absolves the culprit from blame, if it turns out that he was wrong. An honest statement in science would be: “I have seen these effects, and the effects might be causative, but I do not know. Perhaps someone could find a way to show that the effects that I observed are indeed causative”. But you might say that we can never be certain of cause and effect. That is true. But we can be almost 100% certain, baring miracles. That is another problem with ‘may’ – it does not give any estimate of certainty.
The above leads me to conclude that any investigations which find only ‘may’ can be assumed to have have not found anything of value. They have been a waste of money and time, which should have been rather obvious before they began. EG, this study was conducted using statistics from the 2014 National Youth Tobacco Survey. How reliable are those statistics in detail? They are not reliable at all, in detail. In fact, they cannot be used for detailed analysis at all. The more that you break down the figures into subsections of subsections, the wilder any conclusions become.
I am no mathematician, but I have a reasonable amount of common sense. EG, if a statistical study produces a null result, then that is quite likely to be true. EG, if Doll’s ‘Doctors Study’ has produced information that just as many non-smoking doctors died from LC as heavy smoking doctors, then it would be reasonable to conclude that smoking was not a factor is LC. That does not mean that smoking was not a factor is SOME deaths. It means only that smoking was not an important factor generally. But what if there seems to be a very strong association? Doll’s study showed that many more heavy smokers died from LC than non-smokers. What then comes into to play is the ABSOLUTE number of deaths. EG, suppose that, out of 10,000 deaths, there were only 20 deaths from LC among heavy smokers as compared with only 1 death among non-smokers. Almost everyone with any sense would say that, despite the higher ‘risk’ for heavy smokers, the ABSOLUTE numbers indicate that smoking is not a problem worth worrying about.
And that is where Michael Siegel got himself into a disreputable situation – he supported claims that SHS is a killer within the normal lifetime of a human being, and claimed that thousands of Americans die as a result of inhaling SHS. To that extent, he was dishonest. It does not matter how good his motives were. The fact is that he was scientifically dishonest. Should we be surprised that the Surgeon General of the USA made the perfectly dishonest statement that ‘there is no safe level of SHS’? We should not. We should treat it in the same way that we would treat the statement that there is a breathable atmosphere on the moon. WE DO NOT BELIEVE IT.
‘Dishonesty’ is endemic within tobacco control. I choose my words carefully, as best I can. ‘Dishonesty’ does not only incorporate lies – it also includes burying truth and deliberately misinterpreting figures.
In my last post, I suggested that readers should watch the video of the Idaho former Attorney General talking about his devotion to TC. Despite the plaudits from Clive Bates, the fact is that he was dishonest. And the reason that he was dishonest was that he claimed to be ‘saving lives’. He made that claim again and again and again. He was doing no such thing. At best, he was postponing deaths.
That is more important than it seems. ‘Postponing deaths’ is a real problem for the NHS which no one wants to talk about. When my wife was in hospital 12 months ago, opposite her was an old lady who was decrepit. But she was ‘compos mentis’. One night, something happened to her and there were ructions. She had a bleed in her brain (a stroke?) and she died. Lots of running about. But she was quite definitely dead.
So what is definite?
There may have been a time when TC was honest. It may have been that TC kept hitting brick walls in the form of Tobacco Company power as a major industry and a collector of vat amounts of duty taxes, and the poo-pooing of the statistics of Doll’s Doctors Study and other studies. It may well be that the advocates of anti-tobacco found a different way to get what they wanted.
That way was via the UN. The UN was wide open to be taken over. Doll and his friends worked hard to get control of the WHO, and they succeeded. They quietly worked, behind the scenes, to get anti-tobacco executives in place and they succeeded. Now, not a single person in the WHO has anything good to say about tobacco.
The same goes for climate control. Again, the UN has been taken over by academics. That would be OK if those academics were prepared to risk all their worldly possessions for their beliefs. But, no – they sail on getting wealthier and wealthier themselves regardless.
Is it not the weirdest thing that REAL Governments, elected by The People, constantly give way to unelected Individuals and Committees who act dishonestly?