Anti-e-cigarette Research Replicates Antismoking Research

H/T Jay R, Michael Siegel  on e-cigarette research:

While the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products (CTP) has repeatedly claimed that it is intending to regulate e-cigarettes based on the results of scientific research, a close examination of the CTP’s research portfolio reveals that the agency is heavily funding research on the potential risks of e-cigarettes but does not have a single long-term clinical trial to evaluate the potential benefits of e-cigarettes for smoking cessation.

It is great to claim to be evidence-based, but if the only evidence you produce is about the risks and none about the benefits, you can’t help but conclude that the identified risks outweigh the benefits. And this appears to be exactly how the CTP has stacked the deck.

This bias is apparent even in the CTP’s description of its e-cigarette research. In terms of research priorities regarding e-cigarettes, this is how CTP describes them:

“E-cigarette initiation, use (including transitions to other tobacco products and multiple use), perceptions, dependence, and toxicity.”

There’s a lot here about potential risks, including youth initiation, dual use, gateway to tobacco product usage, dependence, and toxicity. However, there’s nothing here about the potential benefits, such as effectiveness in getting people off cigarettes!

Then, if you examine the current research on e-cigarettes that CTP is funding, you will find plenty of studies on the potential risks of e-cigarettes, but not a single clinical trial that examines the effectiveness of e-cigarettes for smoking cessation or reduction over more than a three-week period.

Thus, the deck is stacked against e-cigarettes. The research will reveal many risks but it cannot possibly identify the most important potential benefit: long-term usefulness in smoking cessation, potentially at a level that exceeds that for current FDA-approved therapies. There’s simply no way to find out without conducting such a clinical trial, yet none is being funded by CTP.

Given this heavily biased research agenda, there is no way that the CTP will be able to come up with any conclusion other than that e-cigarette risks outweigh their benefits.

Unfortunately, this is not an objective research plan. Although each individual study, taken separately, may be valid research, the plan as a whole is heavily biased. This story shows how one can bias research results not necessarily by altering the results of a single study, but by crafting a research agenda that stacks the deck toward the desired finding.

Well, yes, if you only consider the risks, and disregard any benefits, you’re stacking the deck in favour of the desired conclusion: that the risks of e-cigarettes outweigh their benefits.

But this is nothing new. E-cigarette ‘research’ is simply replicating the tried-and-tested methods of tobacco ‘research’. For when do antismoking researchers ever admit that the are any benefits whatsoever in smoking cigarettes, while they come up with an ever-lengthening list of disorders and diseases supposedly caused by smoking?

And, of course, Michael Siegel was one of those antismoking researchers, so he knows all about how it’s done.

As did some of the commenters, like Harry:

“This story shows how one can bias research results not necessarily by altering the results of a single study, but by crafting a research agenda that stacks the deck toward the desired finding.”

Gee, doctor, just like many of those meta-studies you’ve endorsed all these years!

Anyway, rather laughably, the only benefit that Siegel seems to be able to see in e-cigarettes is their ability to get people off cigarettes – which they do by largely replicating the (beneficial) experiences of smoking.

I seldom look in on Michael Siegel’s blog these days. He’s really just another antismoking zealot. I’ve got no time for such people any more. I’m not sure I ever did. And it surprises me that he continues to attract so many smoker readers, who continue to write caustic comments, none of which he ever appears to read.


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22 Responses to Anti-e-cigarette Research Replicates Antismoking Research

  1. jaxthefirst says:

    I know it’s churlish, but whenever I see the signs of Tobacco Control applying the same tactics towards e-cigarettes as they did to real cigarettes, there’s a little part of me which smiles inwardly. Why? Because many, many smokers warned vapers about this a long time ago, and warned them too, that unless we joined forces against the whole anti-smoking movement (which, today, increasingly encompasses anti-vaping, too) they wouldn’t have a cat in hell’s chance of resisting the onward progress of the Healthist juggernaut heading their way. Did they listen? Did they heck! Oh no, siree! Most of them (with a very few notable exceptions), sat back, smugly believing that by giving up real cigarettes (and thus showing what obedient little serfs they were) and joining in the braying anti-smoking “poo-stinky-poo!” chorus, that the Healthists would leave them alone. How wrong they were.

    It’s a truly palm-meet-forehead mistake because most of them, having previously been smokers themselves, should have been able to spot this coming from a mile off and should therefore have been aware that common-sense and reasonable, logical arguments or compromises simply don’t wash with these people. The only thing that could have saved them would be for a significant number of non-vapers to speak out on their behalf – just as the only thing which could have saved real smokers would have been for large numbers of non-smokers to speak out on our behalf. And as the neither-smoking-nor-vaping types in our midst don’t seem to have the slightest interest in speaking out for either of our groups, the advent of e-cigarettes gave both of our groups the opportunity to get “non partakers” of either variety to speak out on each others’ behalf. A bit of mutually-supportive collaboration could have gone a long way towards ensuring much fairer treatment for both of our groups. But the vapers wouldn’t play, and the opportunity was lost.

    It’s a shame, but it’s always a consolation to be proved right, isn’t it?

    • Jonathan Bagley says:

      Got to say, as an ex smoker, now vaper, I agree with you. I now very rarely look at vaping discussion forums. In their defence, many of the participants seem to be in their late twenties or early thirties; and so when statistical fraud and the looming smoking ban were being discussed eight to ten years ago, wouldn’t have had much interest in Government policy and Establishment corruption. I know I didn’t.

  2. Joe L. says:

    This story regarding the exposure of junk science has garnered some mainstream media coverage over the past few days:

    Doubts About Study of Gay Canvassers Rattle the Field

    And here’s more from the actual website that blew the whistle:

    Science retracts troubled gay canvassing study against LaCour’s objections

    Just goes to show how rampant junk science is today, and how eager scientific journals are to publish anything and everything. Hopefully the fact that this was caught and exposed will start waking some people up to the fraud that has been occurring for decades.

  3. Lepercolonist says:

    Michael Siegel is a hypocrite and a phony. Persona non grata to me. I have not read his B.S. in years.

    I was watching a TV show about medieval torture devices this week when the image of Michael Bloomberg filled my mind. Would be fitting.

  4. mikef317 says:

    Frank, your last paragraph, “I seldom look in on Michael Siegel’s blog….”

    Spot on!

    I discovered Siegel’s blog ten years ago, when it first started. He struck me as anti-tobacco, but not fanatically so. Perhaps someone who could be engaged in an honest debate. I used to read his blog and related comments every day.

    The above paragraph destroys my claim to be the smartest person in the world. Siegel is just as nuts as all the other anti-tobacco nuts. I look at his blog maybe once a week, and rather than read his posts, I check the comments, but except for an occasional link to another website, I only skim the caustic prose. 90% is not worth my attention.

    Frank, when I post comments on your blog, I don’t expect a response from you – unless I ask a direct question – and then I’ll get a direct answer. This is not the case with Siegel. He pretty much ignores all commenters, pro or anti smoking.

    Why does Siegel attract so many pro-smoking readers? Damned if I know. Maybe because his is the only U. S. blog were they can comment?

    Maybe people who comment on Siegel’s blog should comment instead on Frank Davis’ blog. A compliment – they’d find a more engaged and open minded host.

    • Frank Davis says:

      Well, I’m interested in what my readers think. I may not always agree with them, but I’m interested nonetheless. Because I’m in the same exiled boat as they are. The more opinions the better, in such a situation.

      But Siegel isn’t interested in what his readers think. Siegel is only interested in what Siegel thinks. Because in his opinion, he’s right and everybody else is wrong. Pretty much all antismoking zealots seem to be equally dogmatic.

      I don’t really know why Siegel bothers to allow comments,although like you I used head straight for the comments when I used to visit. But after a while even the comments started to seem as repetitive as Siegel himself.

      • Rose says:

        I don’t really know why Siegel bothers to allow comments

        Guilt. He knows that because of anti-tobacco’s activities in which he himself enthusiastically took part, a lot of decent people who disagree with them have been unfairly, systematically and very effectively, silenced, so he gave them a place where they could express their views.

        “There is little question in my mind that there has been a systematic and deliberate attempt to promote the anti-smoking cause by spreading what turns out to be disinformation about the opposition to smoking bans and the challenges to secondhand smoke science. It is my opinion that many tobacco control advocates are indoctrinated with these ideas and beliefs and that this indoctrination may result in the implantation of beliefs that run counter to an individual’s pre-conceived or natural ideas and conceptions. In addition, an environment has been created in which one cannot challenge the ideas being presented because by definition, those who challenge the establishment are viewed as being traitors to the movement. Thus, not only is brainwashing occurring, but it is a self-perpetuating type of process which feeds itself by placing a nearly insurmountable barrier to anyone challenging it.”

        Anyway, in the first years after the Smoking Ban I found reading the Doctor’s blog and it’s comment section invaluable in finding out what the hell had been going on.

        • beobrigitte says:

          Rose, I do think the same.

          I don’t really know why Siegel bothers to allow comments


          Although these days I, too, rarely read Siegel’s posts, I view him ‘an oddball’ case. Didn’t he testify in a court case which cost the tobacco industry dearly? Correct me if I’m wrong, it was anti-smoker financed research. Just 2 obvious questions:
          1. Which reputable university lecturer and researcher can afford to backpeddle?
          2. What would the tobacc industry demand if he did?

          I do believe the man is an anti-smoker at heart and believes in the anti-smokers’ crusade. Nevertheless, his belief fuels that “no lies are necessary” and he fell out with the anti-smoking crowd.
          There is NOTHING any smoker could do to convince the guy that we are, rather healthily, alive. I do suspect he hates the smell of tobacco smoke.

      • beobrigitte says:

        Well, I’m interested in what my readers think. I may not always agree with them, but I’m interested nonetheless. Because I’m in the same exiled boat as they are. The more opinions the better, in such a situation.

        Perhaps this is why people look forward to reading your blog – there are different angles to a particular blog post and here people do point them out.

        Perhaps Siegel is cautious to reply to comments; he does know how the anti-smoking industry works.

        • Rose says:

          Perhaps Siegel is cautious to reply to comments

          He does sometimes if very rarely, Brigitte, once I got a whole blog post!

          Mind you, I’d done an awful lot of research on the real origins of “light” cigarettes and posted each bit on his blog as I found it. I’ll admit his interpretation was entirely different from mine and he did use it in support of his own point of view, but it does show that he reads the comments.

          Thursday, May 07, 2009
          The Lessons from History: Scientists Ideas About How to Make Safer Cigarettes Can Severely Backfire

          Right down at the bottom –

          (Thanks to Rose for the tip).

          Here’s my research that lead to that blog post if you are interested.

          The Origins of Light Cigarettes.

          Which is working again I’m delighted to see.

  5. Rose says:

    Meanwhile, as we were all puzzling over how there could possibly be “11,000 fewer children admitted to hospital with lung infections” allegedly because of the smoking ban in pubs where they were not allowed, something dark and dangerous was going through it’s first reading in the House of Lords.

    Now on the face of it, banning legal highs seems entirely reasonable and we all know what they mean by it or at least we think we do, it’s the definition of psychoactive that is causing alarm.

    Things you own which the legal highs bill is going to make illegal
    1st June

    “A few days after the draft psychoactive substances bill was published, its full ramifications are still becoming clear. It is one of the weirdest pieces of law ever proposed by a British government. And at a stroke, it seems to criminalise the majority of households in the UK.”

    “According to the bill, a psychoactive substance is something which “is capable of producing a psychoactive effect in a person who consumes it”. It defines ‘psychoactive’ as something which, “by stimulating or depressing the person’s central nervous system, affects the person’s mental functioning or emotional state”.”

    ” The brain is part of the central nervous system and emotions are felt in the brain. Therefore anything you put inside you which changes your emotional or intellectual state satisfies this definition.

    How do you take a psychoactive substance? The bill says:

    “For the purposes of this Act a person consumes a substance if the person causes or allows the substance, or fumes given off by the substance, to enter the person’s body in any way.”

    The Telegraph explains

    Theresa May wants to ban pleasure

    The new law on legal highs is a bizarre piece of farcically bad drafting which could criminalise nuts, scented pillows, and the smell of flowers

    • beobrigitte says:

      It’s not 1st April?

      If it wasn’t so sad, I’d laugh!!! 4 more years of a scarcely diluted version of Labour to endure….

      Looking forward to Theresa May banning tea.

  6. garyk30 says:


    Harley seems to be missing for a while now.

    He must be very ill.

    Let’s all say prayers or whatever we wish for him and for his return.

    • Frank Davis says:

      He last posted on the 28th, 6 days ago. But he doesn’t seem to have been saying he was unwell recently, although I know he’s been getting repeat doses of some bug that’s going around, as well as having trouble with teeth.

      He might be unwell. But there are lots of other reasons why he might not be posting. He tends to go through computers at a pretty high rate of knots, so he might have a dead computer.

      We must hope it’s something along those lines.

      • nisakiman says:

        Yes, I’d noted his absence too, but as you say Frank, he does seem to go through computers (not sure how – I use mine a lot, and I’ve had it for nearly nine years. I just upgrade it as and when), so it may well be a computer problem.

        Let’s hope so – I miss his scatter-gun approach to posting comments, and he’s a mine of information. Maybe it’s his bloated bookmarks menu which overloads his computer and gives it a nervous breakdown! :)

  7. Some French bloke says:

    “it surprises me that he continues to attract so many smoker readers…”

    Could it just be because, up until now, he’s only been questioning the activities of the SHS and e-cig departments of the TobCon lie factory, while still embracing the basic gospel? Just imagine if someone like him were to admit that the whole cult he owes his present social status to is exclusively based on fatally flawed studies and cherry-picked or appositely adjusted statistics – few would be prepared to put themselves through a moral ordeal of this magnitude. And a lot of opponents to smoking bans themselves would have a hard time coming to grips with the concept of living in a society where such a degree of corruption is possible.

    • Rose says:

      The commenters say what he can’t.

    • Frank Davis says:

      Just imagine if someone like him were to admit that the whole cult he owes his present social status to is exclusively based on fatally flawed studies and cherry-picked or appositely adjusted statistics – few would be prepared to put themselves through a moral ordeal of this magnitude.

      Good point. Who wants to admit to themselves that they’ve wasted their lives on junk science? It’s easy to criticise other people, much harder to criticise oneself.

      Add to that being a member of a cult in which everyone re-enforces each other’s beliefs (although Siegel appears to have been expelled from the innermost circle, and has become a voice blogging in the wilderness).

  8. Barry Homan says:

    I don’t know when the right time is to bring it up, but where’s harley?

  9. Harley has had periods before where his puter got worn to threads and went on a protest strike, so that may be all that’s up. I doubt the Antis kidnapped him: he woulda bitten ’em before they got in his front door!


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