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Chest Doctors’ Ecig Research

Dubious survey claims that electronic cigarettes provoke mixed reactions in clinicians, say anti-vape researchers.

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Stephen Baldassarri, Geoffrey Chupp, Frank Leone, Graham Warren and Benjamin Toll have released a paper in advance of the American College of Chest Physicians (CHEST) Annual Meeting 2016. The findings are not surprising, and will be debated at the conference, but tainted by a participant lottery and previous stances taken by the organisers.

“Everyone has a brand,” says one of the keynote speakers for the CHEST meeting. “Hospitals have one, and physicians have one. You are a brand whether you are working on it or not. What does your personal brand say about you personally and professionally?”

Baldassarri & Co. are working at putting their brand out there with research into chest clinician electronic cigarette opinions. “The survey illustrates that patients are seeking professional advice regarding e-cigarette use, but there is no consensus on the harms and benefits of these products among health care providers,” says the lead author.

Their study covered 773 respondents, a sizeable number, and claims to have discovered that 2/3s of clinicians think vaping is harmful. It goes on to state that there’s a 50/50 split over whether ecigs are an effective way to quit smoking.

“Data on these products are limited and providers may be offering conflicting recommendations. This emphasizes the need for more thorough investigation on the risks, benefits and relative harm of e-cigarettes compared to traditional tobacco smoking,” continues Baldassarri.

But is it that straightforward?

Some would raise immediate concerns over the methodology. Participants were lured into taking part with a $500 lottery inducement, an offer that places significant concern over the kind of people self-selecting to respond. Then there is the history of those running the “brief online questionnaire”.

Stephen Baldassarri is a supporter of the prohibition of child-friendly flavours and the banning of e-cigarette use in places where tobacco smoking is prohibited.

Frank Leone wrote in his essay titled The Emergence of E-Cigarettes: A Triumph of Wishful Thinking over Science: “The current marketing model … seems unlikely to make a significant impact on tobacco use, and at worst appears to distract smokers interested in harm reduction away from safe and effective methods for controlling the compulsion to smoke. It’s filter tipped, low tar, déjà vu all over again.”

Also, Leone stated: “No association could be detected between every use of e-cigarettes and ‘successful quitter’ status.” And, advocating the continued use of nicotine replacement therapies that have a poor success rate: “Why settle for a potentially life-saving product when a definitely life-saving product [NRT] is preferable?”

Even scarier, Leone made an idiotic link to illegal drugs when he said: “E-cigarettes, heat creates a freebase form of nicotine that is more addictive.”

Graham Warren has also taken a slightly hysterical approach in the past, and demonstrated his ignorance of the technology: “Cigarettes were altered over the past 50 years to make them more addictive. It became easier to start smoking, and the nicotine continued to be delivered to the brain faster and faster. The reward behaviour got stronger, so it developed a much more addictive potential because of the product modifications. I would anticipate that e-cigarettes could follow a similar path, and I think that’s one of the concerns that a lot of people have.”

Warren is also a supporter of the debunked notion that there is a vaping-to-smoking gateway effect: “We don’t want e-cigarettes to become a way to renormalize smoking because it looks and feels something like a cigarette.”

Lastly, Benjamin Toll supported the idea of strong FDA regulation, a ban on vaping in all places where the Clean Air Act applies and called for a ban on flavours that are ‘only there to target children’.

There is confusion among medical practitioners, but maybe the research team should consider the part that they have played in sowing it?

Photo Credit:

  • Images:
    Report – CHEST press release
    Survey - Wikipedia

Dave Cross avatar

Dave Cross

Journalist at POTV
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Dave is a freelance writer; with articles on music, motorbikes, football, pop-science, vaping and tobacco harm reduction in Sounds, Melody Maker, UBG, AWoL, Bike, When Saturday Comes, Vape News Magazine, and syndicated across the Johnston Press group. He was published in an anthology of “Greatest Football Writing”, but still believes this was a mistake. Dave contributes sketches to comedy shows and used to co-host a radio sketch show. He’s worked with numerous vape companies to develop content for their websites.

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