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Cash For Lies

The FDA is rewarding lying researchers with fat cheques for producing convenient research that supports vape prohibition.

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The National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have renewed their commitment to the Tobacco Centers of Regulatory Science (TCORS) program. Some would say it is rewarding those institutions that towed the line and produced bias work over the last four years. Nine centres benefit from fat cheques on the promise they’ll do more of the same.

Someone should call the Oxford English Dictionary. Under the definition of “Corrupt”, the words need to be removed a replaced by a picture of the FDA handing a cheque for $20 million to Stanton Glantz for more lies about vaping.

The professor at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) said: “The new grants are really built around developing a modern understanding of these products and how they compare with cigarettes. E-cigarettes kind of arose over the last five years and really injected themselves into everything we’re doing. What we need to do is watch how the market evolves and stay on top of it.”

Developing an understanding of electronic cigarettes is the very last thing the money will be used for. Glantz has a longstanding association with research ranging from ludicrously bias to the absurdly duff. Here’s a smattering of his contributions:

2018: Evidence-free claim that vaping leads to heart attacks

2018: Slated by UNICEF for lying in a research paper

2018: Couldn’t read simple figures from a chart

2017: Accused of ignorance and refuses to publically debate Dr Farsalinos

2016: Slammed for lying about a gateway effect

2016: Meta-analysis labelled “error-strewn

2015: Junk science models impact on the UK

2015: Criticised for ideological bias in his work

2014: Accuses juice makers of using “Super high nicotine concentrations” to snare children

2014: Accused of making false claims and misleading statements

2014: Accused of “Abuse of evidence and argument”

Professor Carl Phillips, an economist and respected authority on tobacco harm reduction, has previously referred to all of Stanton Glantz’ research work as “junk science” and “lies”. But the lying and sham research has paid off; in 2014, Glantz received $6.61 million – which has been increased almost fourfold with the latest wallet-busting $20 million grant.

The more he has been disingenuous, the more he and the University of California San Francisco have profited.

Michael Anderson MD welcomed the announcement: “Proud that UCSF is bringing our academic rigor to a public health crisis for kids.”

Academic rigor?

The FDA wants research carried out in the following areas:

  1. Toxicity – “Understanding how tobacco products and changes to tobacco product characteristics affect their potential to cause morbidity and mortality, including animal and cell culture models”
  2. Addiction – “Understanding the effect of tobacco product characteristics on addiction and abuse liability”
  3. Health Effects – “Understanding the short and long-term health effects of tobacco products. Highest priority areas include cardiovascular or respiratory health effects, including inflammation”
  4. Behaviour – “Understanding the knowledge, attitudes, and Behaviors related to tobacco product use”
  5. Communications – “Understanding how to effectively communicate to the public and vulnerable populations regarding nicotine and the health effects of tobacco products”
  6. Marketing Influences – “Understanding why people become susceptible to using tobacco products”
  7. Impact Analysis – “Understanding the impact of potential FDA regulatory actions”

As well as the University of California San Francisco, cash under the TCORS 2.0 project, covering the next four years 2018-2022, has been handed out to eight other institutions:

  • The American Heart Association
  • University of Michigan
  • Virginia Commonwealth University
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • University of Southern California
  • University of Vermont
  • Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Institute
  • Yale University

All of the above have been involved with a ridiculous collection of work on the subject of vaping, it is difficult to see this situation changing as they gear up for more money in 2023. As an example, Glantz’ $20 million will be put towards the following:

  • Project 1: Impact of Different E-Cigarette Characteristics on Acute Lung Injury
  • Project 2: Short-Term Cardiovascular Effects of E-Cigarettes: Influence of Device Power and E-Liquid pH and How E-Cigarettes Compare with Heat-Not-Burn Products
  • Project 3: Cardiovascular Health Effects of Emerging Heat-Not-Burn Tobacco Products
  • Project 4: Current and Emerging Tobacco Products in a Rural Context: Influences of Product Characteristics on Perceptions, Behaviors, and Biologic Exposures
  • Project 5: Impact of Changing Tobacco Product Use on Healthcare Costs for General and Vulnerable Populations

It’s business as usual for Stanton: “As they have in the past, tobacco companies are using new products that they claim are ‘safer’ to try to position themselves as part of the solution rather than part of the problem. The UCSF TCORS is developing the knowledge that will allow independent judgment of whether these companies have actually changed or are merely changing their spots.”

Jukka Kelovuori, a harm-reduction advocate from Finland, hit the nail on the head by writing: “Glantz shouldn't do any research on the subject. The guy is an extremist political activist and not an honest, unbiased and objective researcher. We all know his research will come to predetermined conclusions one unscrupulous way or another.”

Names to look out for on future research conducted by UCSF, a guarantee that the work is tainted: Carolyn Calfee, Matthew Springer, Benjamin Chaffee, Gideon St. Helen and Wendy Max.

Writer Juan Cole wrote an article titled Top Ten Signs The US Is The Most Corrupt Nation In The World. In it he argues: “American democracy is being corrupted out of existence.” It could be suggested that Glantz receiving a cheque for $20 million is an eleventh sign.

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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