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Unbridled NEJM Bias

The New England Journal of Medicine has printed many ridiculous articles; this month’s editorial encapsulates its rank hypocrisy and dishonesty

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POTV has covered many idiotic articles printed by The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM ) over the years, but this month’s editorial is a display of rank hypocrisy and dangerous deceitfulness. In slamming vaping, being partial about what kind of nicotine they don't like and calling for a ban on all flavours, the editorial team show themselves up as frauds.

Previously, the NEJM has covered itself in glory by frequently allowing Stanton Glantz to spout forth. On one occasion he waxed lyrical about how wonderful NRT was, while stating vaping could never work for smoking cessation because ecigs made smokers less likely to quit.

Among other high points, it plugged a diabolically flawed study kicking off formaldehyde scares in 2015. Then there was the time they gave up column inches to a ridiculous study that found benzene in vape. Just last year, the NEJM was back to giving airtime to a farcical study that “proved” vaping didn’t work as a quit tool. These and more can be found by typing “NEJM” into the search box on this page.

This month’s issue carries an editorial penned by Jeffrey Drazen, Edward Campion, and Stephen Morrissey – no, not that one, another irritating Stephen Morrissey. According to their disclosure statements, Campion reports that he is employed by the NEJM as an executive editor; Drazen reports that he is the NEJM’s editor-in-chief; Morrissey didn’t complete a disclosure form but works as the managing editor. Heaven knows they make a miserable bunch.

“Nicotine is amazingly addictive. About 20 years ago, researchers in a nearby laboratory were studying the effects of cigarette smoke on lung function in mice,” they write. They note how keen mice exposed to nicotine are to run into a tube. The link here to vaping in humans is decidedly unclear – but predictable as the trio needed to make a bold, shocking opening. “Exposed mice are eager to get another hit of nicotine.”

Good for those mice.

Launching into a bit of conflation: “Since smoking is not a natural behaviour, like eating or drinking, the manufacturers of these devices commonly add flavouring to the liquid.”

Vaping is smoking now?

“The rates of vaping among teenagers are increasing at an alarming rate.”

Sure, if you take the FDA at its word as it hasn’t released the data, and this ignores data from every other nation.

“We fear that the creation of a generation of nicotine-addicted teenagers will lead to a resurgence in the use of combustible tobacco in the decades to come.”

Tricky, as there’s no evidence to support a gateway theory and the tobacco industry won’t be selling cigarettes “in decades to come”.

Next, “since nicotine is a gateway drug that lowers the threshold for addiction to other agents, the use of e-cigarettes could help spawn even more opioid addiction,” Drazen, Morrissey and Campion lie. “We do know that nicotine is as addictive as heroin, so once hooked, most young e-cigarette users will become long-term users.”

They praise Scott Gottlieb for the action he’s taken at the Food and Drug Administration so far, but call on him to push further: “We think the FDA should simply ban the sale of flavoured nicotine products for use in e-cigarettes. We urge the FDA to use its statutory powers in regulating nicotine delivery devices to take the bold step of removing these flavoured products from the market.”

There’s just one question this collection of idiots need to answer: why is nicotine so dangerous in eLiquid but fine in NRT patches and gums? Surely it can’t have anything to do with the pharmaceutical industry?



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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