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The Return of Chumpman

Australian “anti-tobacco crusader” Simon Chapman has returned to the media to fire yet another unhinged attack on vaping and the research gold standard Cochrane review findings

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Australian “anti-tobacco crusader” Simon Chapman has returned to the media to fire yet another unhinged attack on vaping and the research gold standard Cochrane review findings. Published in Australian Doctor, the crank takes issue with Cochrane review finding “high-certainty evidence” that vaping is much more effective than nicotine replacement products at helping smokers quit tobacco use.

Prior to his retirement, Chapman lined up alongside the UK’s Professor Martin McKee and the USA’s Professor Stanton Glantz to issue a barrage of unfounded speculation and misinformation strewn press releases aimed at stoking evidence-free fear in the public and legislators.

Despite the trio frequently being shown up in public, they continued their attacks with a zeal only found in extremists favouring a belief system over evidence – apparently taking joy from the upset they caused e-cig users and academic peers.

In 2015, Chapman has accused vapers of being “vapid” and possessing “unctuous faux outrage” – while hypocritically accusing them of “infantile name-calling”.

Simon Chapman’s fervent belief system permits him to reject evidence on sight, performing mental gymnastics along the way, going so far as to refute Public Health England’s ‘95% safer’ figure that has been reaffirmed by the UK Government in every annual report looking at e-cig evidence since 2015.

The Cochrane reviews constitute a gold standard in scientific evidence, widely respected from the UK and across Europe. Their latest finding, that vaping is far more effective as a smoking cessation tool than nicotine patches, gum or spray caused Chapman to decry randomised controlled trials as not reflecting real world behaviour.

This misunderstands the role of randomised controlled trials,” comments Dr Colin Mendelsohn, “which is to find if a treatment works in motivated smokers in a controlled environment.

“Abundant evidence now also exists showing that vaping works in the real world setting, from UK Stop Smoking Services, observational studies, population studies and declines in national smoking rates. While these studies cannot prove causality, their results are consistent with the Cochrane findings.”

Dr Mendelsohn continues: “Professor Chapman refers to longitudinal studies from the US PATH cohort showing very little benefit from vaping. However, these studies typically include vapers not wanting to quit and those vaping occasionally.

“Motivated quitters who vape daily have substantially increased quit rates. One PATH study of over 32,000 subjects found that daily vaping increased quit rates by 8 times compared to using other quit methods. Many other longitudinal studies have found that vaping is effective and that daily vaping increases quit rates by 2-8 times.

“Population studies in the UK, US and New Zealand have found that smoking rates have declined faster since vaping became widely available. The recent report from the Office of National Statistics in the UK concluded that ‘Vaping devices such as e-cigarettes have played a major role in the decrease in smoking prevalence in the UK’.”

Chapman reiterated his concern about the lack of evidence for long-term safety despite The Royal College of Physicians stating: “While the long-term harm of using e-cigarettes will not be fully known for many decades, it is highly likely to be far less than smoking, which prematurely kills up to 2 in 3 continuing smokers.”

Dr Mendelsohn adds: “Clinical trials have shown improvements in asthma, COPD, blood pressure, muco-ciliary clearance, respiratory infections, lung function, respiratory symptoms, cardiovascular markers, and gum disease. These changes are in the direction of less impairment and are likely to persist over the longer term.”


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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