Study saying vaping causes lung disease ‘not even plausible,’ says Siegel

The notorious Stanton Glantz has recently co-authored yet another sham vaping study that is attracting widespread media attention.  According to the published findings, the researchers determined that healthy adult smokers with no prior histories of lung disease were far more likely to develop respiratory disorders after switching to vaping compared to non-vapers.

To qualify for the alleged three-year experiment, participants simply had to acknowledge that they were indeed smokers.  They were not required to disclose the number of years or the amount of combustible tobacco cigarettes smoked on a daily basis.  Based on the study’s findings, "Use of e-cigarettes is an independent risk factor for respiratory disease in addition to combustible tobacco smoking. Dual use, the most common use pattern, is riskier than using either product alone." The paper entitled Association of E-Cigarette Use With Respiratory Disease Among Adults: A Longitudinal Analysis is published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine (AJPM). 

Related Article:  Siegel: CDC’s refusal to conduct urine testing of lung patients ‘inexcusable’

As a result of the study’s alarming headline, the news story is being reported on CNN, in USA Today, and nearly every major media outlet around the globe.   However, many tobacco control experts are blasting the Glantz publication for its “deeply flawed” theoretical findings, including Dr. Michael Siegel of the Boston University School of Public Health.

Dr. Michael Siegel: ‘Vapers beware’ of bogus research

According to Dr. Siegel, the researchers failed to consider that people who typically switch to vaping as a tobacco harm reduction tool tend to be very heavy smokers compared to those who do not make the switch.  He references a more reputable longitudinal vaping study published in February 2015 and co-authored by Dr. Lois Biener of the University of Massachusetts Center for Survey Research.

The Beiner study published in the U.S. National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health (NCBI) determined that a whopping 68 percent of adult vapers were formerly heavy smokers.  In contrast, only 21 percent of non-vaping smokers were determined to be heavy smokers.  According to Dr. Siegel, this is crucial information that the Glantz team should have been taken into consideration before defining the study’s evaluation parameters.

“This is critical because it shows that in order to control for smoking history properly in a study such as this one, you cannot merely control for whether or not someone was a current or ever smoker at baseline. You have to actually control for the person's overall smoking history including whether they were a heavy smoker and how many years they smoked.
“Importantly, this study did not control for a person's smoking history.”

Related Article:  Dr. Siegel blasts AHA for clinging to ‘alternative facts’ about vaping

Siegel then suggests that the entire study is invalid because Stanton Glantz refused to consider the participants’ smoking histories.  In fact, the research illustrates perfectly the opposing point of view - how the smoking of combustible tobacco products is a “a strong predictor of lung disease and that heavier intensity of smoking increases the risk.”

“It is not even plausible that e-cigarette use could cause COPD within three years. Even with heavy smoking, it takes decades before a person develops COPD. If you walk into a respiratory intensive care unit, you're not going to find a lot of COPD patients in their 30s or even 40s. So if it takes at least three decades of smoking to develop COPD, how is a person supposed to develop COPD from e-cigarettes in only three years?...
“This evidence demonstrates that the truth is the opposite of what is being reported here. E-cigarette use is not a cause of chronic lung disease. On the contrary, it helps improve respiratory health among smokers who are able to quit completely using these products.”

The Glantz study, Siegel says, fails on the one critical aspect that so many of these bogus research papers always seem to ignore.  The researchers almost always neglect to use a control group of participants’ who vape but have never smoked.  This core scientific principle is the basis of all reputable, peer-reviewed research regardless of the subject matter.

In his daily blog entitled Tobacco Analysis, Siegel begins by saying, “Vapers beware.”  The mainstream media has been peddling one conspiracy theory after another about the so-called dangers of vaping throughout 2019.  Unfortunately, nearly every one of them have eventually been proven to be grossly inaccurate – and in most cases, completely untrue. 

Related Article:  Siegel: Utah DOH ‘unequivocally concludes’ nicotine vaping nonrelated to lung scandal

(Image courtesy of YouTube)

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