Dr. Michael Siegel is a well-known and very highly respected professor at the Boston University School For Public Health. He is regarded as a tobacco control expert. Today, he is a string voice making a stand against the sham methodologies anti-vaping groups are deceitfully deploying to scare and misinform the public about ecigs. Dr. Siegel is fighting for reason and fighting for the truth.
Dr. Siegel has a reputation for beginning with a neutral starting point, critically analyzing data and honestly reporting the results. As a result, he has become an advocate of electronic cigarette technology and the potential that ecigs holds to possible make cigarettes obsolete. Today, he writes a very popular blog called The Rest Of The Story : Tobacco News Analysis And Commentary. Dr. Siegel regularly uses his blog as a vehicle to analyze ecig studies and call out sham, bias ecig studies.
Last week, we wrote about Dr. Stanton Glantz and his hard stance on vaping. Dr. Glantz is a noted and outspoken anti-vaping voice. Ironically, Dr. Glantz was once the mentor to Dr. Siegel. Now the student is exposing his former teacher / mentor for misrepresenting study findings and drawing unsupported conclusions.
In response to a sham ecig study that reported ecigs not only do not help people quit smoking they make quitting harder, Dr. Siegel hit back. Specifically, an anti-vaping study was published in the Swiss Medical Weekly. This study purportedly found that vaping leads to smoking and does not help people quit. The study involved more than 5,000 Swiss men. They were asked one question and one question only about vaping. They were asked “Have you used an ecig in the last year?”
Based on that one question they determined that ecigs cause people to smoke. They didn’t ask if they smoked cigarettes first. They asked nothing to quantify vaping habits from smoking habits. This study was an absolute shame. Nonetheless, this study was praised, of course, by Dr. Stanton Glantz who went on to express his own conclusions based on the shoddy data collected by Swiss researchers.
Well Dr. Michael Siegel schooled his former mentor on the importance of valid methodology. Dr. Siegel pointed out the numerous errors saying “By assuming that the e-cigarette use preceded the changes in smoking status, the paper authors and Dr. Glantz are able to misrepresent the study as showing that vaping leads to progression to smoking among baseline nonsmokers and impedes smoking cessation among baseline smokers. But the truth is that the findings could be presented in the exact opposite way.”
The corrupt methodology used and the way the findings were presented showed an intent to misinform the public. There is a real war on ecigs and Dr. Glantz, if he were able to see things clearly, would come to understand that by attacking vaping he is only helping Big Tobacco.
Dr. Michael Siegel Calls Out DHSS Alaska
Negative ecig studies are a sure headline grabber. Dr. Siegel exposed the flaws in the study and called out the total irresponsibility of the headline. People will read this stuff and think that vaping is just as bad as smoking. They will use it as a license to keep putting themselves in harms way and continue to smoke cigarettes. These studies need to be called out by all of us. There are lives at stake.
When the experts and people charged with looking out for public health repeat false data or say outlandish things, it is irresponsible and harmful. Right now in Alaska, health officials are arguing that vaping is just as bad if not worse than smoking. A group called Clear The Air Alaska has formed in an effort to contest the gross misinformation.
DHSS Alaska commissioner Valerie Davidson and Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jay Butler have not only attacked vaping they have inferred that ecigs are worse than cigarettes. Imagine you are a smoker and you hear that. You are probably not going to bother trying to quit. Imagine you are a young person curious about smoking. You hear that ecigs are worse than tobacco so you start smoking cigarettes. DHSS Alaska is spreading an irresponsible message.
When officials were challenged regarding their statements claiming ecigs are worse than cigarettes, rather than retracting they basically repeated their original claims! Dr. Butler believes that because ecigs are hipper and new, kids are more attracted to them so they are more dangerous than cigarettes. Whhaaat! Yep, he said it. Commissioner Davidson said that kids need to know that ecigs are maybe more dangerous than cigarettes or chewing tobacco.
Dr. Siegel in a scathing post wrote “The Alaska state health department is actually waging a continuing campaign of lies and deception about electronic cigarettes that is damaging to the public’s health and highly irresponsible. And rather than correcting its false statements, the department is trying to defend those statements, and in the process is embellishing those lies even further, to the point where the Alaska health department is actually telling kids that smoking is a less risky option than experimenting with tobacco-free, non-combusted vaping products.”
These two cases are just two samples where Siegel has stood up to misinformation and dissected flawed arguments exposing the underlying deception. Dr. Michael Siegel should be applauded for his work to protect us from the harms of tobacco.
I wanted to write this today as a tribute to someone doing amazing work fighting to share the truth about ecigs and vaping. We still have millions of smokers in this country and perhaps a billion worldwide. We have a lot of work to do to reduce tobacco harm and shoddy studies that are designed to deceive only serve to put smoker’s lives in harms way. So, thank you Dr. Siegel for the work that you are doing.