Friday, 30 July 2010

The root of all evil

When I wrote the last post about the public health cash torrent shifting from tobacco to obesity, I hadn't spotted that Carl V. Phillips had already written a much better piece about it at the Ep-ology blog.

It is pretty clear that this “controversy” has been engineered by those worried about losing their unending supply of anti-tobacco funding, taking advantage of their current power and influence, including with the press, to defend their empire against anyone with another priority. 

In the same article, Stanton Glantz is quoted, “Given that tobacco kills four times as many people as obesity does, why is the government putting more money into obesity?” Since he seems to be believe that passing exposure to second hand smoke causes 1/3 of all heart attacks, I can only assume that he actually thinks that is a valid argument. But sadly, most others seem to miss the point also: What matters is the marginal effect of additional spending.

Meanwhile, as Smokles reports, the aforementioned mechanical engineer, cardiologist and all-round Renaissance man Stanton Glantz has popped up in Tobacco Control claiming that shifting smokers towards tobacco products which are 99%-100% less harmful will not result in less harm.

Promoting smokeless tobacco as a safer alternative to cigarettes is unlikely to result in substantial health benefits at a population level.

A slight improvement on the conclusion given when Glantz presented the same study to a conference last year:

Promoting smokeless tobacco as a safer alternative to cigarettes will not result in a reduction of harm and may lead to an increase in harm at the population level.

I don't have the full study to hand so I can't say whether it was paid for by organisations which have a stake in promoting pharmaceutical nicotine.

Whoever it was, I'm sure their motives were pure...


Leg-iron said...

Is Standup Glans still going? I thought he might have sagged a bit by now. He has been far to stiff on his petty game for far too long.

I blame viagra, you know. Well, it can't be anything to do with the brain end of the man. That part has been undisturbed for decades.

Standup Glans isn't just controlled by his genitals. It's only the dick that speaks.

Anonymous said...

Pardon me for being stupid here, but if smokeless tobacco can cause more harm doesn't that suggest that smoke is not causing the harm in the first place?

Mr A said...

Surely there is some mechanism in the Scientific community for dealing with people like Glantz?

In the real world, lying for money is called fraud.

DaveA said...

I do not smoke cannabis and therefore have no vested interests but this paper here should shame all health nannies and Puritans. It is a peer reviewed paper which suggests cannabis inhibits the growth of cancer tumours, including lung. Apparently there is a paper from 1975 which also confirms the hypothesis. Why these papers have not been acted upon by the medical authorities with more research and trials is a disgrace. Being cured of cancer and enjoying yourself at the same time can't be allowed I guess.

bigmick said...

"Promoting smokeless tobacco as a safer alternative to cigarettes is unlikely to result in substantial health benefits at a population level."

This statement is a direct plea to the new US FDA tobacco laws. To promote Reduced Harm products as such the law requires proof of "population level" health benefits. I can say snus is 99% less harmful than cigs. Swedish Match cannot.