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There is a research letter that was published today in Tobacco Control. CNN did a story about it, which is now running on every local news station in America. After seeing a few of these stories, I read the paper. And I have some things to say.
First of all. No one knows what they're reporting on. This isn't like journalists not reading past an abstract or press release. They literally don't have a clue what the study is about. Not even a vague idea.
And apparently every newsroom's solution to this problem was to guess.
The study is by Robert Jackler a Stanford doctor who, by serendipity, managed to translate a compulsion to hoard tobacco marketing memorabilia into some sort of folk hero status in the anti-smoking movement.
Jackler is an expert in cutting around people's salivary glands or something. But in tobacco research land, he fancies himself a historian who conducts cutting edge data science on Wednesdays. (On full moon dates, he dabbles in cultural sociology and communications studies.)
This is the definition of junk scientist, but he's tolerated, even indulged by many in tobacco control. Jackler also hates vaping. HATES it.
And every now & then he succeeds in placing an impenetrable piece of angry nonsense on evil ecig companies in the field's flagship journal.
Traditionally, his dumpster fire articles are not publicized. Probably cos the same people who find him useful are keenly aware that if a serious researcher reads one of his studies they'll question what the fuck it is doing in an academic journal.
Which brings me to the one that was just published and didn't fly under the radar at all and that no one bothered to look at, or looked at and couldn't make any sense of. Here is what the abstract says the study looked at:
This research objective is stupid. JUUL's market share (which is grossly exaggerated) is a recent phenomenon, nic content is not. One of them precedes the release of products arbitrarily classified here JUUL-alikes. (Though you wouldn't know because they don't report dates)
Also that obviously assumes the effect that they don't have any evidence for (aside from copying shit from JUUL's patent lawsuits). But I digress. How do they plan to study the nonsense statement they made? Googling stuff.
All of Jackler's ecig research is him gawking at stuff he digs up online that grosses him out, or gets him off, or both. And taking screen shots. For his "studies," for his Angelfire website. Which I encourage everyone to go see - but not all at once, you'll crash the server.
So yeah, as I said, they set themselves up with an objective that makes no sense, but that doesn't matter because they're just putting words into a search engine anyway and cobbling it together into something that sort of looks like academic work, if you don't look too close.
And they don't really stick to their question, as Jackler's team never really does (except in this paper about Unicorns which was unusually focused). tobaccocontrol.bmj.com/content/26/4/4…
The paper is all over the place and I'm not going to critique it - I can't, it's just too crazy and I mostly needed to blow off some steam. But I did at least want to show what it is actually about (which is not any of the things that the news is saying)
Here's what they did: they googled salt nicotine, wrote down some product names and the nic content, and performed back of the envelope calculations about how many cigarette packs a bottle equals which illustrates that they are fundamentally ignorant about all of this.
So it's not a gateway study.... and also they don't show any evidence - at all - that any of these products are a response to JUUL (I mean some of them are - but Jackler doesn't know which ones or how or in what way or what it means or when it happened or why).
There might be more detailed information about the companies and products they claim to be talking about besides the colour of their bottle and the nicotine content in a "master database" they claim to have provided with the paper, but that link is to this PDF:
Oh - the other thing they found is that e-liquid companies report nicotine content differently than JUUL, which confuses them, therefore they've concluded that this confuses consumers, so it needs to stop. (They didn't measure any nic concentration - that heading is misleading)
They theorize JUUL's absorption rate at one point, "from company data" which appears to mean an answer on their FAQ page that has since been removed (the pod-pack comparison)
Um. Oh, they describe a 24 year old woman who committed suicide by intentionally ingesting e-liquid (the case report for her death is reference 19) as "children."
This is following an extremely weird theoretical exercise, in which they work out how many e-liquids you need to kill 25 toddlers.
And obviously the entire article is heavy on gummy bears and stuff.
Oh and anyone who doesn't agree with his epic bullshit that makes no sense is an industry shill. Or a mindless dope.
Anyway. This all just set me off today. Sorry I was mean, I usually try not to to be mean. And there are good people working in tobacco control & a lot of them do good work. Maybe Jackler means well. But he's acting bad. It bothers me.

And this was cathartic. Night everyone.
here's the paper. https://tobaccocontrol-bmj-com/content/early/2019/01/31/tobaccocontrol-2018-054796.abstract
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