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Farsalinos demands retraction of Stanford ‘teen vaping causes COVID’ study

The obsession with teen vaping among politicians, government public health agencies, and now institutions of academia is growing more virulent with each passing week. In recent days, the publication of a so-called vaping study by researchers at Stanford University is drawing widespread attention and massive amounts of coverage by the mainstream media.

However, the “study” is not really a study at all.  The publication seems to be the alleged statistical findings of an online national survey where questions were asked of 13 to 24-year-olds about their associated histories with vapor products. The Stanford report is more of a poll than a study, but mainstream journalists seem unconcerned with the distinction. 

Related Article: Vaping expert Farsalinos blasts American Heart Association for ‘bizarre’ research

Vapers have probably already seen headlines in social media about claims that teenage vapers are five to seven times more likely to contract the coronavirus than non-vaping teens.  Yet, as far back as April, 2020, even WebMD acknowledged that smokers of conventional Big Tobacco products are hospitalized less frequently for COVID-19 than non-smokers.  And since vaping is 95 percent less harmful than smoking, according to Public Health England, Stanford’s math just doesn’t add up. 

The difference between ‘ever’ vaper and ‘current’ vaper

After reviewing the Stanford paper in detail, world-renowned cardiologist and tobacco control expert Dr. Konstantinos Farsalinos of the Onassis Cardiac Surgery Greece took to Twitter to lambast its co-authors.  (The below post comments have been grammatically corrected ever so slightly in a few locations.  Dr. Farsalinos is Greek, after all).)

“A new study, an online survey among U.S. citizens aged 13-24 years, suggests that vaping increases the risk for COVID-19. It has been all over the news globally…
 
“The study reports a ‘paradox,’ that ‘ever’ but NOT ‘current exclusive’ e-cigarette use was associated with COVID-19 diagnosis. This precludes e-cigarette use as being causally linked to COVID-19 diagnosis, otherwise ‘current use’ would have shown a stronger association than ‘ever use.’
 
“Furthermore, an unusually high proportion of participants report being tested for COVID-19. On May 14, the last date of the study survey, a total of 10 million diagnostic tests had been performed in the whole U.S. population. The study suggests that approximately 40% of the tests were performed in people aged 13-24 years, which seems substantially higher than expected.
 
“This raises doubts about the reliability of the self-reported data. The higher proportion of ‘ever’ e-cigarette users being tested would justify the higher odds for positive diagnosis, but still there is no pathophysiological basis or rationale that only ‘ever’ but not ‘current use’ predisposes to positive COVID-19 diagnosis.
  
 
“Finally, the findings are in disagreement with a large number of studies showing that smokers are less likely to be diagnosed or be hospitalized for COVID-19. A recent UK study of 8 million participants, with 19,000 of them being diagnosed with COVID-19, found that smokers were 50-60% less likely to be diagnosed with COVID-19 and 80-90% less likely to be admitted to the ICU for COVID-19, and these findings provide further support for the potential protective role of nicotine in COVID-19, a hypothesis that has been presented since early April.”
 

The Farsalinos tweet drew several shares and comments by pro-vapers and vaping haters alike. Even though the doctor felt as if he had proven his case adequately, the negative, attention-grabbing headlines about teen vaping and COVID still persist.   In an August 14 tweet posted a couple of days later, Dr. Farsalinos made his denunciations even more aggressive.  He called for an immediate retraction (see below).

Related Article:  New study suggests vaping CBD as possible treatment for COVID-19

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