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‘Personal blogs impugn the objectivity’ of e-cig research, says Tobacco Control Journal

Posted by Matt Rowland on

The Tobacco Control Journal (TCJ), well-known for its many published articles of the anti-vaping genre, is apparently following in the footsteps of our new President.  While Donald Trump has consistently blasted the mainstream media as proponents of fake news, the TCJ has recently announced that its editorial staff will only respond to questions about their published content via the website itself.

All discussions of journal publications outside of the TJC website are deemed illegitimate and inappropriate because “personal blogs impugn the objectivity” of their scientific research on vaping and e-cigs.

That’s right.  The Tobacco Control Journal is taking aim at what appears to be the entire scientific community – or at least anyone who dares to read their material and debate its conclusions on a blog or website thither than TJC.  According to a recent editorial, the organization will no longer be taking questions about its research via social media either.  If anyone has a complaint, then they must contact the related authors directly through the website.

“Recent comments posted on some personal blogs impugn the objectivity of Tobacco Control and its reviewers, questioning our motives and the veracity of peer review…”
“It is not the place of journal editors to defend the detailed content of research articles that are published in the journal, since this reflects the work of the relevant authors. Ultimately, the author is the guarantor of his or her work and is entitled to be aware of and respond to critiques of that work, particularly when those critiques question accuracy or scientific integrity...”
“As a result of discussion about these issues, the Tobacco Control editorial team has now established a policy that editors will not respond to external blog posts or social media messages about specific studies.”

What caused the uproar at the Tobacco Control Journal?

The editorial does not identify the specific reason for the sudden change in procedure, but Dr. Michel Siegel from the Boston University School of Public Health has his suspicions.

“The editorial does not specify exactly what irked the journal so much that it boldly went where no journal has gone before and declared that any discussion of its articles outside of its own purview is illegitimate. However, I think it's quite clear that what irked the journal was criticism on several blogs - including my own - of an article that concluded vaping is a gateway to youth smoking based on a sample of 4 nonsmoking youth who experimented with e-cigarettes and then went on to try one or two cigarettes.”

No one likes to admit that they made a mistake, not Donald Trump, not pro-vaping advocates, and apparently not the Tobacco Control Journal.  But making mistakes is part of the scientific process.  How else can the scientific community make leaps and bounds in medical technology if its conclusions are not open for public debate?  Impugning of any objectivity aside, this “personal blog” will continue to call out any identifiable errors in TJC research techniques, suppositions, or alleged conclusions. 

(Related Article:  NEW STUDY DISCREDITS CDC CLAIMS OF VAPING AS GATEWAY TO TEEN SMOKING)

(Related Article:  ANNALS OF INTERNAL MEDICINE CONFIRMS HEALTH BENEFITS OF VAPING)

 


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