Tobacco harm reduction expert debunks study claiming vaping causes heart attacks
Notorious vaping hater Stanton Glantz is at it again, peddling misinformation about vaping while intentionally trying to scare the bejeezus out of the American people. Luckily, the vaping community has medical experts like Dr. Carl V. Phillips who regularly and consistently debunk these types of outlandish claims.
From accusations that vaping causes popcorn lung to false allegations that e-cig vapor is laced with deadly levels of formaldehyde, scientists like Phillips are experts at picking these kinds of studies apart. In almost every case, the co-authors of these bogus papers are found to engage in poor or intentionally manipulated scientific practices that effectively negate the study’s related findings entirely.
Such is the case with the Glantz-endorsed paper A cross sectional study reveals an association between electronic cigarette use and myocardial infarction published on the George Washington University (GWS) website. The publication has not yet appeared in a peer-reviewed journal, but it’s only a matter of time. Meanwhile, peer review or not, the study seems to have gone viral across social media in a matter of days.
Carl. J. Philips finds flaws in Glantz vaping study
According to the paper, the chances of having a heart attack increase by 42 percent among people who vape. The document further clarifies that this 42 percent is “on top of the increases in risk due to any smoking that the e-cigarette users are doing.” Essentially, the co-authors are claiming that dual use of smoking and vaping is substantially more dangerous than just smoking by itself, which is completely absurd.
As a result, people reading this report - and the many news outlets which published it - will now be under the mistaken impression that smoking is actually healthier than vaping. That’s not exactly what Glantz is saying, but the implication is clear.
Phillips takes issue with the study from nearly start to finish. According to Phillips, the researchers merely documented the comparable medical histories regarding myocardial infarctions (MIs) of smokers versus vapers. In an article published in the Daily Vaper, he points out many of the study’s flaws.
- Nowhere in the report do the researchers identify when the MIs took place. Did they occur before, during, or after the engagement of dual use vaping? Phillips believes that most of the MIs probably took place while the respondent was heavily engaged in daily smoking rather than vaping.
- A smoker who has already had at least one MI is also far more likely to take up vaping as a possible smoking cessation tool. These statistics are also not mentioned in the report, which may or may not cloud the related findings.
- The study also fails to document how much each of the respondents currently smokes or used to smoke on a daily basis. Not all smokers smoke the same amounts or even the same cigarettes, for that matter. None of this discretionary data is included in the document.
Well before highlighting the multiple errors in scientific procedure pertaining to the GWS study, Philips also points out that the Glantz-endorsed paper was probably not even written by Glantz himself. In fact, the document was likely the result of a student exercise, and the students-in-question were not even from Glantz’s classroom.
“A year-old fatally-flawed student project, which has been misinterpreted as showing vaping causes heart attack risk, has recently been resurrected by — who else? — Stanton Glantz. It was originally presented as a research day poster (a standard exercise to teach students how to go through the motions of doing and presenting research) by students not affiliated with Glantz. Somehow he cajoled, bribed or otherwise arranged to have himself named as an author of their work and recently presented a new version in a poster at the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco conference.The problem is that there is no possible way the data they used can be used to estimate risks from vaping due to the unmeasured confounding effects of smoking.”
This is not the first time that the vaping community has fallen victim to fundamentally flawed research published by pay-for-play, so-called “scientists” who intentionally manipulate their experimental procedures to support a predefined, anti-vaping stance. But thanks to tobacco harm reduction experts like Carl V. Phillips, the record can be official set straight once and for all. Still, the damage may have already been done. After all, it’s always far more difficult to prove a negative than to verify a positive.