Scientists Shamelessly Twist Data in Attempt to Prove Ecigs Hinder Smoking Cessation
It seems that haters will stop at nothing to ruin the ecigarette industry. Ethical research has practically disappeared these days, especially when it comes to ecigs and how they impact your health. This week, we saw another example of bad science in a study published in the Swiss Medical Weekly. Researchers claimed to have proof that ecigs hinder smoking cessation and actually cause people to initiate new tobacco use. But there’s just one problem. Their “proof” is nothing more than twisted data that your second grade science teacher could debunk.
The researchers interviewed more than 5,000 20-year-old men from Switzerland to find out if the ecig users were able to kick the tobacco habit. Unfortunately, these researchers missed a few basic lessons in how to conduct a science experiment because they forgot an important step. At no point did the research team establish a baseline to find out which participants were smokers and which participants were ecig users.
Instead, they just picked a random group of young men and asked them one question that would give them all the answers they needed. This question is hidden in the fine print under the “methods” section of the research. “At follow-up, participants were asked whether they had used ECs in the previous 12 months.”
That is literally the only information they collected about ecigarette use. At no point did the researchers ask participants how often they used an ecig or how long they had been vaping as opposed to smoking. They never asked if participants were smokers first before they started using ecigs. They forgot to question participants about whether they were using ecigs in an effort to quit smoking. Instead, they just asked if they had used an ecig in the past year. And if the participant said yes, they were automatically assumed to be routine users.
In reality, a participant could have started smoking six months ago and then tried an ecig once on the day prior to the exit interview. Because this individual had tried an ecig once, the researchers determined that the ecig hindered smoking cessation and it was likely what caused him to smoke in the first place. But there is no evidence to support those claims.
This study is obviously a blatant effort to manufacture desired results through vague data collection. You could use the exact same data set to prove an opposite conclusion and state that ecig users are more likely to stop smoking. Just because a person smoked and used an ecig all within the same twelve-month period, it doesn’t prove that the ecig turned him into a smoker or hindered him from quitting.
What we see here is a prime example of how scientists strategically manipulate data and ask carefully chosen questions to insure they can reach a predetermined conclusion. This is not just poor research practice. It’s actually an embarrassment that discredits the entire scientific community. The next time you spot an ecig study with questionable outcomes, take time to dig a little deeper. Odds are good that you will find a similar situation where data was mined in a precise way to avoid coming up with the wrong conclusion.
Do you think these scientists should be held accountable for their lackluster methods? Should they be forced to retract their conclusions?