September 28th, 2014

The Bullshit Asymmetry Principle applied

bullshit asymmety principle

The Bullshit Asymmetry Principle

There are three problems increasingly evident in ‘tobacco control’ science when it comes to tobacco harm reduction:

  1. Contrived and phoney research designed to support pre-existing policy preferences (see previous post).
  2. Spin by scientists and activists designed to create some sort of moral panic or adverse change in risk perception out of absolutely nothing.
  3. The exhaustion of rational, fair-minded and ethical actors arising from Brandolini’s law: the bullshit asymmetry principle – see his seminal tweet.

All three drain the energy and time of real scientists, consumers and legitimate public health advocates. They distort regulatory and legislative decisions and create false perceptions of risk in the media and general public. All are evident in the following study:

Goniewicz ML, Lee L.  Electronic Cigarettes Are a Source of Thirdhand Exposure to Nicotine Nicotine and Tobacco Research 2014.

Firstly, the study purports to show that ‘electronic cigarettes are a source of thirdhand exposure to nicotine’.  It does nothing of the sort. It measures deposition of nicotine on inanimate surfaces, not uptake and exposure in the human body.  It seems designed to create (by which I mean ‘fabricate’) a new category of risk arising from e-cigarette use which will help to make the case for vaping bans indoors.

Secondly, a whoop of joy from the activist academic Professor Stanton Glantz… who repeats the title, Electronic Cigarettes Are a Source of Thirdhand Exposure to Nicotine on his blog, and then says that “the title says it all”, before reproducing the abstract.

Thirdly, it will persist in the literature for all time and require refutation over and over again. It’s already taken some of my Sunday.

I left a comment on Professor Glantz’ blog, but he tends not to publish anything that disagrees with him or his campaign. So here it is…

Actually the title does not ‘say it all’.  It actually says nothing useful at all, and it is misleading and irrelevant. This experiment did not measure ‘exposure’ but ‘deposition’ on surfaces in a chamber. For there to be ‘exposure’, a pathway between the inanimate surface and the blood or brain needs to be identified.  The main risk appears to be to people who lick windows – or ‘window-lickers’ as they are known on the Internet.  However, even these people, who have other problems and priorities, would have to lick the deposition from 38 square meters* of glass in this chamber to be exposed to 1mg of nicotine (47/6*1000/205). Obviously, in a full sized room, where the deposition density might be expected to be lower than in a chamber, the area required for window licking would be greater. What is the point of publicising and spinning this sort of research as if it somehow helps to articulate a meaningful risk? If it tells us anything at all, it is that this is irrelevant.

Obviously, the literal reference to window-lickers is to mock this experiment, its ridiculous title and the view of Professor Glantz that ‘this says it all’, when it says nothing useful and much deceptive.

Window Licker

Even window-lickers are in no danger

But it raises serious issues too. So I would like to make some additional comments for people who want to reflect more seriously on this.    First some suggestions for a revised abstract:

  • Title. A more accurate title would be: “Electronic cigarette vapour deposition poses no plausible risk of harmful exposures to anyone.
  • Method. A note on method might have clarified: “We have been unable to identify pathways from deposition on room surfaces to the human body that would lead to more than trivial exposure.”
  • Results. The results could have stated: “At the levels found, transfer of surface deposition to the body would require direct contact between permeable human membranes and very large areas of floor or window
  • Conclusion. A better conclusion would be “There is no further need to conduct studies of this nature or to purse the concept of  third hand exposures from vaping. To do so would be a waste of public or charitable funds.

Some further observations:

  • Is this good science? This is not good science or genuine open-minded inquiry.  Good science starts with a hypothesis (in this case it would be something like “that vapour deposition can be a risk to to health of non-vapers”) . The authors would explain why they believe this hypothesis is plausible, based on their understanding of science so far.  Then they would devise experiments that would allow them to reject the hypothesis. If the hypothesis survives multiple attempts to reject it through experiment, then the authors could gain in confidence and recommend further ideas for testing it.  There is no credible hypothesis advanced or justified; no attempt to design an experiment to test it; no reason for the findings to justify further experimentation.
  • Surely we are better off knowing about this than not? No. This is because there is an ‘opportunity cost’ of research – funds and time that cannot be spent on other more valuable things (like Goniewicz’ earlier work). The research community is wasting money when it could be conducting useful surveys into how people are using these products and what effect it is having on their smoking, health and well-being.
  • Nicotine as a harmful agent? The idea that nicotine is an important exposure is wrong, and a recent ‘innovation’ by people who oppose e-cigarettes.  It is only recently that 2nd hand and (absurdly) 3rd hand exposures have raised nicotine as a source of bystander risk. In the entire debate about 2nd hand tobacco smoke I don’t recall anyone making the case that nicotine was the problematic agent – the science at the time assumed it was whatever was causing harm to the smoker – i.e. not nicotine – but in lower concentrations.  This is coincidentally an argument that emerged at the same time as vaping.
  • If it isn’t good science what is it? I can only say what it looks like to me. As a set of measurements and reporting of results, I have no reason to think it is wrong. It is the reason it was done in the first place, the positioning and the interpretation that is at fault. At some level it looks like an effort to fabricate a novel risk from e-cigarettes – and invention rather than a discovery.
  • How will it be used? The fabricated elevation of a novel risk into a science journal will create further political pressure to ban vaping in public places, and may even add to pressure to ban in private rented accommodation. It looks designed to give some (pseudo) scientific back-up to activists – the enthusiasm of Professor Glantz is reason to believe that will be the effect, even if not the intent.  It will be used uncritically in state and city legislatures to build support for vaping bans.  The FDA will be asked to take it into account.
  • Who is behind it? I don’t know. It could be at the initiative of the authors within their own grants. It might be the idea of the institution (Roswell Park Cancer Institution) via its research funding committees. Perhaps it is the plan of a funder who wants to see this done and has paid researchers or the institution in a kind of mercenary arrangement.
  • Why was it published?  How exactly did the journal Nicotine and Tobacco Research conclude this contributes anything of value, and why were its obvious deficiencies, and especially its misleading title, not picked up at peer review or by the editorial team?  This sort of science is more likely to distort perceptions and understanding of tobacco harm reduction than to enlighten.

In a comment below we show that the first order estimate of  exposure to nicotine would be at least 20,000 times lower than wearing a patch for equivalent skin area …and remember, patches are not harmful.

* Shout out to Vinny Burgoo, who pointed out that my initial estimate of five square metres for 1mg exposure applied to that darker sub-cult, the ‘floor lickers’.  Deposition on windows is lower than on the floor and therefore a greater window area would need to be licked.

53 comments to The Bullshit Asymmetry Principle applied

  • Chris Price

    Since it qualifies as a dietary supplement and is apparently required by a percentage of the population, nicotine supplementation by window-licking could be seen as a useful hobby for those unwilling to take the shortcut of a pill or a vape. Comparisons with the health impact of smoking could be usefully investigated.

    Now we need research into curry deposition on nearby surfaces, to see if table-licking could be introduced as a therapy for those needing other nutritional supplements. My pal’s dog seems to think it beneficial.

  • Twiglet

    I don’t know where you find the energy to keep refuting this BS Clive, but I’m glad that you do. Studies like this are so obviously flawed that they actually create their own unintended purpose, in that you can use them to gauge the agenda of any particular commentator simply by his or her reaction to them. You’d think the authors would value their own credibility a little more highly, wouldn’t you.

    Btw, in their methodology did they happen to describe how they adjusted for the difference between vapour exhaled from a human and that emitted from a machine? I can’t be arsed to read it..

  • The process of elimination instead we have B.U.L.L. :poop:

  • Mark Magenis

    If you take into account the time it would take to lick a large enough area to absorb the total 1Mg being discussed, it would have already been partially excreted. So would it actually ever be possible to ever achieve a measurable concentration in the metabolic system.

  • Goniewicz released 100 puffs from each product _directly_ into an exposure chamber!

    DIRECTLY, without a human being – the “puffs” where not filtered through a lung!

    Fact: The most of the inhaled nicotine is retained (> or =98%) in the lung!

    and pages 290 to 302 of :

  • spinster

    While I once again applaud you for finding the time and energy to refute this BS I have to say I am diappointed with the way you have used the term ‘window-licker’ to illustrate your arguments. I understand why you used it and how it might seem appropriate in this case but I wonder if you are aware that lots of people with disabilities are deeply offended by the term? It’s up there with ‘retard’, ‘spastic’ and ‘mong’:

  • SteveW

    Although, spinster, it seems to be the one that least offends the disabled if you look at the breakdown of disabled vs non-disabled at the link you provided.
    Regardless of that, indeed, even if the breakdown had shown 95/5% rather than the other way around, censorship is never the answer.

    • spinster

      Yes, least offensive out of a list of the top ten offensive words, as chosen by a panel of people with disabilities* – whoop-de-do!

      Who’s suggesting censorship? I’m not, I’m just questioning the wisdom of Clive’s choice of language, especially as he is a well-respected and well-known public advocate. It’s not like he’s just some anonymous pillock on a forum somewhere!

      If Clive wants to carry on using the term that’s up to him, although I see he is also using it on Twitter so I doubt I’ll be the only person questioning it.

      Was the term being used in relation to arguments around third-hand smoke? I can’t remember – maybe I wasn’t paying much attention. I seem to remember things being discussed in terms of potential risk to crawling babies.

      *I also think those results will be a bit skewed because I doubt many people with profound learning disabilities (AKA ‘window lickers’) will have been involved in the voting.

      • Chris Price

        Looks as if the problem is that the term ‘window-lickers’ is US slang, and Clive being a Brit has never heard it.

        I doubt very much if he would use a disparaging term deliberately, that’s not his style at all.

      • To be honest I didn’t know it was used as a term of abuse related to people with learning difficulties. I’m more used to seeing it used to describe people saying stupid things to attract attention on the Internet – a bit like troll.

        I certainly didn’t intend any offence, and would never knowingly mock people with these conditions. It’s just that the term dramatises the absurdity of this study and it’s missing pathway quite well.


        • spinster

          Thanks Clive for your response, I never thought you were deliberately trying to cause offence. Most of us put our foot in it at some point, the thing to do is learn, apologise and move on IMHO.

          ‘I’m more used to seeing it used to describe people saying stupid things to attract attention on the Internet – a bit like troll’ I’d say it was more synonymous with ‘retard’ which is also used in that sort of context far too frequently :(

          I hate to be nit-picky, you’re doing a grand job and I frequently refer people to your blog when they have questions or criticisms of vaping. This is one post I won’t be able to refer people to because I know I’d just get back a lot of ‘windowlickers??!! WTF?!’ type responses and I wouldn’t blame them at all.

          I care about your reputation because –

          1) I think you’re bloody brilliant
          2) You’re one of the best advocates we have and as such your reputation kind of affects us all (so no pressure there then :D)

      • Irish Lass

        d’ya know what, spinster, I worry about people who take offence so easily. The people who lick windows as part of their disability are, per your emails, have severe learning difficulties. So how come you think they are likely to read blogs such as this? Many words in the English language are being “hijacked” by the fad for “political correctness”, so that we can no longer use them naturally any longer. Just because some people have decided to adopt them as their own. Get a grip, people out there – this is sheer nonsense!

        • Ben Palmer

          I fully agree with you. It’s rather calling people with a mental or physical disability window-lickers which is demeaning or degrading. Characterizing otherwise healthy people window-lickers is nothing more than describing their activity.

        • spinster

          Well aren’t you lovely Irish Lass :-) Do you also go round making rude hand gestures at blind people because after all, they can’t see you doing it, can they? The people we are discussing may not be reading this blog but what about their parents, their wider families, their friends? Do you not suppose they have enough crap to deal with, without the additional hurt of constant reminders that society sees their loved one as subhuman?

          Language such as this is not harmless, whoever the slur is aimed at. It dehumanises people with disabilities and helps foster an atmosphere where they are routinely discriminated against and where some people think it’s ok to do stuff like this.

          I’m so sorry that ‘political correctness gorn mad’ means that you can no longer use discriminatory language without some people thinking you’re a bit of a dick. That must be so hard for you. Seriously though, don’t let that stop you, fill your boots – carry on letting the world know what sort of person you are if it makes you happy.

          The issue here is that Clive Bates is not some anonymous online nobody, he’s one of the best spokespeople we’ve got. Like it or not, people in the public eye need to be more careful about the language they use than the rest of us. He’s listened to by people we can only dream of influencing and I don’t want the utter sense he speaks being discredited because of unwise use of language. If my post has made just a few people stop and think before they go and tweet ‘hur hur hur Clive Bates said windowlickers’ then it’s done some good.

          Oh, and Irish Lass, I never said there was any risk from third hand smoke to crawling babies, I said that as far as I remember, those were the terms in which it was debated.

        • Ben Palmer

          spinster, can we stop this silly off-topic exchange of word definitions.
          Window-licker is by no means a demeaning term but a combination of 2 word.
          In French is designates a person doing window shopping.
          In IT context it means a ‘framework for the test-driven development of Java systems through the GUI.’
          In urban slang it means a person who consumes LSD (“acid”) or other psychotropic drugs. From “windowpane”, a type of LSD.

          I any case, it is offensive and wrong to name a person who is mentally challenged due to a psychological defect a ‘window licker’. In the present case and context, the meaning unambiguous.

        • spinster

          this silly off-topic exchange of word definitions

          Uhm … the only silly word definitions I can see are the ones you’ve just posted. I’ve never heard of any of them – you must have worked really hard to dig those up! It amazes me the lengths some people will go to to defend their use of discriminatory language. We all know what the word means and for those in doubt, a quick google is enough to confirm that there’s pretty much a consensus.

          But yes, I’m happy to drop this, I’ve said all I want to say I think.

      • Irish Lass

        what risk to crawling babies? For a start, most parents don’t smoke in the house anyhow. If they did, the risk to crawling babies would be much greater from the actual smoke, surely? And is there any REAL risk to a baby from deposited nicotine? Does the same not apply to them as to adults, i.e. that their permeable membranes would have to be applied to the deposits over very substantial areas for there to be any appreciable exposure?
        Sorry, but I have turned into a real cynic about the supposed risks to kids that are trotted out with alarming frequency nowadays (think of the poor children!), and often without any real substance behind them, in order to justify depriving rational adults of their freedoms and pleasures in some sort of “holy” crusade against the latest perceived “evil”.

        • Chris Price

          “And is there any REAL risk to a baby from deposited nicotine?”

          We feed our babies nicotine in their mashed-up vegetables, of course. And it’s a very good thing too as it’s an active ingredient in the diet, similar in some ways to nicotinic acid (aka niacin or vitamin B3).

  • Cite: “In the entire debate about 2nd hand tobacco smoke I don’t recall anyone making the case that nicotine was the problematic agent”

    Because it isn’t!

    In indoor air, a low concentration of nicotine from tobacco smoke is about 1 μg per cubic meter. A person weighing 70 kg with a tidal volume of 4 ml per kilogram of body weight breathing 20 times per minute would exchange 5.6 liters of air per minute. If we assume that nicotine is completely absorbed from the lungs, it would take 179 minutes, or about 3 hours, of breathing in an environment with minimal smoke to absorb 1 μg of nicotine.

    That is close to nothing as the “Table 1” shows the amount of each vegetable by wet weight one would have to eat to obtain an amount of nicotine comparable to that of a passive smoker:

  • Dragonmum

    Whilst I appreciate your efforts on behalf of us floor-lickers and telly-tasters (I have omitted window-lickers since it may cause offence), I have to tell you that I am lost in admiration for Stan the Man. It is not often that a “scientist?” who has been proved to be an arsehole over and over again, has the sheer guts and determination to go on confirming the fact with such dogged persistence. How many of us would keep getting up like the proverbial “Aunt Sally” only to be swatted yet again by people who actually know whereof they speak? Give the man a lollipop and insert it where the sun never rises – he gets my cock of the year vote – this and any other year in fact.

    • Chris Price

      There’s a lot of money in it, that’s why.

      • Plus, in tobacco control circles, he is lauded as an intellectual, savant and visionary. They live in an entirely different dimension from the rest of us.

        • Chris Price

          He’s pharma’s pitbull, the strongest debater in the game. His great skill is that his lies are multi-dimensional and hard to counter in a debate.

          What seems to have happened is that he spoke out on tobacco control issues and GSK or whoever liked his style – and they propelled him forward. They arranged some certificates by post or in a cornflakes packet or whatever and bingo, he’s a qualified cardiologist, brain surgeon and nuclear physicist. It’s a lot easier when you have big friends. But all that is irrelevant, his value is his strength in argument – essentially unbeatable, due I think to the really excellent ways his lies are framed. I have a lot of respect for him as an opponent, he is very strong. Probably one of the most corrupt liars in the world, and very very good at what he does.

          Facts, science or evidence are all irrelevant in this game, it’s all about the money. No one knows that better than him, and that’s why he’s a winner. Others get hung up on evidence and other stuff that no one in power cares about. Regulators are bought and paid for, they just need some ‘research’ to hang their rules on; he provides that for them, and defends it very strongly.

          It’s pointless worrying about him as he’s a product of the system. An absolutely corrupt system needs absolutely corrupt spokespersons, and he is just fulfilling that role and no more. Without the system he wouldn’t exist. Worrying about the symptoms is a diversion, it’s the system that needs fixing. If you wade around in filth then you’re going to be tripping over giant cockroaches; the roaches aren’t the problem, the filth is.

    • Roger Hall

      He writes/comments on whatever he is told and paid to write. Unlike any proper science the outcome is predetermined e.g. 3rd hand nicotine dangers and Stan’s your man Glantz is the mercenary who is paid to fabricate a study or two to substantiate the required outcome. A barrage of PR then takes place to ensure that the “study” is widely published. The saddest aspect of this whole charade is that apart from a few notable exceptions the scientific community haven’t the balls to square up to SG as frankly he’s bringing the whole scientific community into disrepute.

    • Ben Palmer

      I wonder why the University insists on keeping Glantz on their payroll. He is discrediting the serious scientific work that is done (is there any?) at the University.

      • Chris Price

        Pharma owns universities. They provide funds on an ever increasing scale until one day they own the uni – just like the dealer owns the heroin addict. It’s exactly the same.

        One day pharma needs some fraudulent research cooked up and promoted by their man, who has a position at the uni by now. The dean says, “We can’t do that!”. Pharma says, “OK, then we can’t pay you the $4 million a year, in that case”.

        Unis need funds like a junkie needs dope. Neither can live without it, and any cost is just fine by them. They’ll do whatever it takes.

        • Bill Godshall

          To my knowledge, Stan Glantz has not received any funding from drug companies during the past 28 years that I’ve known him.

          Rather, Glantz has primarily relied upon US and California taxpayers for most of his funding, and he received several million dollars from Legacy a decade ago.

          Although Big Pharma has funded CTFK, ACS, AHA, ALA, AAP, Pinney Associates and the rest of the FDA regulated and taxpayer/insurer subsidized smoking cessation cabal to lobby for most of the campaigns to ban the manufacture, marketing and use of e-cigarettes, most of the junk science (and resulting propaganda) on e-cigs (and smokeless tobacco) has been funded by NCI and other government agencies.

          And of course, the CDC has funded state and local health officials and agencies in the US to lobby for vaping bans, and other unwarranted e-cig restrictions.

        • Chris Price

          Bill, I believe that pharma funds universities. One point of view is that a proportion of such funds is given on the understanding that they are applied to certain objectives. On the other hand, it could be that these payments are made for entirely charitable reasons alone, in the single example of such altruism by the world’s largest-scale criminals*. If so I applaud them. However greenwashing seems a more likely explanation, given the circumstances.

          * In strictly legal terms: according to the size, number of and dispersion across the industry of fines paid each of greater than 1 billion dollars (most commonly for criminal fraud and criminal corruption), the pharmaceutical industry are the world’s largest-scale criminals. (Just to ensure that no one accuses me of hyperbole, or libel…)

  • […] There three problems increasingly evident in 'tobacco control' science when it comes to tobacco harm reduction: Contrived and phoney research designed to support pre-existing policy preferences (se…  […]

  • John

    Is there any evidence that occasional skin exposures to very small amounts of nicotine poses any risk to anybody?
    And as nicotine breaks down in air and light quickly the odds against it building up on surfaces must be about zero.
    Junk science to a tee.

    • Ben Palmer

      The principle of NRT-patches (Nicorette) is based on nicotine diffusing through the skin. Approved by health authorities in all countries.

      • John

        Ben would imagine that anybody who spent that much time tubing themselves on the walls and floors of a public room would be arrested or sectioned as insane :-)

      • Clive Bates

        Ben of course you are right – anyone can buy a patch and put it on if they want. But let’s take this a little further in to quantitative territory:…

        The Nicorette Invsi patch has 25mg nicotine contained in 22.5 sq cm surface (see SPC). So that is a nicotine surface density of 1.1 mg/sq cm (=25/22.5).

        Now let us consider the findings of this study: they found deposition of maximum of 550 μg/sq m. A square metre contains 10,000 square centimetres, so the surface density is 55 nano-grams per sq cm. (a nano-gram is 1/1,000,000,000 grams).

        The difference in nicotine density between a patch and the maximum found on this fume cupboard floor is therefore a factor of 20,000. Quite a lot then! And it suggests the nicotine availability via this route is trivial.

        Of course a patch is worn for 16 hours a day, perhaps for 3 months. To do a thorough job it is also necessary to compare the exposure duration (1,460 hours for 3 months at 16 hours per day) with the level of exposure of human membranes to walls and floors. It’s hard to see the circumstances in which people would have bare flesh in direct contact with a ‘heavily’ nicotine-contaminated surface for any significant time. We could do further calculations of contact time (say 20 mins/day), and show that walls create about 1 million times lower exposure. However, there is little point in doing the work because:

        + The exposure will be 4-6 orders of magnitude lower than wearing a patch – and therefore trivial
        + Wearing a patch isn’t dangerous anyway
        + This is how the Bullshit Asymmetry Principle works – it wastes your time

        So I think public health spinners who want to push this story need to do a little more ‘quant’ before rushing to denounce vapour.

        • john

          BTW was this test done in a space where there was a ‘reasonable amount of air circulation/recharge, or was it done in a sealed space?
          And i presume the surfaces of this test room were all easy to swipe non absorbent- in a real room much would be absorbed into the deeper layers of the carpets and soft furnishings.

        • Ben Palmer

          Clive, thanks for your enlightening computation. I suspected that exposure would be quantitatively insignificant without going thru the details; you have confirmed it. Shouldn’t we expect a mechanical engineer turned cardiologist or any “scientist” capable of running such a study to also be able to put the results into the proper perspective.

        • Clive Bates

          Hi Ben – of course anyone with any feeling for how stuff works, could see this would be orders of magnitude lower than any plausible material effect. But in public health propaganda they have a habit of turning the tiniest immaterial risk into the big story. The numbers are really there to mock their innumeracy and grasp of reality, rather than to inform people who have a normal functioning ability to perceive risk.

  • Adam Williams

    In any other part of society, obtaining funds (Glantz 4 Grants ltd) in such a manner as SG would be an imprisonable offence.
    Who knows, one day he could be brought to account for involuntary manslaughter (Smokers thats would have quit but for taking note of his BS)
    Is it not time that scientists brought him to book and hung him out to dry?
    “Glantz 4 Grants ltd” A new tag?

    • Clive Bates

      One of the frustrating thing about this field is the academics don’t, as a rule, put up a fight and seem to have no stake in the quality of the intellectual culture in their chosen field. I think it is because they united to fight the tobacco industry often tacitly colluding in poor research if it furthered some policy objective they hoped would further restrict smoking. That’s a habit they need to break – especially with the rise of harm reduction.


      • John

        There is nothing like the combination of good cause and authority,to bring out ‘loose morals’.
        These days almost any report that is trying to spin and gain a headline begins with’X May be as bad as smoking’, no ?

  • Jonathan Bagley

    The problem is that strictly speaking it’s true. Somewhere in the world there will be someone furiously licking windows who has ingested a few molecule of nicotine more than if a vaper hadn’t previously been in the room. And Joe Public generally can’t deal with numbers or orders of magnitude.

  • Phil Day

    Another problem is the scientific convention which frowns on scientists calling each other liars in public. Real scientists adhere to this but SG is more politician (and social engineer) than scientist so he takes advantage of that to further his own agenda. Unfortunately, laymen challenging hlm lack credibility and those few people who have credibility and are prepared to challenge him (like yourself) are seldom reported in the press where it would make a difference. Bullshit asymetry principle in operation.

  • Doug Neaves

    As nicotine is an insecticide, a simple test for nicotine contamination on horizontal surfaces’ would be to test any adverse affect on an insect.
    To this end, I propose the use of a cockroach.
    If the cockroach lives, harmful levels of nicotine are not present. If the cockroach dies, without any obvious evidence of being squashed by over eager researchers, harmful levels of nicotine will be shown to be present. I believe this test to be just as copulation eventing valid-ish as the aforementioned study.

    The result would in tale environmental health officers to carry a cockroach in a matchbox. The cockroach is then placed on a flat surface and covered with a bell jar, if cockroaches’ are any other insects are present either singularly or as an infestation this is an extremely good indicator that nicotine isn’t present and therefore, the bell jar test is unnecessary, and the establishment can receive a clean bill of health!

  • RobW

    I see Stan has published your comment and replied, he infers that 3rd hand nicotine would be a risk to infants and toddlers though hand to mouth action.

    Will no one think of the children !!

    • john

      Have not seen many toddlers rubbing their hands over meters of floors and walls and then liking those same hands, have you.
      Des anybody have figures for how quickly nicotine breaks down at, 20C in air and light?

      “Where men are the most sure and arrogant, they are commonly the most mistaken, and have there given reins to passion, without that proper deliberation and suspense, which can alone secure them from the grossest absurdities”

  • Tony

    The test design seems to have a fundamental flaw. As ecigs do not continuously produce vapour, and any that they do produce is inhaled, a percentage of that nicotine is absorbed into the body.

    What figures did they use for the percentage that would be absorbed before exhalation? Did they calculate the correct concentration to introduce into the test environment? Did this reflect real world usage?

  • […] There are three problems increasingly evident in 'tobacco control' science when it comes to tobacco harm reduction: Contrived and phoney research designed to support pre-existing policy preferences…  […]

  • Mark B.

    Your question:

    “How exactly did the journal Nicotine and Tobacco Research conclude this contributes anything of value, and why were its obvious deficiencies, and especially its misleading title, not picked up at peer review or by the editorial team?”

    The REAL answer:


    — Mark B.

  • Pedaldog

    Anybody want to contribute to a fund for setting Glantz up as an actual subject in these tests? He cold lick floors and windows in so many different situations and we’d see if it KILLED HIM TO DETH or not. I’ll throw a couple $ into the poy.

  • […] Ecigarettes As well as The Bullshit Assymmetry Concept. Commenting on an instead fascinating research study announcing ecigarettes as a source of ‘thirdhand’ direct exposure to nicotine (and also a rather small source at that), Clive Bates uses the ‘Bullshit Assymetry Concept’. Clive Bates has actually previously collaborated with ASH– Action on Smoking as well as Wellness. Released September 2014. […]

  • […] Ecigarettes And The Bullshit Assymmetry Principle Commenting on a rather interesting study proclaiming ecigarettes as a source of ‘thirdhand’ exposure to nicotine (and a rather minor source at that), Clive Bates applies the ‘Bullshit Assymetry Principle’. Clive Bates has previously worked with ASH – Action on Smoking and Health. Published September 2014. […]

  • […] of how one-sided and scientifically bankrupt the views of a zealot can be.  Carl Phillips, Clive Bates, Michael Siegel, and Brad Rodu, told me that the same thing has been happening for a very long […]

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