Wednesday, 5 March 2014

"Expert"? Or Liar?

There has been a bit of debate recently about whether Martin McKee can legitimately describe himself as an expert on e-cigs.

Snowdon and Gluggles both believe not, whereas the far left 'public health' community are hanging their hat on him.

So, an interesting test would be last night's BBC Newsnight where McKee was pitted against Matt Ridley on the subject (from around 38 mins here).

One of the many dubious claims he made was this one.

Now, this rise in the use of e-cigs amongst American youths has been much-trumpeted before by anti-smoking luddites, but they previously did so by omitting part of the story as Jacob Sullum described in November (emphasis mine).
Last September the CDC noted with alarm that the percentage of teenagers who had tried electronic cigarettes doubled between 2011 and 2012. "Many teens who start with e-cigarettes may be condemned to struggling with a lifelong addiction to nicotine and conventional cigarettes," CDC Director Tom Frieden worried. In a Medscape interview a few weeks later, Frieden suggested that fear had already materialized, asserting that "many kids are starting out with e-cigarettes and then going on to smoke conventional cigarettes." Yet the CDC's data, which came from the 2012 National Youth Tobacco Survey (NYTS), did not support that claim. In fact, nine out of 10 high school students who reported vaping in the previous month were already cigarette smokers, suggesting that the increase in e-cigarette consumption might signal successful harm reduction. Last week the CDC reported additional NYTS data that further undermine Frieden's claim, showing that smoking among teenagers fell as vaping rose
Between 2011 and 2012, when the share of middle school students who reported using e-cigarette in the previous month rose from 0.6 percent to 1.1 percent, the share reporting past-month consumption of conventional cigarettes fell from 4.3 percent to 3.5 percent. Among high school students, past-month e-cigarette use rose from 1.5 percent to 2.8 percent, while past-month consumption of tobacco cigarettes fell from 15.8 percent to 14 percent. Although these trends do not necessarily mean e-cigarettes are responsible for the decline in smoking, the numbers hardly seem consistent with the story Frieden is eager to tell: that the availability of e-cigarettes is leading to more smoking than would otherwise occur.
You see, it's clear that while these students may be using e-cigs more, it is undeniable that their use of tobacco is declining at the same time and at a faster rate.

You could possibly argue that Frieden in the US was unaware of the true situation owing to the later timing of the CDC announcement on tobacco use compared with that of e-cig use. However, McKee can't use that excuse as all the facts and figures were at his disposal months before last night.

So when he said "use of these products by 12 to 15 year olds is going up, whereas there has been no compensatory fall in the use of real cigarettes" he was provably wrong and effectively spreading misinformation on the BBC.

Under the circumstances, then, we have to ask ourselves a question. Is McKee lying here? Or is he quite simply not very much of an 'expert'? You decide.

Either way, it doesn't look good, does it?


Mark Davis said...

From my recollection he was also asked about the thousands that will likely die as a consequence of the EU decision. He dealt with that like a politician. He replied to the effect that this was not the question. Sums him up rather nicely.

Golf Kahn said...

He **should** be made to answer that question Dick. What media will have the integrity to demand an answer from him?

nisakiman said...

Either way, it doesn't look good, does it?

Either way, it doesn't make any difference.

His word will be taken as gospel, and the lie will be perpetuated by the anti-tobacco (and anti e-cig) lobby and doubtless the BBC. Nobody will give the lie to what he has said, so it will become the truth.

You know as well as I do, DP, that that's how it works. We've seen it too many times before.

Dick_Puddlecote said...

Not the BBC, obviously.

Dick_Puddlecote said...

He doesn't like questions which mean he has to depart from fantasy.

Dick_Puddlecote said...

It worked before because it was allowed to gain momentum, but this time every piece of nonsense is being nailed as it arises. For now, McKee is a figure of fun, but the future may hopefully see him being sued and wouldn't that be fun? :)

nisakiman said...

I sincerely hope you're right DP. I would love to be proved wrong on this, but I'm not holding my breath.

You may have nailed him, and the movers and shakers in the vaping world may have nailed him, but are the MSM listening? Because if they're not, then he will continue to get away with murder. And be believed.

Dick_Puddlecote said...

They will have to in time. The lies are catching up with tobacco control and they're confused.

What the.... said...

“Go-Lites, a leading supplier of e-cigarettes and e-liquids, is urging employers all over the country to take the lead in stamping out smoking, for the good of their own companies, by introducing their employees to healthy alternatives. In the UK, a staggering one million work days are lost each year due to tobacco related conditions, causing a huge preventable loss for businesses. Companies who hire smokers also have to worry about long term sickness and lost productivity on regular breaks for workers to get their nicotine fix. In light of these statistics, Go-Lites are appealing to employers to take the lead in promoting a smoke-free workforce.”

And there’s more….

Dick_Puddlecote said...

Seen it already and shared.

Ivan_Denisovich said...

McKee has never published anything of any academic merit at all but is somehow a Professor and was awarded a CBE for no particular reason A lot of that kind of thing went on in the latter years of Blair's reign.

Whether or not McKee actually lies or is simply too stupid and entrenched in his own narrow ideology to understand the subject material is a moot point but he does very nicely out of the EU tax payer, holding down a position in a university that would be better filled by almost anyone else and junketing around the world apparently doing something or other for the WHO.

He is an expert in nothing. Just another unethical failed medic who found a way of making a living at our expense. I really do wish that I could find something nice to say about him but he has no saving graces. He tweets a lot for someone allegedly busy saving us from ourselves as does Gabriel Scally, another failed medic and arch socialists who screwed us for over 200K a year to run public health south west.

Anto said...

I count at least three chins on the Dame.

truckerlyn said...

"In the UK, a staggering one million work days are lost each year due to tobacco related conditions, causing a huge preventable loss for businesses. Companies who hire smokers also have to worry about long term sickness and lost productivity on regular breaks for workers to get their nicotine fix."

When I worked in offices it was interesting to note that it was hardly ever smokers who were off sick, but many non smokers seemed to be off, some on quite a regular basis.

It was also noted that although smokers would take the odd 5 minutes to pop out for a cig, their work production was greater and better. In my opinion that is because their concentration was better for the fact that they had popped out for a cig.

To deny this to a smoker is likely to cause loss of concentration and motivation. After all, when someone is denied something, they want it all the more!

Lollylulubes said...

McKee is a media whore. I wish @DoctorChristian Jessen could persuade Channel 4 to make an hour long programme on ecigs. The doc's got balls, would happily challenge and very efficiently shoot McKee's arguments down in flames. The doc has a large target audience, the public needs the facts and a good mainstream TV programme is what we need to get our story out, with the real science, the experts, the constantly evolving innovative devices and the reasons why millions are being sold out by the TPD. It would also generate questions about other topics.

I've constantly found perception to be very poor, many have heard of ecigs but don't know much, if anything, about them. Last week I was asked by a 20 a day smoker "Is that one of those electronic things?" I told him about them, let him try them, (he loved my DIY Gingerbread Brulee and my Banana Toffee Custard), showed him a few websites and within minutes, he was so excited he couldn't wait to get to our local
B&M store and spend the evening researching. He sent me a text to say he hasn't needed a cigarette since he started vaping and he's "loving it". Imagine what a well made TV programme could accomplish by educating and answering McKee style misinformation fears.