Thursday 16 April 2015

Another Incompetent Chief Medical Officer

It would appear that the Welsh Chief Medical Officer, Ruth Hussey, is as incompetent as England's version when it comes to e-cigs.

From the BBC (complete with video):
E-cigarettes could normalise smoking among a generation which has grown up in a largely smoke-free society, according to the Welsh government's chief medical officer. 
Dr Ruth Hussey was responding to a Cardiff University study which found 6% of pupils aged under 11 said they had used e-cigarettes, compared to 2% who had tried tobacco. 
"This research demonstrates that e-cigarettes are being used by young people who have never smoked," she said.  
"We should be doing everything we can to prevent a new generation becoming addicted to nicotine," Dr Hussey added.
Really, Ruth? This is the information you are happy to spew out to our national broadcaster? Because I've read the study - it's here for anyone else interested - and it 'demonstrates' that Hussey is being economic with the truth.

It sampled 1,601 primary school kids and 9,055 secondary school students in Wales and found that a tiny 2.1% of the former had used an e-cig more than once ever, while only 1.5% of the latter used e-cigs more than once a month (125 of them). Of those, only a vanishing third of one per cent had never previously smoked. So, wouldn't her sentence have been more accurate if she had said.
"This research demonstrates that e-cigarettes are being used by 0.3% of young people who have never smoked"
At which point, we would all breathe a big sigh of relief and think, you know what, if they weren't using e-cigs they'd probably be experimenting with tobacco or cannabis anyway, so nothing to see here. It's hardly of epidemic proportion, is it?

Alternatively, perhaps Hussey could have called the study authors for guidance, because they make it quite clear that Hussey's message is definitely not the one they want to convey.
However, it is important to note the low prevalence of regular e-cigarette use, which suggests that e-cigarettes are unlikely to make a major direct contribution to adolescent nicotine addiction at present.
So wind your neck in, Hussey, you disingenuous troll. You're creating a scare story for purposes we can only guess at. Been talking to your pharma chums recently, have you?

We'll leave the last word to lead researcher Graham Moore, shall we, seeing as Wales's CMO doesn't seem capable of reading an academic paper with any degree of competence.
"There are some concerns at the moment that the growth of e-cigarettes may be helping to get a new generation of young people addicted to nicotine. At the moment, that doesn't seem to be the case. There doesn't seem to be too much reason to worry that that's actually happening."
Tell it to the Welsh CMO who thinks there is reason to be filmed by the BBC promoting exactly that non-existent worry.

I'm surprised that, during these times of austerity, we have such a duplication of highly-paid people spreading demonstrable nonsense. I mean, how many barking Chief Medical Officers does this country really need?


Chris Oakley said...

Chief Medical Officer is an entirely pointless political position that could be abolished tomorrow with no negative impact. It serves no useful purpose in modern society and the incumbents rarely have any special qualifications. The BBC feels obliged to report the warbling of talentless members of our anachronistic establishment but everyone else should feel free to ignore them as inexpert waffle.

It would be great if we could stop paying for it along with similar garbage from the many other establishment figures who are not qualified to do tnon-jobs.

Dragonmum said...

Knickers in a knot over e-cigs - this is Wales where you are very likely to die of old age before an ambulance turns up; where you can be admitted to a maternity unit miles away to give birth because the local unit is closed for any one of a dozen reasons, and then only if you can get there under your own steam - this happened to my neighbour, where the NHS, pioneered by one of our greatest politicians, Nye Bevan, is in permanent crisis. Another Public Health genius at the real cutting edge - NOT!!!!!

jmshigham said...

Is this anything like regional police chief for usefulness?