Thursday 25 June 2015

Stanton Glantz Produces A Study Which Proves Himself Wrong

We've always known that Stanton Glantz is a horse's arse, but he's galloped an extra few furlongs this week.

In order to rubbish e-cigs and the concept of harm reduction, the bonkers aircraft engineer has just had a study published in the science-averse rag Tobacco Control Journal where he claims that - between 1992 and 2012 - the fewer smokers there have been, the quicker they have quit. Here's how he explains it on his blog.
Smokeless tobacco and, more recently, e-cigarettes have been promoted as a harm reduction strategy for smokers who are “unable or unwilling to quit.” The strategy, embraced by both industry and some public health advocates, is based on the assumption that as smoking declines overall, only those who cannot quit will remain.  A new study by researchers at UC San Francisco has found just the opposite. 
The concept of harm reduction, first proposed in the 1970s, was based on the theory that as smoking prevalence declines, the remaining “hard core” smokers will be less likely or able to quit smoking, a process called hardening. The study found that the population is actually softening.
By 'hardening', he means the well-established and entirely logical theory that as the smokers most likely to quit do quit - the low-hanging fruit for tobacco control, if you like - then the rate of decline in prevalence will decrease; that making them quit becomes harder. But Glantz says that not only is this not happening, but the opposite is true; that 'softening' is happening instead and the rate of decline in smoking prevalence is speeding up.

OK, let's imagine for a moment that he's correct - yes, I know it's difficult, but stopped clocks and all that - and that as smoking prevalence falls the rate of quitting goes up, not down. In such a scenario, we could plot the data on a graph and the curve would show a steepening decline in smokers. Something like this.

However, this certainly isn't happening because other studies by less desperately delirious tobacco controllers have said so. Here's one studying England ...
The proportion of smokers in England with both low motivation to quit and high dependence appears to have increased between 2000 and 2010, independently of risk factors, suggesting that ‘hardening’ may be occurring in this smoker population.
.. and here's one looking at data from 187 countries from 1980 to 2012.
Global modeled prevalence declined at a faster rate from 1996 to 2006 (mean annualized rate of decline, 1.7%; 95% UI, 1.5%-1.9%) compared with the subsequent period (mean annualized rate of decline, 0.9%; 95% UI, 0.5%-1.3%; P = .003). 
It is the same predictable story everywhere in the world. In fact, considering Glantz is from California, he must be well aware of real life prevalence trends in his own state. It looks like this.

As you can see, what is actually happening bears no similarity whatsoever to the curve we would produce in Glantz's fantasy scenario. The prevalence curve has flattened over time, not steepened, and this is replicated all over the globe.

The reason is that Glantz has based his study on quit attempts, and not people who have actually quit. He doesn't bother to take into account whether or not the attempts are successful, almost as if it's irrelevant. It is, however, relevant because the number of quit attempts doesn’t matter, only the number of smokers does.

I'm sure it will come as no surprise to anyone that Glantz is either lying or showing himself up as a gormless wankwassock, but it gets better.

You see, his theory is based on a sheep effect, that as prevalence drops more people want to move away from the demonised smoking habit, so therefore more people attempt to quit.  Think about that logically, though, and Glantz has only proven that more people are embarking on quit attempts. However, since there is no steepening decline in prevalence from real life data - in fact it is the opposite - this can only mean one thing; that a smaller percentage of smokers are successful with their quit attempts than in the past and making people quit is therefore getting harder. Exactly in keeping with all previous studies and the polar opposite of what the nutter set out to 'prove'.

Add in the fact that with UK and US data over the last few years showing a downturn in smoking prevalence in direct proportion to the increase in vaping, without e-cigs Glantz's insistence that tobacco control is wildly successful without harm reduction would have looked even more absurd. The only reason the prevalence curve hasn't flattened out more is because e-cigs have come along, so it’s self evident that harm reduction does work very well, especially as we know that a large proportion of the rise in quit attempts Glantz mentioned would have been by way of using e-cigs instead.

He must be the first tobacco controller ever to have produced a study which comprehensively proves itself wrong. Remarkable!


Entropy said...

He's a man of rare talent. No wait... He's a man who's rarely talented. I always mix that up.

mntvernon said...

Glantz is a publicity hound, unfortunately only naivest of the MSM is fooled by his bogus proclamations.
The only thing that keeps him from going under is the free cash he gets from his buddy, Collins, who doles out taxpayer cash to this leech via the NIH.

Anonymous Vaper said...

Can always count on that ignoramus Frampton Blands to screw up. Perhaps he's been trying to draw aircraft wings again?

Andria Duncan said...

What's a wankwassock? To me, he bears a REMARKABLE resemblance to that ol' Father of Lies -- portrayed so well in Don Henley's "Garden of Allah" -- "I am an expert witness, because I say I am -- I can get you any result you like; what's it worth to ya?" About $7 million a year? Long way from 30 pieces of silver or an apple in a garden!

I can tell you for sure, if I had not discovered e-cigarettes, I would NEVER have quit -- at least not as long as I had the power to inhale. Only e-cigarettes have made quitting POSSIBLE -- even enjoyable! I had *negative* interest in the suffering entailed by quitting via any other method -- none of the other "methods" work, so you just make yourself and your family miserable, and then inevitably, fail yet again.

I think those guys in San Francisco did entirely too many psychedelics, 50 yrs ago -- they seem to believe any absurdity that comes along, but ACTUAL FACTS, they're entirely ignorant of those. What's it going to take, to get rid of this lying venal idiot ONCE AND FOR ALL? The Big Quake? C'mon San Andreas, let's see you do the Twist!

Nate said...

What makes this all the more hilarious is that this new argument Stan has trotted out is pretty much a direct contradiction of everything he and his cohorts have been saying for the last 25 years.

Up until 7-10 days ago, these people were constantly telling us how there's "no safe amount of smoking," that cutting your cigarette consumption doesn't do anyone any good, and that the only worthwhile goal is the complete eradication, by any means necessary, of all tobacco/nicotine use.

Now, all of a sudden, they're drawing attention to the fact that the average smoker smokes about half as much as they once did (they used to routinely dismiss this fact as immaterial and utterly meaningless, by the rationale outlined above), and arguing that the supposed smoking epidemic (whose severity they've been serially overstating for the last several decades) is just going to sort itself out once a sufficient number of people have quit. Again, this is the complete opposite of the arguments they've held up for YEARS as unassailable orthodoxies.

Their all-consuming zeal to destroy e-cigs and vaping has now compelled Stan and his merry band of morons to abandon the same dogmas that have hitherto formed the bedrock of the entire "tobacco control" movement. They used to just be crazy liars. Now they're crazy lying hypocrites.

Uri said...

I haven't done all the number crunching in this specific case, but you are wrong that any acceleration in the rate of decline precludes a flattening curve; as the smoking rate shrinks, the absolute number of quitters gets smaller and smaller