Refuting The Irrefutable

Contributed by Paul Johnson

In the bucolic article describing the scent of clover and fresh air, the author may have inadvertently perpetuated a lie in saying, “Our Alaska State Fair has chosen to stand by the irrefutable science that secondhand smoke is not just inconvenient or smelly: it’s deadly and effects the health of those who are exposed to it.” (The State Fair chose to do this at the suggestion of Breathe Free Mat-Su) Perhaps the author simply repeated the lie that has been told so many times for so long that it has become a pseudo truth. I’ll give the author the benefit of the doubt.  

Three examples of studies refuting the irrefutable are: 

The Enstrom-Kabat study on the effects of secondhand smoke on never smokers. This study concluded: “The results do not support a causal relation between environmental tobacco smoke and tobacco related mortality, although they do not rule out a small effect. The association between tobacco smoke and coronary heart disease and lung cancer may be considerably weaker than generally believed.” (The Study)

A New England Journal of Medicine study found that even back in 1975, when having smoke puffed into your face was ubiquitous in restaurants, cocktail lounges and transportation lounges, the concentration was equal to merely four one thousandths of one cigarette an hour. In scientific terminology, that's a tiny amount.
Similar conclusions were reached by the World Health Organization, which concluded in 1998 after a seven-year study that the correlation between secondhand smoking and lung cancer was not statistically significant. 

The Enstrom-Kabat Study is of particular interest because it spanned nearly four decades and involved over 110,000 participants. It was initially funded by the American Cancer Society and supported by the anti-smoking Tobacco Related Disease Research program. However, when the results did not support the ACS/TRDRP’s desired outcome, their funding was pulled and they set out to discredit Enstrom and Kabat, both highly regarded epidemiologists at UCLA and State University of New York, respectively. Also noteworthy is that both gentlemen were staunch anti-tobacco, never smokers. The research was completed at UCLA and published in the British Journal of Medicine in 2003. As a result of the attempts to discredit them, Engstrom was forced to defend their position in this document: (Enstrom’s defense of the study)

No one can deny that smoking is smelly and inconvenient to many non smokers but to perpetuate a known falsehood, supported only by what Enstrom refers to as Lysenko pseudoscience and to use the protect the children tactic as pawns to demonize smokers is deplorable and self righteous.

Worse yet, the anti-tobacco organizations are now applying the same tactics to vapers and the modern vapor industry and have successfully lobbied The Alaska State Fair to be “Smoke and Aerosol (*Vapor*) Free” this year. They could have said vapor but that doesn’t sound near as scary or harmful as aerosol. The anti-tobacco organizations will argue, “Vapor products have been deemed by the FDA to be tobacco products as of 8/8/16 and therefore we are allowed to regulate them as such.” 

While technically accurate, one has to consider the definition of “Deem” (-ed) (-ing). According to Webster: Deem means to come to think of or judge; to have an opinion. That is exactly what the FDA did, decide to “come to think of” batteries, cotton, wire, circuit boards and even zero nicotine e-liquids as tobacco products. In other words, I could “deem” my beater with a heater to be a Lamborghini. Of course it wouldn’t be, but the FDAs deeming is that ludicrous and is the same broad brush that anti-tobacco is painting the vapor community with.

Once again the FDA and anti-tobacco have ignored the science that vapor products are at least 95% less harmful than smoking tobacco to the user and present zero percent harm to bystanders. (FDA funded National Institute for Health Report – March 2016 / RCP Report – April 2016). 

The free samples of NRTs that Breathe Free offers are for the first couple of weeks. They recommend you stick with them for up to 8 weeks or more and of course, you need to pay for that. On the streets, some would call that a drug dealer.

Thanks to modern vapor products, my wife and I are both 100% tobacco free and feeling great. Millions more could reform too, quickly and easily. The only thing you’ll get from our exhaled vapor, if you smell it at all, is an unexplainable craving for blueberry muffins, apple pie or maybe some smores. Please don’t let the tactics of the past set the standards for all of our futures. Your deodorant, cologne, perfume, deep fried or flame broiled delicacy could be next.