Another anti-vaping study by Professor Stanton Glantz faces heavy criticism
Professor Stanton Glantz has a particularly tainted reputation within the vaping sector and his latest work has simply worsened it. Recent dubious research from Glantz once again unfairly lambasted e-cigarettes and, this time, it has been shown to be rather misguided by a Professor of Economics.
Dr. Dharma Bhatta and Professor Glantz had a study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, titled ‘Use of e-cigarettes is an independent risk factor for respiratory disease in addition to combustible tobacco smoking’. The research suggested that e-cigarettes were harmful on their own; independent of the risk factor of previous or current smoking.
Glantz said, “We concluded that e-cigarettes are harmful on their own, and the effects are independent of smoking conventional tobacco…This study contributes to the growing case that e-cigarettes have long-term adverse effects on health and are making the tobacco epidemic worse.”
Simply put, Glantz was suggesting that vapers who have never smoked are at greater risk of respiratory disease than those who never smoke or vape. This conclusion was fundamentally flawed, and was disproved by Don Kenkel and co-authors from Cornell University. Despite Glantz protesting that his so-called dangers of e-cigarettes were an independent risk factor, when the research was analysed, this was not actually the case.
In total, there were only 12 participants who could have supported the theory from Glantz. This is because, out of the 17,601 sample, there were only 12 vapers who had never smoked. Not a single one of these 12 recipients had a respiratory disease. Kenkel explained this point as he stated,
“The statistical associations that Bhatta and Glantz find between e-cigarette use and respiratory disease are driven by e-cigarette users who are also current or former smokers of combustible tobacco…almost all e-cigarette users were either current or former smokers of combustible tobacco. In the longitudinal analysis sample with 17,601 observations, there were only 12 current e-cigarette users who had never smoked combustible tobacco. None of the 12 respondents had incident (new) respiratory disease.”
Kenkel and his team produced an in-depth deconstruction of the study and exposed the flaws. The concluding statement read “We find no evidence that current or former e-cigarette use is associated with respiratory disease.”
Not the first time for Stanton Glantz
Unfortunately, this sort of biased, flawed research is quite common practice for Stanton Glantz. Glantz is renowned for what appears to be manipulation of scientific data to suit his misplaced agenda. He has strong links and relationships with the World Health Organisation. Glantz often publishes papers and opinions, supportive of the WHO’s prohibitionist position, with denial of any potential for vaping within a tobacco harm reduction agenda.
A number of Glantz’s studies have been heavily criticised by leading health experts, but there is one piece of research that stands out. In February 2020, one of Glantz’s studies was retracted from the Journal of the American Heart Association. A retraction of a study from an official journal is very rare and only occurs when research is particularly flawed.
The retracted study suggested that e-cigarettes contributed to an increased risk of heart attack. However there were key omissions and the researched was deemed to be unreliable. The conclusions Glantz has drawn from the study in question today shares similarities, as it is fails to properly account for vapers’ previous smoking habits. Another similarity is that both studies were co-authored by Dharma Bhatta. Finally, and perhaps a less-obvious similarity between the two is that they were both funded by large federal grants totalling $13.6 million, according to tobacco control expert and commentator, Brad Rodu.
It is disgraceful that this sort of unreliable evidence is still being published, even after Glantz has already been exposed earlier this year. However, whilst it is concerning, it seems as though Glantz is leaving more and more holes in his anti-vaping propaganda. The fact that this paper could be torn apart and discredited by a Professor of Economics just goes to show that it now doesn’t even take a medical or public health expert to unpick Glantz’s sloppy work. We are very thankful that Professor Kenkel has exposed Glantz’s errors.