A few days ago I posted an article I wrote about a few statements made by a “Dr.” Richard Hurt of Mayo Clinic fame (or in this case, infamy). Suffice it to say the should-have-his-license-revoked-permanently Hurt is most assuredly not a friend to vapers, and not really in favor of helping smokers to break free of the yoke of their addiction, regardless of the strongly-worded statements he makes to the contrary. He would prefer to continue to prescribe medications that only work when “combined with therapy,” Like Chantix and Wellbutrin. I’m not sure if anyone else remembers the low budget indie film “Go” made back in 1999… but in the movie, a girl resorts to selling baby aspirin pills at a rave under the banner of Ecstasy (the drug MDMA). Each time she sells them she informs the buyer that it’s “pharmaceutical-grade” and that it works good if they “smoke a lot of pot with it… a LOT of pot.” When I see a drug company release a new medication that “only works when combined with therapy,” I immediately think of this movie. I wonder why that is. I’ll leave it to the reader to deduce some potential answers.
The purpose of continuing this news item into a “part two/continued” segment is to relay some of the information that was brought to light in the wake of my posting of this article, and to relay a few bits of information I’ve learned through some investigation of my own. First, I’m going to include this response to my original article, Mayo Clinic Slipping into Medical Malpractice and Social Endangerment, posted to ejuiceconnoisseur.com on 10/31/13 by Matt Black of the Minnesota Vapers Advocacy:
- I was actually part of a panel discussion/Q&A that turned into a debate with “Dr.” Hurt in Rochester.His overall ignorance about addiction & nicotine was astonishing, considering that he’s the “nicotine addiction specialist” for the Mayo. Also, his lack of product knowledge baffled me. He claimed that the Nicotrol inhaler (which uses a solution of nicotine liquid suspended in propylene glycol), which is made by Pfizer, and offered as a cessation product at the Mayo, was not to be inhaled. Instead, he described an awkward process that made it sound almost like you drink the nicotine from the device. And then he claimed that it’s Pfizer’s least effective cessation product (go figure – because drinking nicotine sounds like a totally pleasant experience), yet the Mayo still offers them to smokers. I’d actually like to know if Pfizer is aware that Dr. Hurt, on behalf of the Mayo, is openly telling people that their products are ineffective. But, I digress.
He’s against e-cigarettes (well, this is his public-statement reason) because they haven’t followed the proper scientific method used to prove safety & efficacy that is required to meet the guidelines of a “cessation device”.
When I asked him if Chantix went through the same rigorous scientific method, he said “Yes”, but then had no answer for me as to why Chantix, having gone through this testing method, to prove that it’s safe, resulted in people killing themselves and having homicidal tendencies.
At the end of the Q&A-turned-debate, he interrupted me as I was shooting down yet another of his half-wit-pseudo-science-based-rhetorical-asinine-statements and said, “Look, I have no doubt that e-cigarettes are safe…”
I honestly don’t remember what he said after that, because it ultimately didn’t matter – he essentially openly admitted that everything else he said prior to that point had been a lie.
The Post Bulletin was at this Q&A and, of course, totally neglected to properly report anything that was actually said. And then Jay Frost, the host of the Q&A, got incredibly upset with me when I informed him (after their news article had been published), that we actually recorded the Q&A.
Because, you know, when physical evidence (such as an audio recording), contests what your “news” “organization” has reported, it doesn’t help your reputation.
This, of course, goes a long way to back up the contention that Richard Hurt is an enemy of electronic cigarettes, and by extension health in general. This coupled with all of the other evidence against him… such as his intentionally disinforming the public regarding that tired, old “antifreeze/propylene glycol” issue, his ad hominum fall-back insult of the entire vaping community’s level of intelligence, and of course his conflict of interest/involvement in pharmaceutical corporations that produce smoking cessation medications… are all enough to label “Dr.” Hurt as an enemy of electronic cigarettes and the hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of vapers who’ve successfully quit smoking.
Another response in the comment thread to the original article was posted by cigarbabe in the wee morning hours of 11/01/13:
- I called the Mayo clinic just wanting to hear what help they were offering to those who wanted to quit smoking.
Of course they named all the drugs nobody wants like Chantix,Wellbutrin and patches etc. but what I found most astounding was the claim that they have a 58% success rate while giving patients the usual crappy FDA recommended NRT’S. Of course when I asked for proof of this they claimed to not have them on hand. lol When I questioned those rates since patches have a 3-9% efficacy they said they maintained/obtained those rates because they offer counseling along with drugs.
Do these folks ever tell the truth?
Lynn Youness, in the comment thread of Mayo Clinic Slipping into Medical Malpractice and Social Endangerment’s posting in the CASAA’s (Consumer Advocates for Smoking Alkternatives Association) Facebook Group, posted a synopsis of her thesis which sheds a lot of interesting, scientifically licit and valid evidence against the types of claims held by Hurt with no evidential-backing whatsoever:
- Recently I did my thesis on electronic cigarettes, and during my research, I found little to no facts or statistics from actual electronic cigarette users. Occasionally, an article or study would include a statement from an electronic cigarette user, but I wanted to know more. I wanted to know why people switched to an electronic cigarette, and did they think that they were better off health-wise from switching. I decided to conduct my own unscientific study, and contacted VaporKing.com, a Tulsa, OK electronic cigarette reseller and asked them if I could put a survey on their Facebook page, and they agreed. I created a 10 question survey through SurveyMonkey.com and Rob from Vapor Kings posted it to their page on a Saturday evening. It was my hope to receive about 20 to 30 responses, but when I closed out the survey after 24 hours, 319 people had responded. Of the people that responded, 52.66% were female (168), 41.07% were Male, and 6.27% did not specify their gender.
Over 88% of the respondents said they would still be a tobacco user if electronic cigarettes were not available. This bears repeating: OVER 88% WOULD STILL BE A TOBACCO USER IF ELECTRONIC CIGARETTES WERE NOT AVAILABLE!
While doing my research, I came across a very informative article by Christopher Robbins, a writer for Gothamist.com. One of the most powerful statements that Robbins makes in his article is that research reveals that common popular methods to quit smoking are not all that successful, or for that matter, safe. Robbins found that:
“A recent study in the medical journal Tobacco Control showed a large percentage of smokers who quit smoking using one of the popular products starting smoking again. The report echoed what has been found in previous studies: gum and patches may work well in the short-term, but there’s a good chance that ex-smokers using them will return to smoking in the long-run. Chantix, a non-nicotine based prescription drug made by Pfizer, has been linked to an increase in depression and an increased risk of suicide.” http://gothamist.com/…
Many of the respondents to my survey replied that they tried other means without success before switching to an electronic cigarette. Here are a few examples from my survey:•A 58 year old woman who had been smoking for 35 years and has been vaping for 15 months wrote this in her comments: “I had exhausted all other means of quitting. GUM, PATCHES, CHANTIX …NOTHING WORKED. I was determined to find a way to quit and vaping worked.”•A 31 year old male who smoked for 15 years and instead has been vaping for 24 months now wrote “I wanted to quit smoking, and had tried a number of times…went cold turkey, tried the patch, gum, chantix. I knew part of my issue was the actual physical motion of smoking along with the nicotine. I had seen an ad online for e-cigarettes, looked into it and figured “why not?” I was able to transition off of regular cigarettes within about 2 weeks or so, with no issue.”
•A 56 year old female who smoked for 43 years and has been vaping for 19 months wrote “I had wanted to quit for a long time for my health sake. I had tried all the other methods the patches the scripts the gum and none of the worked. I think the Chantax [sic] should be removed from the market that stuff is dangerous.”
•A 44 year old female that smoked for 9 years and has been vaping for 23 months wrote “Tried all methods to quit smoking from traditional to obscure and was not successful. I had smokers cough, high blood pressure and frustration with myself for not being strong enough willed to quit smoking tobacco. Tried an e-cigarette on the advice of a co-worker and was tobacco free within 2 days.”
•A 78 year old female who smoked for 62 years and has been vaping for 13 months stated she made the switch because she has COPD and also wrote “… I love my e cig. I have stoped [sic] coughing so much. And I feel great!!!!! Also I was spending about 50.00 dollars a week on cigarettes now I spend about 40.00 a month on juice. I think that everybody who smokes should try e cigs.”
These are just a few of the many stories that people shared with me on the survey. Many shared personal stories about switching to an electronic cigarette due to the death of a family member that was a result of lung cancer or COPD. Many more shared stories about how their own personal health improved; how they no longer had shortness of breath, no more coughing, how they had more energy, felt better overall, and on and on and on. In the survey I asked people to list their top 3 reasons for switching from traditional tobacco cigarettes to electronic cigarettes: 61% of the people switched for health reasons (193 people), 34% disliked the smell of cigarettes (109 responses), 29% switched due to the high cost of cigarettes (94 people), and 16% said they wanted to quit smoking tobacco (50 people).
Electronic cigarettes do not contain the harmful chemicals found in tobacco and should not be regulated the same as a tobacco product because electronic cigarettes do not produce second hand smoke and are less harmful to your health. It is estimated that more than 700,000 people are currently using an electronic cigarette as an alternative to traditional tobacco cigarettes, and given the alternatives, one would think that you would encourage the use of e-cigs. I use my e-cig in places where traditional cigarettes are banned. I have asked, and received permission from business owners to vape in restaurants, bars and night clubs, and have happily taken the time to explain what exactly it is that I am using whenever anyone asks.
I have never experienced negative reactions or feedback from people when I use my e-cig and that is not something I can say about traditional tobacco cigarettes. For former smokers, an e-cig is a nicotine replacement device, and people using them are no different from people using nicotine patches or nicotine chewing gum, and should therefore be celebrated, not banned.
I suggest you spend some time reading CASAA (The Consumer Advocates for Smoke-free Alternatives Association) http://casaa.org/Electronic_Cigarettes.html before deciding what is good for all of us.
Studies like this one and, of course, more scientifically “official” studies are increasing in number every day. Every new study discovers and reports more good information about electronic cigarettes, yet people like “Dr.” Richard Hurt remain steadfast in their ignorance. They continually quote, as their course of “scientific evidence,” a six-year-old outdated study that found insignificant traces of diethylene glycol in a handful of E-cigarettes. Apparently, polyethylene glycol produced small amounts of ethylene glycol when vaporized… too small to present any danger to the health of a human being, or even a lab rat. But even though the claim was bogus and tantamount to socially irresponsible media fear-mongering, the E-cigarette/E-liquid industry switched to propylene glycol in an effort to settle the reservations of a timid populace. To reiterate what has been reported more than a few times on E-Juice Connoisseur (not to mention thousands of other sites), propylene glycol (PG) and vegetable glycerine (VG) are non-toxic to humans… approved for human consumption by the FDA and many other health organizations throughout the world. Nicotine, by itself, turns out to not only be less addictive than originally thought, less dangerous than originally thought- especially in the amounts used in E-liquids, and even beneficial to our health in many ways.
So, why the adamant hatred of electronic cigarettes by the health community at-large? The answer: Many are simply sheep who follow the medical journals with the kind of blind faith common among elitist communities. There are a few well-disguised wolves, however, amongst the sheep, leading them to a precipice. Richard Hurt is one of those wolves in sheep’s clothing. His conflicts of interest regarding E-cigarettes are as plain as day. Firstly, “Dr.” Hurt is a current consulting physician/scientist on the Scientific Advisory Boards of GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), the pharmaceutical company responsible for Commit Nicotine Lozenges and Committed Quitters, and Wellbutrin to name a few. (That position is not an unpaid position, by the way.) He is also currently enjoying a sizeable grant from the Pfizer corporation, which is responsible for the infamous Chantix (which seems to cause more suicides than successfully quitted ex-smokers). In the past he has been a consultant for, and received grants from, a long list of other pharmaceutical companies, to name a few. It’s a safe bet that he owns stock in these corporations as well, in addition to the money he has received in grants and as pay for the lofty positions he’s held within these companies. This is about as clear-cut an example of conflict of interest as is humanly possible.
In addition to this, the corrupt “Dr” Richard D. Hurt, along with several of his colleagues, published an article concerning the health differences before and after the implementation of smoking bans in Minnesota. The claims of the article have since been called into question, but the conflict of interest are worth pointing out, especially since the authors of the article (including Hurt, himself) claim that there is not a conflict of interest at all! The study was funded by ClearWay of Minnesota (an anti-smoking advocacy organization), and several other ANTZ groups. I hate to disappoint the illustrious “Dr.” Hurt, but when your study is funded by an organization that is paying you to back up their position “scientifically,” that’s a CONFLICT OF INTEREST!
I hope this article helps to bring into focus just how the ANTZ have become their own, self-sustaining monster with no discernible loyalty to their original purpose. At this point, the anti-smoking groups have become a business which will maintain it’s relevance and existence come hell or high water. The electronic cigarette industry threatens the very survival of anti-smoking pharmaceutical products, anti-smoking advocacy companies, and the entire political money structure built around the anti-tobacco phenomenon. Obviously, I’m preaching to the choir here, but I plan on peppering the Internet with this one… especially in non-vaping industry venues. If you would, dear reader, help me to spread this expose to the eyes and ears of those who are unaware of this issue. It would be nice if even those with no interest in smoking/vaping policy, regulations, legality, etc. would get behind this issue for the good of the populace at large.