May 14, 2014

Culture War: More Mentally Ill People Use E-Cigarettes, Says Causalation Paper


The authors from University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have tortured some statistics and gotten them to say that people living with depression, anxiety or other mental health conditions are twice as likely to have tried e-cigarettes and three times as likely to be current users of e-cigarettes as people without mental health disorders. How did they reach this conclusion?

A survey of Americans’ smoking history, efforts to quit and their use and perceptions about e-cigarettes who were also asked whether they had ever been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, depression or other mental health condition. There it is. Correlation and causation.

They then use that to warn that mentally ill people are more likely to try them if they smoke, in order to quit. Why are patches acceptable but e-cigarettes are not, since they both deliver nicotine? It is unclear but it looks fishy to people who don’t smoke at all.

“The faces of smokers in America in the 1960s were the ‘Mad Men’ in business suits,” said lead author Sharon Cummins, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine. “They were fashionable and had disposable income. Those with a smoking habit today are poorer, have less education, and, as this study shows, have higher rates of mental health conditions.”That’s only the first glaring error they get wrong. ‘Mad Men’ was entirely created from whole cloth by advertising people in the 1960s to try and make themselves sound more interesting. It never caught on, even then, even among actual advertising people on Madison Avenue, because it was so ridiculous. But quotes like that warn you facts are not going to be part of the discussion. E-cigarettes may cause global warming and three-headed fish but you would never know it from an article that doesn’t even bother with correlation and causation and just frames the correlation in scary-sounding terms.

via Culture War: More Mentally Ill People Use E-Cigarettes, Says Causalation Paper.

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