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UCSF Research Team Reveals Logic Warp Shift!

In a major shift of the usual rules of logic, it now appears that a cross-sectional study, looking at correlations at a single moment in time, can prove causation over a period of time, according to University of California/San Francisco Professor Stanton Glantz.

If confirmed, this monumental change in the way logic works will no doubt be epoch-making, since correlation now appears to equal causality.

Professor Glantz's study looked at cigarette use, e-cigarette use, and smoking cessation attempts among Korean teenagers, and found current correlations between all three. If the old rules of logic still applied, this could result in the conclusion that more kids who are currently trying to quit smoking use e-cigs than kids who are not currently trying to quit smoking, and also that more heavy-smoking kids try to quit than light-smoking kids. But according to the new rules of logic discovered by this team of researchers, the non-longitudinal (that is to say, momentary) study proves the longitudinal (long-term) conclusion that e-cigarettes promote heavier cigarette smoking over time (which was not studied), and thus demonstrates that they are a gateway to the smoking of conventional, combustible, cigarettes.

The article in question is Electronic Cigarette Use Among Korean Adolescents: A Cross-Sectional Study of Market Penetration, Dual Use, and Relationship to Quit Attempts and Former Smoking, published 25 November, 2013 in the Journal of Adolescent Health (online, in advance of print publication, with co-authors Sungkyu Lee and Rachel A. Grana, both post-doctoral fellows at UCSF). Glantz heads the Center for Tobacco Control and Research at UCSF.

The study has been widely reported as proof that e-cigs promote more frequent smoking over time, although the actual text of the study admits that since it "used cross-sectional data, the directionality of our findings cannot be established", according to Boston University Professor of Public Health Michael Siegel. (Directionality would refer to the claim that the study shows effects over time, while in fact it reports only correlations at a single moment.) The online publication of the Voice of America trumpets: Study: Teens' E-Cigarette Use Promotes Heavy Tobacco Use, and quotes Glantz to the effect that: "the kids who are trying to quit smoking were more likely to be using e-cigarettes" (not surprising, since they are trying to quit), and that they are "much less likely to actually quit” (meaning that they had not yet succeeded in quitting at the time of the study, a detail that would seem to be subsumed in the statement that they were currently quitting, in other words, had not yet finished quitting; it should read "much less likely to [have] quit"). The study provides no evidence that they will not succeed later on.

Elizabeth Fernandez, writing for an online publication of UCSF uses the headline, "Electronic Cigarettes: New Route to Smoking Addiction for Adolescents," and states that "at the point in time they studied, youth using e-cigarettes were more likely to be trying to quit, but also were less likely to have stopped smoking." Of course the population that is currently trying to quit could not have any overlap with the population that has succeeded in quitting, so this would be a tautology according to the old rules of logic that this study has overturned. Fernandez also reports that these kids "were smoking more, not less" (meaning "more [than those who were not currently trying to quit using e-cigs]" but apparently taken to mean "more [than before they started using e-cigs]").

The reason for the new logic warp seems to be the tremendous importance of showing that any behavior that looks like smoking must be bad for you, and must lead children down the garden path to smoking combustible cigarettes.