I suppose this does not really qualify as news, even though it got sent to my inbox (I have a feeling my inbox is not representative of what is generally considered “news”), but I have not written a UN in an while. It seems that the Journal of Addiction Research & Therapy just published a special issue on Tobacco Addiction. They were pleased to inform me that the articles are all free online.
But I don’t think I will be taking advantage of that opportunity to read….
The Waterpipe; a New Way of Hooking Youth on Tobacco by Wasim Maziak
“Hooking” seems like such an active verb, one with a clear subject/actor. (No, not that kind of hooking. Even the kind they mean implies active intent by someone.) So who, exactly is setting out to do this “hooking”? Big Waterpipe? Large national chains of hookah bars? And how are they forcing youth to use their product? I suppose I could learn if I read the article, but it just sounds too scary.
Psychosocial Factors and Health-Risk Behaviors Associated with Hookah use among College Students by Carla J. Berg, Gillian L. Schauer, Omar A. Asfour, Akilah N. Thomas and Jasjit S. Ahluwalia
At least that one does not involve any black magic. Let me guess, the methods read: We noticed there are hookah users around campus, so we gathered up whatever demographic and behavior survey we had on hand and asked them (and some non-users) to take it. Since we were not exploring any causal hypotheses, and we figure that there really will be nothing made of these results, we would then be free to just publish whatever we came up with. But we can still add some really cool jargon to the title.
Functional Brain Imaging of Tobacco Exposure in Humans by Steven S Storage and Arthur L Brody
Brain-scan researchers have an expensive toy they need to get grants to justify. Anti-tobacco research has infinite money but wants to make sure none of it gets spent on anything that might actually be informative. A match made in heaven.
Oral Nicotine Self-Administration in Rodents by Sakire Pogun, Allan C Collins, Tanseli Nesil and Lutfiye Kanit
I will admit that I did click on that one — I wanted to see the cute picture of a rat with a snus pouch in. Turns out, no pictures. I did learn, though, that studying rat behavior is very useful for understanding tobacco use because… um…??? Hmm, they did not explain that one, but I guess it is because it is so difficult to find any actual human tobacco users whose behavior can be studied.
This is another study that comes with added bonus of paying for and justifying your “equipment” (see previous example). At least the brain scanner is not gratuitously killed at the end of the study.
Magnesium and Zinc Involvement in Tobacco Addiction by Mihai Nechifor
Conclusion: Without magnesium and zinc, there would be no tobacco addiction. Also, no brain scanners. Or rats. Or people. Thank the Creator for magnesium and zinc!
Am I the only one who remembers a sketch comedy movie from c.1980 that included a fake 1960s style grade-school classroom movie about zinc, and how important it is in our lives? It went through a series of “without zinc, you would not have that….”, and the item disappeared, going from a few trivial items on up to someone’s prosthetic leg. This kind of reminded me of that.
The Cigarette-Carrying Habit of Occasional Smokers by Shu-Hong Zhu, Quyen B. Nguyen, Martha White, Steven D. Edland and Wael K. Al-Delaimy
Let me guess: The conclusion is that if you can get someone to never carry cigarettes, he will not smoke. Unless he can bum one.
And finally, one that seemed like good useful science:
It sounded interesting from a scientific curiosity perspective, so I gave it a quick read it. Apparently the result confirms what has been found before. Too bad that they did not go as far as to say “this research suggests that people with ‘morning person’ behavior and motivations may not benefit from nicotine nearly as much as ‘night people’ do”? That could actually offer some insight into the benefits of smoking. But they wrote it as clean straight science, not pathetic anti-tobacco rhetoric, so it can be read and interpreted by anyone who recognizes the value of this observation.
Of course, admitting that a study offered insight into the benefits of nicotine use would immediately put someone in the dangerous “might actually be informative” category noted above. That would be funding suicide for the authors if they depended on ANTZ funding. Fortunately for them, they apparently make their money consulting for a branch of the tobacco/nicotine industry (Pfizer), so they might be able to get away with doing some good science.