A study by Dr. Konstantinos Farsalinos and his team was retracted due to some tobacco industry ties.

The Guardian reports that a scientific paper published by a team of tobacco harm reduction researchers was retracted by an academic journal due to the failure of some of the authors to disclose ties to certain tobacco industry interests and an independent public health NGO that took in millions from tobacco giant Philip Morris International.

The academic European Respiratory Journal published its latest edition with a retraction on a study entitled “Characteristics and risk factors for COVID-19 diagnosis and adverse outcomes in Mexico: an analysis of 89,756 laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases.”

“This early view article has been retracted,” notes a retraction statement published in place of the preprint. “Please refer to the notice published in the March 2021 issue of the European Respiratory Journal for details.” The preprint of the now-retracted paper, published last summer, found that “current smokers were 23 percent less likely to be diagnosed with COVID-19 compared to non-smokers. Of all COVID-19 patients, 34.8 percent were hospitalized, and 13 percent experienced an adverse outcome.

“Male gender, older age, having one or more comorbidities, and chronic renal disease, diabetes, obesity, COPD, immunosuppression, and hypertension were associated with hospitalization and adverse outcome. Current smoking was not associated with adverse outcome,” the researchers said. Retraction Watch published a brief featuring comments from Dr. Farsalinos, where he argues that the retraction is troubling.

“I was contacted by the editors of the journal only after the decision for retraction was made,” said Farsalinos in an email to Retraction Watch. “Each author was responsible for declaring his own conflicts of interest; therefore I was not responsible for these declarations. I responded that the discussed conflicts were irrelevant to the study’s main aims and objectives. Additionally, I  proposed to publicly release the full dataset and the statistical script so that all findings could be independently verified. The editors declined.”

Other authors are a part of a group of researchers from the University of Piraeus in Greece, and the University of Utah, in the United States. The first author of the study was Theodoros Giannouchos, who is currently a post-doctorate at the University of Utah.

Farsalinos is the “corresponding author.”

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Michael McGrady is a columnist for Vaping Post's English edition. He is a critically acclaimed journalist with awards and recognition from across the industry. He was a finalist for ECigClick's annual vape awards in 2019 and 2020, a KAC Tobacco Harm Reduction Scholarship Fellow in 2019, among other honours. He is also the host of Vaping Weekly, the Post's podcast. All articles express his own opinion and do not necessarily reflect the Editor's view.