If there is one thing that has remained prevalent about e-cigarettes, it’s the fear that they seem to generate, and that fear only reinforces the idea among current tobacco smokers that they’re better off with their traditional cigarettes. One tainted article spreads unwarranted fear among the people, and those people then turn lies into truth by spreading the false message to others. Thus, more and more people continue to argue against the use of e-cigarettes – citizens, politicians and doctors alike.
No matter the research that is done, more and more seem to be sounding off against the possible life saving device. But often times their logic seems to be a bit misplaced, like this quote, for instance…
“So far there hasn’t been very much chronic use of e-cigarettes. So it’s not possible to say there will be no harm.” Those are the words of Dr. Norman Edelman, a senior medical consultant for the American Lung Association, and he disagrees with advocates of e-cigarettes. He believes that e-cigarettes do cause harm, and that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration should have sole authority over all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes.
“It is imperative that the FDA finalize proposed e-cigarette regulations by the end of 2014,” and he demands, “The FDA needs to crack down on quit-smoking and other health claims that e-cigarette companies are making.”
I’m guessing that he’s basing his fears on the fact that, in his own words, “there hasn’t been very much chronic use of e-cigarettes. So it’s not possible to say there will be no harm.” But he seems all too ready to conclude that it is possible to believe that there will be harm, based on the same lack of chronic use.
What sense that sort of logic makes, I’m not really sure, but that’s exactly what I’m talking about. Dr. Norman then goes on to state that, “Since we are talking about a recreational drug (nicotine) — it’s not essential to life, it doesn’t cure any illness — it would only make sense to regulate it rigorously until we find out whether it’s good or bad.”
I’m sorry, Dr. Norman, but if we should be rigorously regulating recreational drugs, then who’s regulating the caffeine industry? Should we make coffees and sodas, along with their boundless flavors illegal?
And where’s the regulations when it comes to the opiate industry? Why are pain killers so openly dispensed when, according to the CDC, they kill over 15,000 people per year? But e-cigarettes, which have not been linked to a single death, should be harshly criminalized? Why?
There is no answer, so I digress.
What Dr. Norman truly fears, I cannot be sure, but a recent study partly funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health, which was recently published in the July 30 edition of the journal Addiction, should put all his fears to rest.
The team of researchers concluded after reviewing 81 previous studies that “strict regulation of electronic cigarettes IS NOT warranted based on current evidence”. They even go on to say that “allowing e-cigarettes to compete with regular cigarettes might cut tobacco-related deaths and illness”.
After a statement like that, such a device should be heralded as a savior – the cleanser of blackened lungs, destroyer of tar, the decimator of the tobacco leaf. But instead it is demonized on a worldwide scale.
In Australia it is illegal to sell any liquid containing nicotine.
In Brazil, the sale, importation and advertising of any type of e-cigarette is strictly forbidden.
In Hong Kong, the sale or possession of any e-cigarette device is not authorized, and both are punishable with a fine of up to HK$100,000 and/or a prison term of 2 years.
In Mexico, the selling and promotion of non-tobacco objects that include elements generally associated with tobacco products are forbidden.
In Turkey, the sale of electronic cigarettes and e-liquids are illegal.
And on and on…
Still, many are continually trying to allow the masses a glimpse at the truth that rests beyond the endless spin of the media, like study researcher Thomas Eissenberg, co-director of the Center for the Study of Tobacco Products at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, who stated in a recent article on WebMD, “Current evidence suggests that there is a potential for smokers to reduce their health risks if electronic cigarettes are used in place of tobacco cigarettes and are considered a step toward ending all tobacco and nicotine use.”
That’s huge. I mean, just imagine a world where Big Tobacco has a legitimate contender standing against it, threatening to steal away their customers and save their lives. It would be like life competed against death, quite literally, and it would be quite interesting to see if e-cigarettes could actually topple the almighty giant that is the industry of Big Tobacco.
Some, like Dr. Norman, believe the risks outweigh the reward. But if any of the previous studies hadn’t made it clear enough, this study does…
“If there are any risks, these will be many times lower than the risks of smoking tobacco,” said the senior author of the study, Dr. Hayden McRobbie, from the Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine at Queen Mary University of London. “We need to think carefully about how these products are regulated. What we found is that there is no evidence that these products should be regulated as strictly as tobacco, or even more strictly than tobacco.”
These are things that the FDA must take into account when making their final ruling, and hopefully they will. They should not rush into making any sort of hasty decision, and refrain from damaging a possibly life saving market.
Prof Peter Hajek, of Queen Mary University in London, also an author on the paper, acknowledged as much when he told the BBC, “Regulators need to be mindful of crippling the e-cigarette market, and by doing so failing to give smokers access to these safer products that could save their lives.”
“If harsh regulations are put in place now, we will damage public health on a big scale.”
RMP – 19 Weeks Smoke-Free
Chattin’ Chief vs. The Myths Against Vaping
No loud headlines this time – no segues or intros either – but welcome nonetheless to the third and final installment of the Chattin’ Chief’s attempt to shed a bit of light upon the smoke-screen being released by the anti-vapor movement, namely a recent Live Science article titled “4 Myths About E-cigarettes” that I’ve been disputing. Now, let’s get right to it…
E-cig ‘Myth’ #3 – E-cigarettes Help You Quit Smoking
First of all, before we get to any studies, it should be made clear that this particular ‘myth’ is more of a personal preference. It is my personal opinion that some people just don’t want to quit smoking cigarettes, and for those people there is nothing that will ever help them do so. However, from my own personal experience, the people that e-cigarettes can help tremendously are those who already wish to quit smoking. Maybe they’ve previously tried other methods, nicotine patches, gum, cold turkey, warm ham – hey, anything’s worth a try, right? – only for nothing to work. That is who e-cigarettes can help, because they actually work to please the same senses as cigarettes, without any of the negative side-effects.
But to LS (Live Science), this idea is seen as a myth. Because they are actually so similar to cigarettes in the way that they act, as if the inhalation and exhalation of a cloud of vapor is no different from a cloud of smoke, it seems that many people simply refuse to believe that they could possibly be safe or helpful in any way, and those people are trying to convince everyone else of the same thing.
So to dispel this ‘myth’ that e-cigarettes can successfully help smokers quit, they quote a ‘recent scientific review’ that concludes “e-cigarette use is not associated with successful quitting”. And to really get that over and sell it even more, LS then takes aim at young people as they go on to say that “there is even some evidence that e-cigs may get non-smokers hooked on nicotine. Studies have found as many as one-third of young e-cigarette users have never tried conventional cigarettes.”
Although they don’t openly state where their information was taken from, I’m pretty sure they’re speaking of a NIH (National Institutes of Health) study that quoted a recent survey, “The Utah Department of Health found that 32% of e-cigarette users reported that they had never smoked conventional cigarettes.” Now they don’t specify whether or not that’s just in Utah, or how many people were actually surveyed, but it does fit the one-third estimate that LS claims, so it probably is the number they’re talking about.
But no matter how not-cool that is, we can’t go using the results of a single survey to say that e-cigs can’t help people quit smoking.
That’s just not true.
Actually, it’s quite the contrary, because in a recent New York Times article, published on May 20th, 2014, they note that “a large study in England has found that smokers trying to quit were substantially more likely to succeed if they used electronic cigarettes than over-the-counter therapies such as nicotine patches or gum”.
Now let me repeat that… a large study found that “Smokers trying to quit were substantially more likely to succeed if they used electronic cigarettes than over-the-counter therapies such as nicotine patches or gum”.
So why all the fuss?
Why are the incredible benefits of these devices so incredibly hard to believe?
Why are the FDA and the WHO and all these random news outlets speaking so negatively against the life saving possibilities of e-cigarettes?
What message are they actually trying to get across?
Now I may not hold the answers to any of those questions, but I do know that I didn’t want to smoke cigarettes beyond the age of thirty. To be honest, though, despite my wanting to quit smoking cigarettes, I really didn’t want to quit, if that makes any sense at all.
I knew it was bad for me, deadly even, but it was that tobacco that made me feel comfortable in an uncomfortable world. It was something I could rely on in a reality filled with disappointment. But it was also burning a constant hole in my wallet, not to mention my lungs.
I knew it was killing me – the morning cough, constantly hacking up gunk from my lungs, that heavy wheezing in my chest whenever I took a deep breath. I knew I needed to quit, but quitting isn’t a simple thing. Not at all.
The way I see it is, as a smoker, I compare my relationship with cigarettes with that of an infant and its nipple. As long as it’s near, everything’s fine. But the moment it’s gone, the sky starts to collapse. It becomes a habit quite quickly, and paying insane prices for them just seems easier than trying to give them up. But that gets expensive pretty fast.
I did my own math, and I was spending approximately $56 per week on cigarettes, just to sustain a habit that was literally killing me. So in the plainest of terms, I was paying fifty-six dollars per week to slowly kill myself.
I mean, seriously, that’s what it comes down to.
I knew it needed to stop, but there was no sandwich meat that was going to help me, neither cold turkey nor warm harm. Also, I wasn’t going to lie to myself. Patches and gum weren’t going to work. They weren’t going to work because I don’t want to be chewing on or injecting nicotine into my arm. I want to mimic smoking a cigarette. That simple. I needed my nipple, but not the deadly circumstances that traditionally came with it.
So I began by trying the cheap e-cigarettes at random gas stations, but only to fall right back to tobacco each time. They just didn’t do a good enough job of mimicking the effects of conventional cigarettes, not for me.
It wasn’t until a little shop on Genie Street named Big Chief Vapor Products opened up that I was introduced to the true e-cigarette movement. With each e-juice mixed in-house, where I hold the ability to control my own intake of nicotine, controlling the mimicking effects of e-cigarettes in whatever way I saw fit, I was able to find a perfect mixture of VG, PG, and nicotine that fit exactly the experience I was looking for.
That was three months ago, and I haven’t once thought about smoking a cigarette since I stepped foot in their door. Now I understand completely that three months is more like the blink of an eye compared to my sixteen years of smoking cigarettes. But I’d like to think that I know myself, and I know that I’ve never been this long without a cigarette since before I started smoking. I also know that as long as Big Chief Vapors is around, as long as e-cigarettes and e-juices aren’t banned by some legislative act of ignorance, I’m never smoking a tobacco cigarette again. To be quite honest, I believe that e-cigarettes saved years of my life, and I’d be pretty damn upset if the FDA actually tried to take those years back away from me.
But if I can be real for a minute, it wasn’t e-cigarettes alone that saved my life, no. I’d walked that e-cigarette road before, and I only found failure at its end. So when it comes down to it, I believe that it was the owners of Big Chief that saved my life. If they would not have opened up, I wouldn’t have quit smoking. I’d still be waking up coughing my lungs out, killing myself for 56 dollars a weeks.
Now, however, thanks to no one but them – because I honestly would not have been able to quit without their understanding and kindness, their patience and knowledge of the products – my cough is completely disappeared, and as long as I don’t get run over by one of these crazy drivers down here, I’ve at least been granted a few extra years of life, years that I otherwise would not have had.
So, seriously, be smart about it… be wise. Nicotine addiction is a very serious thing, so treat it as such. Maybe an all but assured chance of cancer is your thing – it surely seems to be what the FDA is fighting to keep in place – but if it isn’t. If you’re anything like me, and you’ve been searching for a way to quit smoking, just try to remember…
It’s just a nicotine addiction. And at its core, it often devolves into nothing more than a simple hand-to-mouth fixation, the feeling of that hit in the back of your throat.
Now I really don’t mean to sound like one of those old cigarette commercials, but honestly, after remembering that, the only real questions left are… would you rather mix your nicotine with substances like acetic acid (an ingredient in hair dye), ammonia (a common household cleaner), arsenic (rat poison), benzene (a natural constituent of crude oil), butane (lighter fluid), cadmium (battery acid, also used by the Super X to attack Godzilla in 1984’s ‘Return of Godzilla’), carbon monoxide (also released in car exhaust fumes), hexamine (more lighter fluid), toluene (used to manufacture paint), lead, tar, and yes, even acetone and formaldehyde (nail polish remover and embalming fluid, respectively), not to mention all the other 7,000 chemicals that are created by the simple combustion of a cigarette that I didn’t even feel like typing?
Or would you rather mix your nicotine with two simple ingredients that are already approved safe by the FDA, propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin, and a little bit of flavoring?
Ask yourself how much you’re spending per week to kill yourself, and figure out if it’s worth it.
For me, it’s really a simple answer.
But I think CASAA Scientific Director, Carl V. Phillips sums it up better than anyone when he said of the study of all studies that we discussed in Part 1, “This study assures us that e-cigarettes are as low risk as other smoke-free tobacco and nicotine products, like smokeless tobacco and NRT. All of these products are about 99% less harmful than smoking, and so smokers who switch to them gain basically the same health benefits as if they quit tobacco and nicotine entirely.”
Did you just hear that?
Of course you didn’t. You’re reading a computer screen, silly.
But seriously, did you just read that?
“Smokers who switch to them gain basically the same health benefits as if they quit tobacco and nicotine entirely.”
That is HUGE!
And that’s the Scientific Director of CASSA talking. Oh, good ole Carl V.
So enough with the over-dramatization of the naysayers…
It’s time to face the facts…
And the fact is… electronic cigarettes are so much safer than cigarettes, it ain’t even a race, and instead of taking lives, these little electronic trinkets hold the ability to save a great many of them.
So deal with it. It’s a good thing.
I’m RMP – 12 Weeks Smoke-Free
Peace and Love… Always!!!
Join The Fight Against The FDA’s Proposed Regulations @ casaa.org!!!