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