Monday, October 07, 2013

Anti-Smoking Groups Need to Apologize for their Efforts to Ban Electronic Cigarettes

In 2009, several "anti-smoking" groups attempted to get electronic cigarettes pulled from the market. The major organizations that lobbied for a ban on electronic cigarettes were the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, American Cancer Society, American Lung Association, and American Heart Association.

The Rest of the Story

It is important to recognize that if these organizations had succeeded, there would be tens of thousands more cigarette smokers today. There are tens of thousands of former smokers in the United States who would not have quit smoking had electronic cigarettes been pulled from the market as recommended by these "anti-smoking" groups.

Imagine the increase in disease that would have resulted had the advice of these groups been followed. Imagine the increase in sales of cigarettes and profits for Big Tobacco.

In light of these facts, it is difficult to understand how these organizations can continue to be referred to as "anti-smoking" groups. Their suggested actions would have resulted in tens of thousands more cigarette smokers.

The rest of the story is that rather than stand up to protect the public's health, these groups were so blinded by ideology that they instead promoted public policy that would have protected Big Tobacco sales and profits at the expense of the public's health.

In light of this, I call upon these organizations to acknowledge their error and to apologize to the tens of thousands of former smokers who would likely still be smoking today if the policy that these groups lobbied for had been adopted.

(The Consumer Advocates for Smoke-free Alternatives Association [CASAA] expresses a similar sentiment in a recent blog post.)

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