Tuesday, September 09, 2014

A Policy Supporting Death: European Respiratory Society Would Rather that Smokers Die than Switch to Electronic Cigarettes

According to a published research article and a European Lung Foundation press release, the European Respiratory Society is opposed to the use of e-cigarettes in any setting in which they are unregulated (which currently includes the United States and most countries).

According to the press release: "The ERS agrees with the recent report from the World Health Organization (WHO) and is opposed to the use of unregulated e-cigarettes. While the short-term negative impact on health appears not as great as tobacco cigarettes, the long-term effects of e-cigarettes are not known. As a Society grounded in scientific principles, ERS believes that the precautionary principle should be applied when scientific evidence is inconclusive and insufficient."

The Rest of the Story

What does it mean to be "opposed" to the use of unregulated e-cigarettes? It means that the European Respiratory Society is opposed to the use of e-cigarettes in any setting in which they are unregulated, such as the current situation throughout most of the world, including in the United States.

The European Respiratory Society, then, is opposed to the use of e-cigarettes at the present time in the United States. What this means is that the ERS would rather see smokers continue to use tobacco cigarettes than quit smoking by switching to electronic cigarettes.

Importantly, the ERS did not qualify its statement. It did not state that it is opposed to the use of e-cigarettes by smokers who may be able to quit without them. It did not state that it is opposed to the use of e-cigarettes except among smokers who cannot quit without them. It simply stated its blanket opposition to any and all use of electronic cigarettes by smokers.

This is a disastrous and irresponsible public position.

What it means is that the ERS would rather that a smoker who cannot quit using other means continue smoking than switch to electronic cigarettes. The ERS clearly states that it opposes the use of electronic cigarettes, period. Thus, it implies that it opposes the use of electronic cigarettes by a smoker who is unable to quit via any other smoking cessation method. For such an individual, the ERS statement implies that it would actually prefer the smoker to continue smoking than to quit via the use of electronic cigarettes.

This story is particularly alarming, because it shows that for some anti-smoking groups, it really is no longer about health. It is solely about ideology. And apparently, the European Respiratory Society will cling to its precautionary ideology while smokers go to their graves.

1 comment:

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