There is no evidence that electronic cigarettes are a gateway to smoking, that they are attracting nonsmokers to become regular vapers, or that they are impeding smoking cessation. Nevertheless, even if all three of these were the case, one thing would remain true: smokers who succeed in quitting smoking by switching to electronic cigarettes ought to be congratulated rather than scorned. However, the anti-tobacco community has shown nothing but scorn for the vaping community.
Vapers who have quit smoking have greatly improved their health. In fact, they have taken the single most important action to improve their health. They have literally saved their lives. This is a tremendous accomplishment that should be praised. Yet many anti-tobacco groups and advocates will not publicly acknowledge that these thousands of vapers have saved their lives and have shown scorn for the vaping community rather than congratulating vapers on their accomplishment.
Even those vapers who have not quit smoking completely but have cut down substantially on their cigarette consumption have taken an action that is improving their health. In addition to helping slow the progression of respiratory disease and improving respiratory symptoms, this accomplishment has significantly reduced their level of addiction to smoking and will likely make it easier for them to quit smoking in the future. These vapers, too, deserve congratulations and encouragement. But the anti-tobacco community has shown nothing but discouragement for anyone and everyone who is using electronic cigarettes.
The Rest of the Story
Let me take this opportunity to publicly congratulate the vaping community, including all the vapers who are helping to de-normalize smoking by switching to this much safer alternative. I also congratulate all the electronic cigarette companies which are contributing to the public's health by making available this safer alternative that has the potential to reduce cigarette consumption in half in the next decade, according to tobacco financial experts, including Bonnie Herzog at Wells Fargo. For all independent electronic cigarette companies, their value proposition is to make smoking obsolete, as Craig Weiss of NJOY has clearly expressed.
While anti-tobacco groups have attacked and condemned electronic cigarette companies and vapers, I want to take this opportunity to congratulate them and praise them for what they are doing to de-normalize smoking and promote a shift from combustible tobacco products to a much safer non-tobacco-containing product.
The current smoking cessation products on the market are dismal in their effectiveness, with long-term success rates of only about 10%. Clearly, there is a need for an alternative strategy for harm reduction for the 90% of smokers who are unable to quit using nicotine replacement or other drugs. The electronic cigarette companies have provided that alternative strategy, and thanks to their continued innovation, the safety and effectiveness of this strategy are improving every day. Moreover, every smoker who has become a vaper has helped pave the way for a public health revolution.
It is time that anti-tobacco groups and advocates show some respect for the many thousands of vapers who have greatly improved their health by successfully using electronic cigarettes to quit smoking or greatly reduce their tobacco cigarette consumption.
I hope that my publicly calling out the vaping community and pulling them out from under the bus, where they have been thrown by the anti-tobacco community will help reverse the damage that anti-tobacco groups have done by discouraging quit attempts using e-cigarettes and encouraging vaping ex-smokers to return to cigarette smoking.