Monday, August 31, 2015

Anti-Smoking Groups' Campaign of Deception is Working: Inquisitr Article Copies 7 E-Cigarette Myths Almost Verbatim from E-Cigarette Opponents

An article published yesterday at Inquisitr purports to present seven reasons why e-cigarettes are "bad."

Here they are:

1. The effects of e-cigarettes are nowhere near as well-documented as cigarettes.
2. E-cigarettes contain plenty of cancerous chemicals. 
3. E-cigarettes are just as addictive as smoking tobacco. 
4. E-cigarettes have negative effects on lungs. 
5. E-cigarettes won’t help you quit.
6. E-cigarettes create the equivalent of secondhand smoke.
7. E-cigarettes are a gateway into tobacco products for youth. 
 
The Rest of the Story
 
The rest of the story is that most of these seven claims are false, all are misleading, all seven points actually demonstrate the public health value of e-cigarettes, and all seven arguments are taken almost verbatim from the propaganda being disseminated by colleagues of mine in the anti-smoking movement, demonstrating that their campaign of deception regarding e-cigarettes is working.
 
While the presence of this misleading information on one internet news site may not be terribly significant, the story is quite significant because it demonstrates that the false and deceptive information being disseminated by anti-smoking groups and health agencies which oppose e-cigarettes (including the CDC and the California Department of Public Health, as well as the American Lung Association) is being accepted at face value by the media and is therefore being spread to the public uncritically.
 
Here is the truth about each of the seven claims:
 
1. The effects of e-cigarettes are nowhere near as well-documented as cigarettes.
 
That's exactly the point! While cigarette smoke is known to contain more than 10,000 chemicals, including more than 60 known human carcinogens, and while smoking is known to kill hundreds of thousands of Americans each year from cancer, heart disease, emphysema, stroke, and numerous other diseases, electronic cigarette vapor has been documented to only produce a small number of chemicals, most at low levels, is not known to cause any major adverse health effects, and based on the existing studies, vaping is much safer than smoking, does not appear to cause any major acute problems, and at worst, may present mild risks if used regularly for many years. But those risks are certainly dwarfed by the risks of continuing to smoke. And, it is not yet clear whether vaping is a behavior that is likely to be maintained for decades, as we know smoking is. 
 
So this argument is quite misleading, since it actually supports the idea that vaping is much safer than smoking and therefore, that smokers who are able to quit smoking by switching to e-cigarettes are doing themselves a great favor by substantially improving their health and perhaps saving their lives. In fact, several studies (not mentioned in the article and never cited by the anti-smoking groups which oppose e-cigarettes) document that smokers who switch to e-cigarettes experience an immediate improvement in their respiratory symptoms and lung function, including a reduction in airways resistance.
 
2. E-cigarettes contain plenty of cancerous chemicals. 
 
So does city air. The issue is how the carcinogenic profile of e-cigarettes compares with that of tobacco cigarettes. We know conclusively that it is possible to produce e-cigarettes with no more than trace levels of any carcinogen, and several major brands of e-cigarettes (including those produced by the tobacco companies) have been documented not to contain no more than trace levels of any carcinogen. Even in e-cigarettes that have inadequate temperature regulation, there are only one or two carcinogens of concern (primarily formaldehyde), and it is not clear whether they confer any carcinogenic risk. Without a doubt, however, all of these products greatly lower a person's carcinogenic risk compared to smoking.
 
3. E-cigarettes are just as addictive as smoking tobacco. 
 
This is simply false. A number of studies have shown that e-cigarettes do not carry the same addictive power as tobacco cigarettes. The primary reason for this is that the nicotine delivery during vaping is much less effective than that during smoking.
 
4. E-cigarettes have negative effects on lungs. 
 
It is not clear whether these "negative" effects have any clinical meaning. While vaping does lead to a slight increase in airways resistance, the changes are transient, and it is not clear whether there is any long-term risk. What is clear, however, is that switching from real cigarettes to e-cigarettes has almost immediate positive effects on respiratory function and health.
 
5. E-cigarettes won’t help you quit.
This is also untrue. Electronic cigarettes have helped literally thousands of smokers in the U.S. quit successfully. Moreover, the long-term quit rates with electronic cigarettes - based on existing clinical trials - appear to be at least as high as with FDA-approved drugs.

6. E-cigarettes create the equivalent of secondhand smoke.
 
This is false. There is no smoke produced by e-cigarettes because there is no combustion. The "secondhand vapor" created by e-cigarettes (which is simply the exhaled air from the vaper) is much safer than secondhand smoke and it is not even clear that it poses any substantial health hazards to bystanders.
 
7. E-cigarettes are a gateway into tobacco products for youth.
 
This is also false. There is no evidence to support this claim, and all of the existing evidence points in the other direction, E-cigarettes are not a gateway into tobacco-containing products for youth and in fact, they appear to distract kids away from tobacco cigarette smoking by presenting a safer alternative. 

Public Health Implications
 
Unfortunately, the public health implications of the campaign of deception being waged by e-cigarette opponents are quite negative. The campaign is undermining years of public education about the severe negative health impact of smoking. It is deceiving people into thinking that smoking is no more dangerous than using a non-tobacco-containing product which is not combusted. It is discouraging smokers who might otherwise have quit from even trying to quit. And it is causing many ex-smokers to return to smoking, thinking that there is no benefit to vaping over smoking so what's the point of remaining off of cigarettes.

1 comment:

Blogger said...

I got my first electronic cigarrete kit on VaporFi, and I enjoy it a lot.