Thursday, October 15, 2015

American Lung Association: Real Cigarettes are No More Hazardous than Fake Ones

In a lie of epic proportions, the American Lung Association of the Upper Midwest has publicly claimed that smoking real (tobacco) cigarettes may be no more harmful than using fake (electronic) cigarettes, which contain no tobacco and involve no combustion. This despite a multitude of evidence that e-cigarettes are much safer than tobacco cigarettes. A recent Public Health England report concluded definitively that e-cigarettes are much safer than real cigarettes, and even Dr. Stan Glantz - a notorious e-cigarette demonizer - admits that e-cigarettes are much safer than real ones.

According to an article in the Minnesota Daily:

"A new trend in switching traditional cigarettes for e-cigarettes and vaporizers has become prevalent among millennials despite a lack of evidence those devices are safer, said Regional Senior Director of the American Lung Association of the Upper Midwest Pat McKone. “We do not have enough information about e-cigarettes or vape-pens to determine whether they are a healthier alternative or if they have serious long-term effects that could be detrimental to health,” she said."

In the same article, an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Minnesota was cited as stating that e-cigarettes may be no safer than real cigarettes in terms of their respiratory health effects:

"Because cigarette smoke and particles are the most damaging effects of smoking, Begnaud said, she doesn’t think e-cigarettes or vaporizers — which also produce harmful vapors — are healthier for the lungs.

The Rest of the Story

Given the multitude of evidence that e-cigarettes are not nearly as harmful as real cigarettes, how can the American Lung Association possibly tell the public that smoking may be no more hazardous than vaping?

And given research showing that e-cigarette use, unlike real cigarette use, does not impair respiratory function as measured by spirometry, along with research showing marked improvement in respiratory symptoms and lung function of smokers who switch to vaping, how can a professor of medicine possibly tell the public that e-cigarettes are not healthier for the lungs compared to real tobacco cigarettes?

These statements are not only lies but they are irresponsible lies. They are also damaging because they undermine the public's appreciation of the severe hazards of smoking.

It is baffling to me how anti-tobacco advocates and organizations are so threatened by electronic cigarettes that they have completely forgotten how harmful smoking is and how much disease and death is being caused by tobacco-containing, combustible cigarettes. They are so threatened by electronic cigarettes that they have resorted to lying in order to demonize these products.

The rest of the story is that anti-tobacco advocates and groups are so threatened by electronic cigarettes that they are actually promoting cigarette smoking as being no worse than using a non-tobacco-containing product. They have completely transformed the tobacco epidemic from a problem of tobacco use to a problem of nicotine use. The problem now is addiction itself, not disease and death.

In other words, the tobacco epidemic is no longer a public health issue, it is a moral one.

The tobacco control movement, then, is no longer a part of public health practice. It is now little more than a moral crusade, spewing hysterical, unsupported, and misleading claims and blatant lies that in the end are serving to promote and preserve the sales of the most hazardous consumer product on the market: real cigarettes.

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