Thursday, February 25, 2010

Anti-Smoking Advocate Reportedly Claims that Electronic Cigarettes are More Dangerous than Real Ones

According to an article in the Spartan Daily, the wellness and health promotion coordinator at San Jose State University is claiming that electronic cigarettes are more hazardous than actual cigarettes.

According to the article: "Electronic cigarettes may be more harmful and life threatening for those who choose to smoke them compared to an actual pack of cigarettes, said the wellness and health promotion coordinator at the Health Center. 'Many students don't know how much nicotine are in these e-cigs, and students don't know how harmful that can be,' Jennifer Gacutan-Galang said. What many students also don't know about the e-cig is that it is not FDA approved, she said. ... 'What the e-cig companies don't tell you is the amount of nicotine in each e-cig,' Gacutan-Galang said. 'Even though the e-cig does not have the 4,000 plus chemicals, they contain nicotine, which is the chemical that makes cigarettes addictive.' Gacutan-Galang said a student brought in an e-cig starter kit he had purchased from Valley Fair Mall and nowhere on the box or the pamphlet of the $120 product was the amount of nicotine printed."

The Rest of the Story

This is not only inaccurate information, it is also damaging. It sounds like the wellness coordinator is advising students to stick with regular cigarettes rather than switch to electronic ones. Her main concern seems to be that it is not known how much nicotine is in the electronic cigarettes. What she fails to understand, apparently, is that while the nicotine makes cigarettes addictive, it is the thousands of other chemicals that make these products highly toxic. How could inhaling nicotine plus more than 4,000 other chemicals be safer than just inhaling nicotine, even if you don't know exactly how much nicotine is being delivered?

The truth is that the nicotine delivery from electronic cigarettes has been tested in several studies and has been found to be far less than with regular cigarettes. So the rest of the story is that the advice this health and wellness coordinator appears to be giving to students is not only misinformed and wrong, but it is damaging to their health.

There is clearly something about the very idea of an electronic cigarette that bothers anti-smoking advocates. These products are very threatening to folks in the anti-smoking movement. My own opinion is that the main reason these products are so threatening is that anti-smoking advocates cannot accept the fact that going through the motions of a behavior that simulates smoking can possibly be condoned, much less recommended. The anti-smoking movement has completely lost sight of the best interests of the public's health and is instead blindly adhering to an ideology, without actually looking at the scientific evidence and without applying even the most basic of common sense.

(Thanks to VocalEK for the tip.)

No comments: