Thursday, September 02, 2010

Associated Press Story on Electronic Cigarettes Should Help to Clear the Smoke Created by FDA Press Conference

In one of the most prominent news stories written about electronic cigarettes to date, Michael Felberbaum has done a tremendous job of clearing through the smoke created by the FDA press conference of last summer and presenting an accurate picture of the electronic cigarette issue to the public. In an Associated Press article appearing yesterday, Felberbaum doesn't merely repeat the misleading statements of the FDA on electronic cigarette safety, but instead presents a balanced and accurate picture of the relative safety of vaping compared to smoking.

Jason Healy, president of Blu cigarettes, sums it up wittily but perfectly when he states: "When you're talking about a product that's essentially Russian roulette, and the alternative is much, much better, you can imagine they're [vapers are] pretty happy. Up until e-cigs, there was quit or die."

The article mentions that "the FDA has said its tests found the liquid in electronic cigarettes contains substances known to be toxic to humans — besides nicotine, which is itself toxic in large doses — as well as carcinogens that occur naturally in the tobacco in cigarettes." However, it then presents the rest of the story:

"However, the level of those carcinogens was comparable to those found in nicotine replacement therapy like gum and patches, because the nicotine in all of the products is extracted from tobacco, said Dr. Michael Siegel, a professor at the Boston University School of Public Health. 'It's kind of deceptive to say, 'Oh, my God, there's carcinogens in there,'" Siegel said. "The importance is what level of carcinogens. It turns out that the levels are so low that they are 1,400 times lower than in (regular) cigarettes.'"

"Christian Berkey, CEO of Johnson Creek Smoke Juice, a Wisconsin company that makes the "juice" for e-cigarettes, said its products have only seven ingredients, none of which has ever been deemed unfit for human consumption. 'There's no combustion, and that's what it really comes down to,' said Berkey, who has asked the FDA to test its products and is awaiting results."

"And Siegel said that while e-cigarettes haven't been studied in clinical trials, the current evidence is 'sufficient to conclude that these products are much safer than smoking.'"

"Berkey and Healy said they are fine working with the FDA to regulate the products."

"'(The FDA) should be regulating it in a way that really allows the potential of the product to be realized rather than a way that just takes it off the market completely and puts an end to the possibility of what really could be a lifesaving product for many smokers,' Siegel said."

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