Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Anti-Smoking Group Claims that Electronic Cigarettes are Deadly and Lies to Public; Scientific Integrity of Anti-Smoking Groups Has Imploded

A national anti-smoking group has publicly claimed that electronic cigarettes are deadly.

In a communication that was apparently sent out to its constituents, Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) asserts that electronic cigarettes are deadly due to the nicotine, propylene glycol, carcinogens, and other toxins delivered to the user. ASH also implies that the electronic vapor can be deadly to non-users.

According to the communication: "Long after nonsmokers like you helped ASH ban smoking on airplanes -- first on short flights, then all domestic ones, and finally on international ones -- smoking on airplanes is back. But this time passengers are smoking e-cigarettes [e-cigs] that emit a deadly mixture of nicotine (an addictive drug which contributes to heart attacks), propylene glycol (a respiratory irritant which can cause respiratory tract infections), and a wide variety of carcinogens and toxins."

ASH also claims that vaping on airplanes leads to the formation and deposition of extremely potent cancer-causing chemicals on seats and carpeting of airplanes which exposes passengers:

"This comes at a time when new research shows that nicotine emitted by e-cigs combines with chemicals in the air to form extremely potent cancer-causing chemicals which adhere to surfaces like seats and carpeting where they linger and further expose unsuspecting passengers."

ASH further asserts that people near vapers are forced to inhale nicotine and tobacco-specific nitrosamines:

"We all fought long and hard for the right to inhale air free from tobacco smoke, but here we are again being forced to inhale nicotine and deadly carcinogenic tobacco-specific nitrosamines."

The Rest of the Story

ASH claims that electronic cigarettes are deadly. I challenge ASH to identify a single death caused by electronic cigarettes, either by "active vaping" or "passive vaping" (being next to someone who is vaping).

After all, deadly means that the product is killing people -- or at very least, one person.

ASH also claims that research has shown that vaping on airplanes results in the formation of carcinogens that adhere to surfaces and expose subsequent passengers. This is an outright lie. There is no such evidence. No study has ever been done which documents that vaping results in the formation of carcinogens that adhere to surfaces, and no study has ever been done which documents that vaping on airplanes results in the deposition of such carcinogens or to carcinogen exposure among passengers.

ASH's claim that people near vapers are exposed to nicotine and tobacco-specific nitrosamines is unsupported by any scientific evidence. There is no study that has ever demonstrated that "second-hand vaping" results in nicotine or carcinogen exposure.

I strongly criticize ASH for supporting a ban on vaping in public places by lying to its constituents and by grossly distorting the science. Not only is this tactic morally objectionable, but it also undermines the credibility of the entire tobacco control movement.

Coming on the heels of my revelations that a large number of other prominent, national anti-smoking organizations are lying to the public (including the FDA, Surgeon General's office, and Americans for Nonsmokers' Rights), this story makes it compellingly clear that the scientific integrity of the anti-smoking movement is imploding.

This deeply saddens me, as there was a time when we in tobacco control took our scientific integrity very seriously. Those times are apparently long gone.

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