Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Former Surgeon General Joins Board of Directors of Electronic Cigarette Company

NJOY - a leading electronic cigarette company - has announced that former Surgeon General Dr. Richard Carmona has joined its Board of Directors and will serve as chair of its Scientific Advisory Board. Dr. Carmona served as Surgeon General from 2002-2006, a period during which he released a landmark report on the health effects of secondhand smoke.

According to the company's press release: "“Dr. Carmona is an important addition to NJOY’s Board and we are pleased that he has agreed to serve in this valuable role for our company,” said Craig Weiss, Chief Executive Officer of NJOY. “His expertise will be critical as we look to enhance our efforts to ensure cohesive and effective regulation in the category and raise awareness about e-cigarettes as a viable alternative for adult tobacco consumers. At NJOY, we are proud to be a leader in this process and believe our products have the potential to render traditional cigarettes obsolete.”

“NJOY is a clear and responsible leader in the growing and important electronic cigarette industry and I have been impressed with their commitment to science. They have a clear vision of the importance that ongoing scientific dialogue and research will play in shaping the regulatory and public health landscape today and in the future,” said Dr. Carmona. “I believe that it is essential that we provide adult smokers with high-quality, innovative alternatives to traditional cigarettes. The current data indicate that electronic cigarettes may have a very meaningful harm reduction potential, and NJOY is committed to the further development of the science in this area. I look forward to working with NJOY in this important capacity.”"

The Rest of the Story

This is an important story because it represents one of the first "mainstream" anti-smoking advocates endorsing electronic cigarettes as a viable harm reduction strategy in tobacco control. It immediately gives electronic cigarettes increased credibility and respect as a strategy for smoking cessation and forces anti-smoking groups, researchers, and the FDA to take these products seriously as a meaningful new strategy to reduce tobacco use.

As NJOY has made clear, electronic cigarette companies are committed to the ultimate goal of rendering "traditional cigarettes obsolete." By definition, the very purpose of these products is to attract smokers away from using cigarettes. This basic point is still misunderstood by many anti-smoking advocates, groups, and researchers.

Hopefully, the appointment of Dr. Carmona to the Board of NJOY will help wake up the tobacco control movement and force it to re-think its ideological opposition to a strategy that has a great potential to save lives and reduce disease.

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