Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Why Does the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease Want to Prohibit Advertisements that Encourage Smokers to Quit?

Although one would think that the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (the Union) would be against lung disease, one wouldn't know it after reading its recommendation that all advertising and promotion of electronic cigarettes for smoking cessation be banned.

In a position statement on electronic cigarettes, the Union makes the following two recommendations:

(1) a comprehensive ban on all advertising, promotion and sponsorship; and

(2) promotion of ECs/ENDS for tobacco cessation to be prohibited.

These recommendations are based, in part, on the Union's conclusion that electronic cigarettes may be no safer than cigarette smoking (see page 3 of the document). 

The Rest of the Story

Why bother with a 29-page, supposedly scientific review of the evidence when you are going to in essence conclude that electronic cigarettes may be no less hazardous than smoking?

The Union warns that the use of electronic cigarettes "is commonly believed by consumers to be safer than smoking tobacco." It then goes on to speak of this relative safety as being "illusive."  Thus, it is implying that electronic cigarettes are no safer than smoking.

The Union states: "As ENDS do not generate the smoke that is associated with the combustion of tobacco, their use is commonly believed by consumers to be safer than smoking tobacco. This illusive ‘safety’ of ENDS can be enticing to consumers; however, the chemicals used in electronic cigarettes have not been fully disclosed, and there are no adequate data on their emissions."

Beyond this absurd conclusion, the position statement is disturbing because of its recommendation that advertisements which promote smoking cessation (via the use of electronic cigarettes) be banned. Why ban ads that entice people to quit smoking? I can certainly understand calling on regulation of electronic cigarette advertising to make sure that it does not attract youth, but to ban all electronic cigarette advertising would be a public health disaster, as it would significantly increase the proportion of smokers in the population, and with that, the burden of smoking-related disease and death.

1 comment:

Blogger said...

I got my first electronic cigarette kit on Vaporfi, and I enjoy it a lot.