Tuesday, November 19, 2019

American Medical Association Calls for Removal of the Main Competitors to Cigarettes from the Market

In a resolution that is the most dangerous health-related policy proposal from a medical or health organization that I have seen in my career, the American Medical Association (AMA) today called for the complete removal from the market of the #1 competitor to Big Tobacco profits. The resolution also calls for hundreds of thousands of ex-smokers to return to smoking and for the removal from the market of a critical off-ramp that has helped 2.5 million American smokers to quit for good. In addition, the resolution calls for the creation of a dangerous new black market for e-cigarettes and e-liquids.

If this sounds crazy, let me assure you that this is not a re-publication of an Onion article.

In fact, it is true that today, the American Medical Association called for the complete and immediate removal of all electronic cigarettes from the market. Since e-cigarettes are the #1 threat to the consumption of real tobacco cigarettes, this recommendation would remove the greatest competitor to cigarette sales and would therefore represent a huge gift to Big Tobacco.

In calling for an e-cigarette ban, the AMA is also calling for hundreds of thousands of ex-smokers to return to smoking since that is the effect that such a policy would have on a large proportion of the 2.5 million ex-smokers who currently rely upon e-cigarettes to stay off of the real ones.

In addition, the AMA is calling for the creation of a new, dangerous black market for e-cigarettes and e-liquids because the overwhelming majority of those vapers who do not return to cigarette smoking will turn instead to the black market in an act of desperation to avoid having to go back to smoking.

The Rest of the Story

I'm sorry to have to say this, but right now the AMA is a great threat to the health of the public. Don't let this organization fool you. This has nothing to do with protecting the public's health. It is all about gaining publicity and political advantage for the organization. 

How do we know that the AMA is not being sincere?

Because the AMA president gave the following as the justification for the recommendation:

"It’s simple – we must keep nicotine products out of the hands of young people."

If it is imperative that we keep nicotine products out of the hands of young people, then why in the world did the AMA not call for a ban on the sale of all real cigarettes as well?

There is absolutely no way in which the AMA can justify calling for a ban on e-cigarettes while allowing real tobacco cigarettes to stay on the market. While e-cigarettes have not killed anyone, tobacco cigarettes kill more than 400,000 people each year. It is therefore ludicrous that the AMA is calling for a ban on the fake cigarettes while allowing the real ones to remain!

I defy anyone who is an AMA member to provide a public health justification for banning e-cigarettes but not cigarettes.

There simply is none.

This is a misguided resolution that has no public health justification, would do immense public health damage, and would substantially increase cigarette consumption in this country. It is a huge gift to Big Tobacco.

The AMA has a long and sordid history of promoting tobacco use through the help it has provided to Big Tobacco, but this resolution takes the cake. It takes the cake because it is now 2019, and we should be long past the point of cowing down to Big Tobacco. But the AMA has done exactly that.

The AMA should be ashamed of itself for being willing to call for a ban on e-cigarettes, but not touching the real cigarettes that are killing hundreds of thousands of Americans each year and which are still the number one cause of preventable death.

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