Iowa Attorney General Champions Vaping And Slays E-Cigarette Myths

Guy Bentley | Research Associate, Reason Foundation

Iowa’s Attorney General Tom Miller delivered vapers a much needed Christmas gift with a strong defense of e-cigarettes by way of a Dec. 23 press release.

As far as Miller is concerned, the facts are clear.

“The harm of the combustible cigarette is dramatically greater than the harm of the e-cigarette. The combustible cigarette is by far the most harmful consumer product known to mankind, killing 480,000 people each year in the United States alone,” Miller said in a press release.

He went on to cite the safety of e-cigarettes compared to regular tobacco cigarettes with one panel of experts estimating the devices are 95 percent less harmful and another estimate suggesting e-cigs are 90-98 percent less harmful.

Miller’s statement focused on dismantling the growing public perception that e-cigarettes carry severe health risks and may even be as dangerous as regular cigarettes.

“There has been an effort to say that combustible cigarettes and e-cigarettes are equally harmful, that their companies are equally evil, and that they should be strongly regulated the same way. This view is incorrect, but it has gotten significant traction,” said Miller.

 According to a poll included with the Iowa AG’s statement, almost one-third of Americans believe tobacco cigarettes and e-cigarettes are equally harmful. Miller argues there could be as many as 13 million adult smokers who believe the two products to be equally harmful, and will, therefore, be very unlikely to switch even though it could save their lives.

Miller warned public health officials to be aware of how their messages will be received and to keep in mind unintended consequences.

“People making misstatements about e-cigarettes have the best of intentions — to keep kids from being addicted to nicotine through e-cigarettes. But adults misleading kids to get them to do what we want has always been a failed strategy.”

But Miller’s message may have come too late for Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel who has launched an all out offensive against e-cigarettes.

In conjunction with the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH), the mayor’s public information and social media campaign aims to highlight “the highly addictive nature of nicotine” and the “toxic chemicals and poison found in e-liquids.”

The CDPH also claims that “vaping devices such as e-cigarettes being unregulated at the federal level.”  Emanuel was joined by Dr. Robert A. Winn, Director of the University of Illinois Cancer Center, who claimed “widespread use of e-cigarettes is re-normalizing smoking in our society, which makes this a very pertinent public health issue.”

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