E-Cig Alarmists Are Ignoring How Helpful The Devices Are To Quit Smoking

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Steve Birr Vice Reporter
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Health officials in Tennessee echoed the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Monday, warning that electronic cigarettes are dangerous, ignoring evidence showing they help smokers quit.

“There’s a national drumbeat against electronic cigarettes, and the CDC is the leading champion for this demonization of a useful product,” Dr. Edward Anselm, senior fellow at the R Street Institute, told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “There are many challenges associated with the CDC’s war on e-cigarettes, and I don’t think its wrong to talk about a war on e-cigarettes.”

Since the surgeon general and CDC came out against e-cigarettes Dec. 8, state health officials and local lawmakers across the country have been turning up the heat on the industry. The Allegheny County Council in Pennsylvania voted in the first week of January to ban vaping in the workplace, sports stadiums, government building, buses, cabs or any other public indoor space. The effort is to relegate the use of e-cigarettes to areas where traditional smoking is allowed, all in the name of public health.

Critics of the federal stance against vaping say officials are ignoring the benefits of using the devices instead of cigarettes and their utility in helping current smokers quit. A survey published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health last year found 57.8 percent of practicing physicians recommend e-cigarettes to smokers trying to quit, although the push to cast public doubt on vaping may be impacting this number. (RELATED: Lawmakers Use Cigarette Arguments To Attempt To Ban Vaping)

“The CDC war on e-cigarettes is based on a precautionary principle, that is any harm reduction intervention, anything to help people, must be itself harmless,” Anselm told TheDCNF. “The Royal College of Physicians in England takes the position that harm reduction means that if we could reduce the harm to adults and minimize the challenge to kids, then we’ve achieved a really good thing.”

The surgeon general suggests applying the same rules and regulations governing traditional tobacco to e-cigarettes, due to what he deems are the negative impacts of vaping, particularly to America’s youth. Evidence to suggest a “gateway effect” to smoking among youth who vape however is sparse. A recent study from the Virginia Commonwealth University of 3,757 freshmen found vapers were no more likely to start smoking than people who do not use the devices.

Just six students from the body of thousands that participated switched from vaping to smoking cigarettes, while 20 students who began the study as smokers transitioned to vaping.

The United Kingdom actually promotes the sale of e-cigarettes as a health-conscious alternative to smoking. A study found nearly all of the 2.6 million e-cigarette users in the U.K. are former or current smokers — many of whom are using the device to quit.

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