Saturday, March 22, 2014

E-Cigs: My Answer to Joanie!

By Rich Kozlovich

Former New York City, Mayor Michael Bloomberg went on another of his “I know best for what’s good for everyone” attacks on e-cigarettes, via his Health Department Commissioner, Tom Farley - apparently because he no longer believed he was a left wing billionaire mayor of NYC, but was in reality a previously unknown but eminent epidemiologist and a public health Ph.D., and so decided these devices might possibly pollute.

Part of FDA approved products on the market now contain nicotine such as gum, patches, and medications.  Then there are low-dose antidepressants, hypnosis, and acupuncture, and its acknowledged these current aids for quitting are not very effective, but there’s no effort to ban them.  So what’s the big difference?  Let’s state categorically that smoking is an addiction.  A chemical addiction and a cultural addiction, i.e., a habit!  One big difference is e-cigs duplicate not only the chemical dependence, but the habitual dependence of smoking, and has shown a much better degree of success.

At one point the NYC City Council decided that it would ban e-cigs everywhere real ones were excluded, invoking the “Smoke-free Air Act”.  First of all, vapor isn’t smoke.  Something the head of the health department refused to accept and insisted that he had to protect ‘innocent’ bystanders from the effect of these ‘toxic second hand vapors’, irrespective of all the science that shows there are no toxic ‘second hand vapors’ and - let's try and get this once and for all - vapor isn’t smoke! 

So the question that needs to be asked and answered is this; does the vapor from e-cigs contain chemicals and carcinogens ‘vapers’ and those around them need be concerned about?  Any compounds detected are lower than what’s found in nicotine patches, and represent a substantial relief from the harm of smoking tobacco.   There is no issue with second hand vapors. 

Activists are only good at finding fault, and scaring the bejeebers out of people with outrageous speculations.  They’re geniuses at speculation!  That’s the reason why they love the Precautionary Principle so much, because with the Precautionary Principle all you need is speculation no matter how loony.  As for finding solutions; they’re total busts!  And good science is alien to them except in when presenting falsehoods they claim to be good science.   

Activists against e-cigs use the same tactics as other activists.  They are not original because they’re always working around facts with emotional diatribes - over and over again.  They claim ‘we don’t know what’s in e-cigs’.   Well, that’s not true.  New laboratory analysis of ‘second hand vapor’ shows there are very few chemicals in the vapor and at low levels, including formaldehyde, which would appear at much higher levels if they were smoking tobacco.    

“This method’s safety is especially relevant when compared to the drugs approved for cessation, which not only have more adverse effects but also are much less effective than reduced-harm products, such as e-cigarettes and smokeless tobacco products.” Dr. Gilbert Ross

And after all this let’s put this in context.  You can still buy real cigarettes in NYC, and  I wouldn't be the least bit surprised to find out many of these people who are so hot to ban e-cigs are all for marijuana.  Does anyone besides me that sees a problem with cognitive dissonance here?

One of the things we also need to grasp is the concept of data dredging.  The CDC claimed there was a huge increase from 2011 and 2012 of middle and high school students becoming addicted to e-cigs, and let’s not lose site of the fact that nicotine is addictive irrespective of how it enters the body.  However, this report was deliberately misleading, and out of the three study categories the one that counts is the ‘daily use’ category, which the CDC left out.  The natural presumption then must then be daily use is so rare it wasn’t worth reporting because it would have delivered a message that wasn’t part of the politically correct narrative.   

Dr. Gilbert Ross notes, “The devotion to falsely impugning the benefits while exaggerating the risks–entirely hypothetical and alarmist–of e-cigarettes by Frieden’s CDC and other ‘public health’ officials is beyond irresponsible. It is harmful and malicious, and the effect will be to kill more, rather than fewer smokers. I can only hope these people will revert soon to science-based education for the public, or be held to account.”

Nicotine is addictive, but that’s not where the danger lies.  The danger lies in burning tobacco, which releases dangerous toxins into the body that are usually inhaled deeply into the lungs.  That’s why it called ‘smoking’!  E-cigs do not represent that kind of risk because there isn’t any combustion. 

Dr. Elizabeth Whelan noted;

“The sad truth is that the approved cessation methods have an abysmal one-year success rate, so alternative methods need to be explored……Unfortunately, many in the anti-smoking community won’t even discuss anything that contains, or is derived from, tobacco. Such an attitude consigns millions of addicted smokers to premature disease and death.

There are over 44 million smokers out there in need of workable solutions.  There is one solution that seems to work to a much larger degree than others - separating the smoke from the nicotine via e-cigs.  The addiction may remain, but since e-cigs fulfill the addiction cravings and the cultural craving, using e-cigs will seriously help those who want to quit, and will help save the lives of those who don’t.

Personally I want to say, quit whining and go cold turkey, because that’s how I did it. But then I force myself to go back and remember just how hard that was, and we already know that’s a solution with an extremely high failure rate.  There’s a phrase I use regarding this kind of thing.  If there is no alternative there is no problem.  At this point the alternatives are poor solutions, ergo, there is no problem. Let’s give this a chance, it represents a much higher degree of success, and better health for smokers. 
Editor's Note:  Both Drs. Elizabeth Whelan and Gil Ross are from the American Council on Science and Health, which was the source for much of this information. 

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