FDA says Be Tobacco Free, as long as that doesn't include an e-cigarette!
I'm not sure what it is about the electronic cigarette that drives the anti smoking activists nuts, but I do have a few ideas. I'm sure that some of them are concerned about the potential health risks of the device, but there are a lot of behavioral choices out there that are "unproven" at best and potentially dangerous. Many of these things are not designed to replace another bad habit, but are instead an entirely new risk that is being introduced. And while you are not supposed to market electronic cigarettes as a smoking cessation device, one thing that nobody can deny is that both of these devices accomplish the same thing in different manners.
Cigarettes deliver nicotine (and a host of other chemicals) into your bloodstream by burning tobacco which releases the nicotine into a smoke that is inhaled. Electronic cigarettes heat up a liquid that contains nicotine and flavoring which releases the nicotine into a vapor that is inhaled. So if both of these devices are designed to do the same thing, then wouldn't it stand to reason that one would chose his or her preferred method over another? According to the FDA and their "Be Tobacco Free" website, no.
Although e-cigarettes may be marketed as a tool to help smokers quit, they have not been submitted for FDA evaluation or approval and there is no evidence to support those claims.
No evidence to support those claims? What about me? I smoked for 20 years, but 4 years ago I purchased an Njoy Npro and began my journey down the electronic cigarette path. My intention was to simply not smoke in my truck anymore, and this device helped me to do that. I would vape while I drove, and smoke outside of the truck. In May of this year, after getting some better devices, I realized that I was enjoying the electronic cigarette more than the traditional one, and I quit smoking entirely. I have not had another analogue cigarette since. I would say that if I guy who wasn't intending to quit smoking entirely managed to do so using the device, it might help out people who have a serious desire to quit smoking entirely. And while the FDA is unwilling to make that leap, they sure are willing to go the other way.
Nicotine is a highly addictive substance. Additionally, these products may be attractive to kids. Using e-cigarettes may lead kids to try other tobacco products—including conventional cigarettes—which are known to cause disease and lead to premature death.
So let me see if I have this straight. It is logical to conclude that electronic cigarettes will lead to the traditional ones, but it is not logical to conclude that traditional cigarettes could lead to electronic ones? I found this to be especially interesting being as I belong to a couple of community websites and forums that are full of active users who have used electronic cigarettes to "kick ash" and quit smoking. I decided to search for the online community that must be full of kids who are switching from the electronic version to the analog smoke, but as of yet I have not found these kids. They must be huddled together in front of a 7/11 looking for a creepy guy they can slip a $20 to so he will go inside and score them a pack of Granny Smith Apple cartos, huh?
As ridiculous as this sounds, understand that this is the idiotic notion that our FDA is pushing. And while they admit that cigarettes are "known to cause disease and lead to premature death" here is the best that they could muster against the electronic cigarette.
Because clinical studies about the safety of e-cigarettes have not been submitted to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), you have no way of knowing:
- If they are safe
- Which chemicals they contain
- How much nicotine you are inhaling
Translation? The only people on the planet capable of figuring out if e-cigs are safer than traditional ones work at the FDA, and they haven't seen the studies yet so they cannot tell you. But by the same token, since I didn't quit smoking in their lab they can neither confirm nor deny that I actually quit smoking and therefor there is no evidence that I quit, or that electronic cigarettes had anything to do with me quitting.
Now am I saying that the FDA should endorse a product that they have not studied? No. I am just asking for a little consistency in the way they address the subject. Would the following statement kill anyone? See what you think about this.
While the FDA has not studied electronic cigarettes and therefore cannot speak to their safety, it is undeniable that cigarettes are dangerous to the health of those who use them. Any method that helps a nicotine addict kick their cigarette addiction is a positive step. While we cannot endorse electronic cigarettes based on the information we currently have, we cannot deny the consumer testimonials that speak to the success users have had in smoking cessation. As with any other unapproved device, users assume all risks associated with the product.
This would make much more sense than denying the obvious pattern of smokers who have quit smoking by using the electronic cigarette, while simultaneously pushing the unproven notion that electronic cigarettes will cause non smokers to take up the smoking habit.