Thousands to return to cigarettes

Tens of thousands of people could return to using tobacco cigarettes if the results of a new survey are correct.

The survey asked 150 electronic cigarette smokers what they would do if the electronic cigarette was banned.

Nearly two thirds said they would return to cigarettes.

And over 80% said they would buy the device, if given the chance, on the black market.

The results, if extrapolated to all smokers who have switched to e-cigarette, could see thousands either returning back to the cigarettes or buying unregulated devices on the black market.

For the full results see Electronic Cigarette Ban survey.

Professor: E-Cigarette Safer than Regular cigarettes, FDA Study is Propoganda

In a recent interview with Carl Phillips, Associate Professor at the University of Alberta in Canada, told us that the electronic cigarette was an order of magnitude safer than regular cigarettes and that an FDA study into the electronic cigarette was “pure propoganda”.

The electronic cigarette carried, he estimated, around one percent of the risk of regular cigarettes.

While he acknowledged that the electronic cigarette carried traces of carcinogens, he pointed out that banning the electronic cigarette based on the very low levels of carcinogens contained within would also mean “banning half the foods available.”

Given that, he argued, the FDA’s stance on the electronic cigarette was motivated by propoganda and not by science.

You can read the full interview here: Electronic Cigarette Interview with Carl Phillips.

Professor: Tobacco Free Kids Will Help Kill Millions

In a letter to ECigarette Direct, Brad Radu, a professor of medicine and holder of an endowed chair in tobacco harm reduction research at the University of Louisville, criticizes Tobacco Free Kids for opposing safe alternatives to smoking and for supporting the Kennedy tobacco bill due to enter the senate next week.

According to the Professor, the stance taken by the organization was not a rational position but a moralistic one:

“There is no public health justification for denying smokers information about and access to safer sources of tobacco and nicotine. But the war against tobacco, conducted by Tobacco Free Kids and their allies, is not about public health. It has become the latest in a long line of misguided American moral crusades.”

The letter was itself a comment upon an open letter to Tobacco Free Kids, which the Professor predicted there would be no reply to. He was also gloomy on the prospects of the Kennedy tobacco bill being defeated, remarking:

“The American legislative process is closed to all but a few powerful interests, who will soon be gloating over their “success” in passing FDA regulation of tobacco.”

Ultimately, the professor thought, the actions of groups like Tobacco Free Kids and similar groups would costs lives.

“I am convinced that these anti-tobacco extremists will eventually be held partially responsible for the deaths of millions of uninformed smokers.”

We forwarded both the open letter and Brad Radu’s reply to Tobacco Free Kids, but have yet to receive a comment.

What do you think? Is the position of the bodies like Tobacco Free Kids a blind crusade against tobacco, or a practical stance taken to protect the young against the dangers of nicotine addiction?

Electronic Cigarette Interview with Dr Joel Nitzkin

Based on existing evidence the electronic cigarette carries less than one percent of the risks of regular cigarettes and possible as little of the one tenth of one percent of the danger of normal cigarettes. This is what Dr Joel Nitzkin, Chair of the Tobacco Control Task Force for the American Association of Public Health Physicians, told us in a detailed interview on the electronic cigarette, its safety and thedevastating potential effect of the upcoming tobacco bill.

The estimates of the safety of the electronic cigarettes have been made by comparing them with equivalent substances which also deliver nicotine with tobacco combustion:

“…the safest of the tobacco products are what they call snus. And the literature on snus, which is evaluated on our website, basically shows that in the best of the epidemiological studies available today snus doesn’t increase any cause of death. So that means if there is a health hazard there it is smaller than can be measured with these studies, and with that in mind we would figure that a tobacco product that is delivered with just the nicotine and without any of the other toxic chemicals should be at least as safe.”

There are, Dr Nitzkin admitted, ongoing concerns. In particular, ongoing quality control of the products is required to make sure that the products are not contaminated by cancer causing substances. However, the answer to these concerns is not the tobacco bill which would, by requiring research that is simply not feasible, ensure a defacto ban on products which are at least a hundred times safer than regular cigarettes.

The problem with the research that would be required by the bill is not only the timescale (at least a decade) and the cost (tens of millions) but the risks associated with the trials.

“Now the problems with controlled and clinical trials is that it would be a physical impossibility to do that research. Why would it be physically impossible? Because it would involve recruiting a large number, probably several thousand, non smokers, and then getting them to agree to be randomised into one or two or more groups. One of these groups would smoke cigarettes which clearly poses a severe health hazard, and others would test various smokeless products, including e-cigarettes.”

No American Academic Center, Dr Nitzkin went on to explain, would allow a product that was known to be hazardous but was unlikely to have a therapeutic effect on the patient to be tested. As a result the effect of the tobacco ban will be a permanent ban on electronic cigarettes as well as other alternative products:

“They’ll say well, you can’t sell the cigarettes until you can show you have completed these studies to the satisfaction of the food and drug administration and if the studies are impossible to conduct you simply have the products banned. Period.”

The effects of the ban would be devastating. Dr Nitzkin estimated that if every smoker changed to e-cigarettes the death toll caused by smoking related diseases would eventually fall from 400,000 to between 400-4000.
Even if every man, woman and child in America became addicted to e-cigarettes, the doctor pointed out, using the worst case scenario the death toll would be 20,000 – still a fraction of the current toll.

You can read the full interview here: Electronic Cigarette Interview with Dr Joel Nitzkin.