What's Wrong with E-Cigarettes?

3,935,612 Views
May 8, 2017

Are e-cigarettes a safe alternative to cigarettes? Could they help millions of smokers quit smoking? If so, why would anti-tobacco activists oppose e-cigarettes? Get the truth about e-cigarettes in this short video.

Draconian regulations on e-cigarettes hurt the millions of smokers who might make the switch if the market were allowed to flourish.

  • The FDA’s draconian regulations on the e-cigarette industry will lead to the closure of all but the largest e-cigarette companies. By regulating and shrinking the industry, the FDA is standing in the way of a life-saving innovation.View Source
  • Research conducted by Public Health England concluded that e-cigarettes are 95% safer than smoking.View Source
  • A recent study estimated that e-cigarettes could reduce tobacco-related deaths by 21%.View Source
  • WATCH: American Enterprise Institute’s Sally Satel on e-cigarettes regulations.View Source

While e-cigarettes are not perfectly safe, they are a much safer alternative to cigarettes and an effective smoking-cessation product.

  • Research conducted by Public Health England concluded that e-cigarettes are 95% safer than smoking.View Source
  • A recent study estimated that e-cigarettes could reduce tobacco-related deaths by 21%.View Source
  • By regulating and shrinking the e-cigarette industry, the FDA is standing in the way of a life-saving innovation.View Source
  • WATCH: American Enterprise Institute’s Sally Satel on e-cigarettes regulations.View Source

The real harm of smoking comes from tobacco combustion. E-cigarettes contain no tobacco. Research shows they are 95% safer than cigarettes.

  • “Combustible tobacco” has been identified as the chief source of health concerns related to smoking.View Source
  • The formaldehyde component of cigarette smoke is one of the most dangerous, but presents an insignificant risk in e-cigarettes.View Source
  • Research conducted by Public Health England concluded that e-cigarettes are 95% safer than smoking.View Source
  • By regulating and shrinking the e-cigarette industry, the FDA is standing in the way of a life-saving innovation.View Source

Any potential risk posed by e-cigarettes is far outweighed by the products’ proven ability to get people to stop smoking real cigarettes.  

  • E-cigarettes contain no tobacco, tar, or any of the most harmful components of cigarettes. The only drug e-cigarettes do contain is nicotine, which does not appear to have significant harmful impacts.View Source
  • Research conducted by Public Health England concluded that e-cigarettes are 95% safer than smoking.View Source
  • A recent study estimated that e-cigarettes could reduce tobacco-related deaths by 21%.View Source
  • By regulating and shrinking the e-cigarette industry, the FDA is standing in the way of a life-saving innovation.View Source

The one drug e-cigarettes contain is nicotine, a mild stimulant that is addictive but does not pose much of a health risk on its own. 

  • E-cigarettes contain no tobacco, tar, or any of the most harmful components of cigarettes. The only drug e-cigarettes do contain is nicotine, which does not appear to have significant harmful impacts.View Source
  • Nicotine has been shown to act as a mild stimulant very much like caffeine – it improves sensory information and eases tension.View Source
  • Nicotine’s contribution to the risk of smoking has been shown to be insignificant at best.View Source
  • By regulating and shrinking the e-cigarette industry, the FDA is standing in the way of a life-saving innovation.View Source
  • WATCH: American Enterprise Institute’s Sally Satel on e-cigarettes regulations.View Source

Current FDA rules will force the closure of thousands of e-cigarette businesses, despite them being a far safer alternative to smoking.

  • The FDA’s draconian regulations on the e-cigarette industry will lead to the closure of all but the largest e-cigarette companies. By regulating and shrinking the industry, the FDA is standing in the way of a life-saving innovation.View Source
  • Research conducted by Public Health England concluded that e-cigarettes are 95% safer than smoking.View Source
  • A recent study estimated that e-cigarettes could reduce tobacco-related deaths by 21%.View Source
  • WATCH: American Enterprise Institute’s Sally Satel on e-cigarettes regulations.View Source

Research shows that e-cigarettes are 95% safer than smoking, yet the government treats them just like real cigarettes. 

  • Research conducted by Public Health England concluded that e-cigarettes are 95% safer than smoking.View Source
  • E-cigarettes contain no tobacco, tar, or any of the most harmful components of cigarettes. The only drug e-cigarettes do contain is nicotine, which does not appear to have significant harmful impacts.View Source
  • By regulating and shrinking the e-cigarette industry, the FDA is standing in the way of a life-saving innovation.View Source
  • WATCH: American Enterprise Institute’s Sally Satel on e-cigarettes regulations.View Source

FDA rules on e-cigarettes could harm public health. A study found that e-cigarettes could reduce tobacco-related deaths by over 20%. 

  • Research published in the journal Nicotine and Tobacco Research estimated that e-cigarettes could reduce tobacco-related deaths by 21%.View Source
  • Research conducted by Public Health England concluded that e-cigarettes are 95% safer than smoking.View Source
  • By regulating and shrinking the e-cigarette industry, the FDA is standing in the way of a life-saving innovation.View Source
  • WATCH: American Enterprise Institute’s Sally Satel on e-cigarettes regulations.View Source

Imagine if there were an alternative to smoking cigarettes.

Imagine this alternative could help millions of people quit smoking and came with only a fraction of the harmful chemicals that cigarettes do. 

Well, you don’t have to imagine it. It exists.

E-cigarettes are the most innovative and promising smoking-cessation product yet invented. So, public health officials and anti-tobacco activists are all in favor of this life-saving innovation, right?

Actually, they’re almost all totally against it.

Why?

Because, incredibly, they make no substantial distinction between e-cigarettes and real cigarettes -- even though they are completely different products.

To begin with, e-cigarettes aren’t cigarettes. They contain no tobacco. Instead, a liquid containing nicotine derived from tobacco leaves is vaporized, and users of e-cigarettes inhale that vapor. Vapor, mind-you – not smoke.

This is significant because the real harm from tobacco comes from the combustion process, which releases hundreds of toxic compounds known as tar. Since e-cigarettes have no tobacco and no combustion, they release no tar. This makes them, according to Britain’s Department of Health, at least 95% less harmful than tobacco cigarettes.

E-cigarettes do contain nicotine, an addictive drug. However, there is little evidence that nicotine alone is bad for you, making it similar to, say, caffeine--a drug used every day by millions of people.

Brad Rodu, an oral cancer specialist at the University of Louisville, put it this way: “I love coffee, and I’m sure I could get caffeine if I smoked my coffee beans…but I would be paying a much different price in overall health [if I did].”

In other words, when it comes to addictive substances like caffeine or nicotine, it isn’t the addictive substance that’s harmful; it’s how it’s delivered. As South African psychiatrist Mike Russell said about cigarettes: “[People] smoke for [the] nicotine, but they die from the tar.”

And again, there’s no tar in e-cigarettes.

Does this all mean e-cigarettes are completely safe? Of course not. Nothing is completely safe. E-cigarettes are a relatively new innovation so more research is needed, especially on long-term effects. There’s also a place for sensible regulation to ensure consumer safety.

But unlike normal everyday products, any potential risk posed by e-cigarettes is far outweighed by a real – not potential – good: saving lives by providing the nicotine that smokers enjoy without delivering the deadly toxins that can kill them.

Many former smokers have successfully used e-cigarettes to help them kick their nicotine addiction altogether. A recent study in an Oxford Journal peer-reviewed publication, Nicotine and Tobacco Research, said that e-cigarettes could reduce smoking-related deaths by 21 percent. That’s thousands of lives every year.

John Britton, an epidemiologist and director of the University of Nottingham’s Center for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies, is even more optimistic:

“[E-cigarettes are] the first genuinely new way of helping people stop smoking that has come along in decades…[They] have the potential to help half or more of all smokers get off cigarettes.”

So, again, you’d think public health officials and anti-tobacco groups would be doing everything they could to encourage smokers to switch to e-cigarettes.

Instead, they push for laws and rules that equate the two products: cigarettes are bad, so e-cigarettes must also be bad. As of August 2016, the US Food and Drug Administration has ruled that all e-cigarettes must go through a long and expensive application process. This process could end up costing as much as $1 million per new product.

While some of the biggest manufacturers will be able to shoulder the costs and navigate the regulatory mess, most small e-cigarette companies will be forced out of business. With less competition, e-cigarettes will become more expensive, and many people will go right back to smoking.

E-cigarette prohibitionists may think they’re using a “better-safe-than-sorry” approach to save consumers from some yet-to-be-discovered danger, but they’re not.

They’re actually endangering millions of smokers who would make the switch if the e-cigarette market were allowed to flourish.

As Joe Nocera, a New York Times columnist, wrote:

“Equating smoking cigarettes with inhaling e-cigarettes...is a huge disservice to public health. On the scale of potential harms, e-cigarettes aren’t even in the same ballpark as combustible cigarettes. They have the potential to save millions of lives.”

The government needs to develop a new paradigm for dealing with e-cigarettes - one that ensures basic standards but recognizes their relative safety and immense benefit to public health.

If they don’t, more people will die.

Imagine that.

I’m Caroline Kitchens of the R Street Institute for Prager University.

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