If you’ve googled ‘electronic cigarettes’ anytime in the past 3 years you’ll have noticed two very strongly opposed voices stating their opinion on this disruptive new product. Unfortunately, the detractors often shout the loudest, thanks to their positions of power and deep pockets, which is consequently echoed around the world by lazy journalists looking for catchy a headline.
Nevertheless, there are thousands of passionate doctors, academics and vapers who are dedicated to disproving the alarmist propaganda spread by those who stand to lose billions of dollars when e-cigarettes are proven beyond all doubt to be the single greatest health innovation of the 21st century.
Below I’ll address some of the most common fallacies used in an attempt to scare smokers away from switching to electronic cigarettes so you can make an informed decision for yourself.
They Don’t Work
3 million plus users around the world strongly suggest that they do and there’s a plethora of studies that show e-cigarettes are more effective than existing nicotine replacement therapies (gums, patches etc) which are proven to be up to 95% unsuccessful in helping smokers quit. BLACKHAWX is not a quit smoking aid and makes no claims of any therapeutic benefits.
They are Unsafe
It’s important to clarify that nothing is 100% safe and this includes e-cigarettes. The important message here is that e-cigarettes, from what we know about the ingredients in them are estimated by scientists to be around 100 times safer than tobacco cigarettes. Their risk level has been compared to that of caffeine.
In 2011, The FDA (The US Food and Drug Administration) released a statement relating to the approved smoking cessation drug Chantix which had been linked to over 500 deaths, suicidal tendencies and heart attacks. The FDA said that “the drug’s benefits outweigh the risks”. Electronic cigarettes have been available for nearly the same amount of time as Chantix without reports of significant adverse reactions or deaths. Surely the benefits of e-cigarettes significantly outweigh the almost insignificant risks? E-cigarettes have the potential to save over 5 million lives every year yet faceless organisations continue to spread their half-truths and alarmist agendas in an attempt to gain control of the multi-billion dollar e-cigarette market for themselves.
We Don’t Know the Long Term Effects
Smoking related illnesses are caused by combustion - the actual burning of dried tobacco leaves. There is no combustion with e-cigarettes but rather vapour produced via propylene glycol, vegetable glycerine and nicotine. These ingredients are considered GRAS (generally regarded as safe) by the FDA and are found in consumer items such as toothpaste and icecream!
Granted there have been no long term studies completed on vaping yet, but are we really supposed to wait 30 years to see what happens to a small control group while tens of millions of smokers die when we have credible evidence that vaping is significantly safer than smoking?
Studies Have Shown that E-cigarettes Contain Toxic Chemicals
The media had a field day when a French consumer magazine released a report which claimed they found harmful chemicals in e-cigarette vapour. Alarmist headlines such as “E-cigarettes are as harmful as cigarettes and could cause cancer, claims study” and worse, were shouted from the desks of lazy journalists all over the world. What the article and subsequent ‘news’ stories didn’t mention was that the levels of these contaminants were significantly lower than those found in approved pharmaceutical nicotine inhalers and orders of magnitude lower than the levels found in tobacco cigarettes. Legitimate peer reviewed studies from academic professors (not magazines), such as Dr. Igor Burstyn of Drexel University, have found that the level of chemicals reported in these studies are well below a level that is of concern.
E-cigarettes Could Cause Cancer
Whilst some research has found trace amounts of nitrosamines in e-cig vapor, which in cases of high exposure are known to cause cancer, the levels found were extremely low and unlikely to lead to cancer. To give you an idea, e-cigarette vapour contains nearly the exact same level of nitrosamines as widely-available (and approved) nicotine patches and approximately 1300 times less nitrosamines than a tobacco cigarette.
In October the World Health Organisation will meet to discuss the possibility of including e-cigarettes into the framework convention on tobacco control which would force member countries to adopt drastic measures including high taxes, an advertising ban and restrictions of use in public places. These measures will essentially stifle the growth of e-cigarettes without any hard evidence of them posing a health risk and as a result the opportunity to potentially save tens of millions of lives will be lost.
Former WHO Cabinet Director, Derek Yach, who played the lead role in the development of the framework convention of tobacco control during his tenure was one of the 53 leading scientists and public health advocates who recently wrote to the WHO urging them to resist taking such drastic measures against e-cigarettes.
Clearly there are greater forces at play.
It’s unclear what the future holds for e-cigarettes, but here at BLACKHAWX we’ll continue to push for evidence based, intelligent discussion. Speaking from first-hand experience, vaping has changed my life for the better and I believe it would be a global tragedy if the loudest voices get their way.