Published on June 24th, 2012 | by James0
Why the FDA Should Release Its Grip on E-Cigarettes
When it comes to potential risks, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is known for its “better safe than sorry” approach. If anything new has any amount of potential risk, they will send out warnings and restrictions until the cows come home.
While the FDA is certainly an organization that should air on the safe side of public health issues, there are certain issues where this policy hurts more than it helps. I’m talking about their treatment of electronic cigarettes. In their stance against allowing electronic cigarettes to be sold as a device that can help tobacco smokers quit, the FDA is only allowing deaths by tobacco to continue at its current alarming rate. We’ve compiled a list of reasons why electronic cigarettes should be allowed to run free as a bona fide method of quitting tobacco.
Nicotine Isn’t Itself a Killer
Just because nicotine is the addictive ingredient in tobacco doesn’t make it the main killer. In fact, nicotine has benefits much like America’s favorite drug Caffeine does. Here are some of the perceived benefits of nicotine according to : sharpness, relaxation, calmness and alertness. Smokers aren’t just puffing away on those cancer sticks because they’re ignorant and stupid – they want the effects that nicotine gives them.
The issue here is that the FDA has an abstinence-only attitude when it comes to nicotine. While it’s true that the world would be better if nobody consumer nicotine, this is is simply not possible. It is too addictive and has too many perceived positive effects for everybody that is currently addicted to just drop it and walk away. This is unfortunate but true. So if people are going to use nicotine regardless of these abstinence-only policies, shouldn’t the nicotine come in the safest form possible? Electronic cigarettes are basically harmless when compared to tobacco and they are more effective than nicotine gum, lozenges or patches. These devices offer a great opportunity for nicotine addicts to continue their habit without killing themselves, and I think that’s more important than continuing to try to rid society of nicotine altogether. Because that’s simply not working.
E-Cigarettes Actually Work
This is the most obvious reason of all. It is proven by various studies that electronic cigarettes are highly effective in helping people to quit smoking tobacco. Take this study by a team of experimenters at Italy’s University of Catania. They gave 40 full-out tobacco smokers an e-cigarette and observed the results.
The crazy part is that these smokers weren’t even going into the study intending to quit! They just wanted the free e-cigarette with the free nicotine inside of it! In the end, 9 out of the 40 participants had quit smoking tobacco cigarettes altogether. These are outstanding numbers, especially considering that the subjects had no intention of quitting their tobacco habits.
The subjects of this Italian study showed that electronic cigarettes are an extremely effective way to quit tobacco without sacrificing nicotine intake. But it’s important to note that 3 of the 9 that quit tobacco actually did quit nicotine as well! So it works not only as a tobacco quitting device but a nicotine cessation device. And most importantly of all, the subjects experienced much fewer bad side-effects when using the e-cigs compared to real cigs. The FDA doesn’t want to believe this but let’s take a look at their own studies.
The FDA E-Cigarette Studies are Full of Holes
The FDA releases this statement against electronic cigarettes in their Public Health newsletter:
“e-Cigarettes may contain ingredients that are known to be toxic to humans, and may contain other ingredients that may not be safe.” Notice how they use the word “may” twice, without actually citing any evidence to backup their claims. They haven’t done significant studies about electronic cigarettes and they would rather completely rule out their use than compare the risk to tobacco use. This doesn’t seem like a good enough justification for not giving e-cigarettes a chance.
So how do e-cigarettes compare to the real thing?
Well, the Harm Reduction Journal wrote a report about the side-effects of electronic versus tobacco cigarettes and had some very interesting findings. They documented all of the typical side-effects of smoking, including cancer, heart disease and stroke and described how e-cigarettes offer much improvement over tobacco. In fact, e-cigarettes eliminate pretty much every single nasty effect of tobacco smoking.
The journal reported that:
“E-cigarette users are not exposed to the many toxicants, carcinogens and abundant free radicals formed when tobacco is burned. Although laboratory studies have detected trace concentrations of some contaminants, it is a small problem amenable to improvements in quality control and manufacturing that are likely with FDA regulation as tobacco products.”
So not only are current e-cigarettes infinitely better than tobacco cigarettes, but with the FDA working on its side, it COULD really help eliminate the tobacco death epidemic forever. The Harm Reduction Journal wrote that Tobacco Harm Reduction (THR) products like e-cigarettes have “the potential to lead to one of the greatest public health breakthroughs in human history by fundamentally changing the forecast of a billion cigarette-caused deaths this century.”
Sometimes Its Worth it To Take A Risk
As you can tell, the FDA has a vested interest in supporting e-cigarettes. They are responsible for the health and well-being of the citizens of the United States, and allowing e-cigarettes to be used as tobacco harm reduction products is the obvious right choice. Their abstinence-only nicotine policy is only killing Americans and allowing evil tobacco to continue to mow down innocent nicotine users.
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