Dr. Ross to NY Senate: Don't Ban E-Cigarettes

Dear Senators:

Speaking for The American Council on Science and Health (ACSH, www.acsh.org), a consumer education and advocacy nonprofit devoted to sound public health policy based on science, we most strongly opposed any consideration of a ban on the sales/marketing of electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes, or ENDS--electronic nicotine delivery systems) in the State of New York. This proposal, by Sen. Hannon (S07635), is not only NOT a benefit to public health, it is in fact directly counter to it.

On the other hand, ACSH fully supports Senator Johnson's bill, S02926B , which would bar sales of ENDS (e-cigarettes) to minors.

Smokers are generally strongly addicted to this lethal habit--not only to the nicotine, but to the whole behavioral pattern of smoking. Whereas the commonly-used, FDA-approved methods--patches, gums, medications--work only infrequently, e-cigarettes nearly replicate the behavior of smoking and supply nicotine as well. While the totality of the data are still being accumulated, clearly this technique has a high likelihood of truly helping addicted smokers quit, before it's too late. Concerns have been raised about "chemicals" and "carcinogens" in ENDS vapor, but the levels of these detected do not pose a health threat and are in fact lower than can be found in nicotine patches, etc.

And consider the alternative: e-cigs. are clearly far less toxic than cigarettes. Smoking cigarettes for 2 months is more harmful than inhaling e-cigarette vapor for years.

There is also no real basis for concern that young people who do not smoke might decide to take up e-cigs; this is a phantasm raised by those with an agenda against e-cigs.

Why ban a safe and useful product, while leaving the most dangerous product--cigarettes--available on every street corner and in every drug store? That would make no sense. Please do not abandon the over-250,000 New Yorkers who used ENDS to become ex-smokers, to their fate toxic, lethal cigarettes which they will resort to if e-cigarettes are banned.

Thank you.

Gilbert Ross M.D.

for the American Council on Science and Health