ACSH's Dr. Gilbert Ross and videographer director Ana Simovska spent a most productive morning session yesterday with four officials associated with the NYC Council. Also participating in the educational session that seemed to go on and on, as the legislative assistants soaked up much e-cigarette-related data, was Spike Babaian, devoted vaping exponent and co-proprietor of Manhattan's first retail e-cigarette shop, Vape New York.
The ACSH "delegates" provided the City folks with copies of our publications on harm reduction, "Helping Smokers Quit," both the booklet version and the glossy foldout, "What's the Story?". We pointed out that we had presented much the same information to the FDA's advisory committee on modified risk tobacco products, most recently this past April 30th.
Dr. Ross said, "I firmly believe that henceforth, these folks, one of whom is the Counsel to the NYC Council, will be a resource for their colleagues and help to counter the nonsense and ignorance which often leads to counterproductive legislation and regulation." A video made right afterwards will be posted to accompany our upcoming project on "E-Cigarettes."
The timing of a potentially-important "Viewpoint" piece in this week's JAMA could not have been better, it seemed, given our dialogue yesterday with the NYC Council folks. Entitled The Regulatory Challenge of Electronic Cigarettes, the piece was co-written by UCSF's Dr. Neal Benowitz, who resigned from the FDA's tobacco advisory committee, and Maciej L. Goniewicz, PhD, of the Roswell Park Cancer Institute.
Unfortunately (but unsurprisingly), the authors hewed closely to the "party line," summoning the usual suspect bugaboos: enticing children, traces of contaminants, dangers of second-hand vapor, etc., etc. The worst of their many misleading statements were of this ilk: "Industry has been aggressively marketing e-cigarettes with claims of health benefit compared with smoking tobacco cigarettes, for reducing and quitting smoking....The net result of industry marketing and consumer advocacy has been a substantial increase in the use of the product."
Dr. Ross again: "What 'industry,' I wonder? The authors themselves noted that there are about 250 e-cigarette companies, yet I am unaware of an active industry group with uniform goals. And if any of these firms were caught actually marketing (aggressively or subtly) the devices as 'health beneficial' or 'reducing or quitting smoking,' they would be in violation of the Federal tobacco control law, as they would be if they marketed to minors. I saw no examples of this referenced in this propaganda piece posing as science par for the course, unfortunately."