A pseudo-debate on the editorial page of Monday's USA Today purports to clarify the issues swirling around e-cigarettes. Of course, the scales are tilted just a bit by the editorial choice of proponent for the Pro side: Lorillard CEO Murray Kessler. Never mind that Mr. Kessler s points in contrast to the USA Today staff product, which was likely ghost-written by the CDC and Matt Myers are spot-on correct. How can an executive with one of the oldest and largest of the Big Tobacco malefactors of the last century be given any credence in the court of public opinion? He could have been advocating Motherhood and Apple Pie and still suffer slings and arrows from the officials and nonprofits who hate anything even vaguely tobacco- or cigarette-related.
So for the sake of expediency, today we will discuss only the anti- side of the topic, as evinced by the title: E-cigarettes threaten to undo years of gains. But where to begin?
ACSH s Dr. Gilbert Ross, a close follower of the mindless arguments crafted by those who oppose allowing smokers easy access to low-risk products such as e-cigarettes, did his best but came up empty when seeking valid concerns, as opined by the USA Today editors: I could simply say that their entire argument rests on two pedestals made of sand: first, they confuse and conflate e-cigarettes with cigarettes. This is an error that would not pass muster in a second-grade reading class, yet it s repeated over and over by the writers here as well as in many, many other articles and position statements, right up to the CDC. Second, again a pervasive and contemptible oversight , they ignore the actual raison d etre of e-cigarettes: the 45 million smokers in the U.S.A., among whom over 400,000 die each year from...smoking! Not from vaping e-cigarettes, a behavior which has yet to harm anyone, much less kill. What about those prematurely dead and their families, I ask the editorial staff at USA Today as individuals, and as surrogates for the monolithic anti-vaping conspiracy? Have you no pity, at last?
These people, including public health officialdom and the Big public health Nonprofits i.e. AHA ALA CTFK Legacy ACS, seem to be complicit in a conspiracy to support the cigarette industry worldwide who cares about helping smokers quit? They hold up hypothetical bugaboos such as a phantom gateway phenomenon in which kids, seduced by the lure of glamorous ex-Playboy models vaping, try an e-cigarette and become instantly hooked, shortly thereafter finding themselves addicted to cigarettes (there s that conflation again!). And if e-cigarettes are banned and taxed, what s a desperate smoker to do? The FDA-approved products don t work so it s keep on smoking for them, which is why I assert that the opposition to e-cigarettes will lead to more smoking-related deaths and prop up the about-to-decline cigarette industry. Potentially declining, IF the folks spouting anti-e-cigarette nonsense will just mind their own business and let smokers trying to quit actually succeed.