Millions (or is it billions?) of people worldwide will be watching the Super Bowl this Sunday evening, among whom will be many millions of smokers. Our nation alone has over 40 million of these troubled souls, most of whom want to quit, but can t, as only about one-in-twenty succeed in escaping the addictive pull of cigarettes. Still, the cold-turkey method quitting without medicinal help is more successful than the abysmally-ineffective FDA-approved drugs and NRT patches, which fail about 90 percent of the time. These depressing stats lead to this even more depressing fact: almost a half-million smokers, and ex-smokers, die from cigarette-related illnesses each and every year.
All agree that something must be done to slow down or reverse this tragic situation. Over the past few years, electronic cigarettes (e-cigs) seem to have provided one such potential method, although definitive data are not in yet. That being said, sales of these likely-harmless devices have skyrocketed, millions of folks have used them, many to help them get the nicotine punch that will ease their path towards ex-smokerhood.
So what s the problem? The entrenched public health authorities in government and the large nonprofits (especially the CDC, the American Cancer Society, and the American Lung Association) have undertaken a monolithic, pervasive crusade against e-cigs, going so far as to warn desperate, addicted smokers who have failed to quit, to not even try to use them! Why? Apparently because they resemble real cigarettes, or they are dependent upon funding from drug makers or cigarette taxes.
Now the leading independent marketer of e-cigs, NJOY, is going to advertise their product to the multitudes watching the Seattle-Denver big game, as they say. Those same conflicted or dogma-bound authorities are in a tizzy of hypocritical outrage that people watching including, quelle horror, youngsters might be exposed to vaping (as e-cig users call it; it s not smoking, certainly). This reminds us of that same phony indignation these bureaucrats and politicians posing as public health experts emitted when they observed entertainment icons vaping at the Golden Globes a few weeks ago. A bunch of officials, including Senators and Representatives, wrote letters of protest to NBC for their hubris! And now, they are certain to again be shocked! shocked! at the effrontery of NJOY for trying to communicate the truth or as much of it as the inane FDA-tobacco control law will permit them to and we are certain that Fox will now enter their radar screens as tempting targets of political sound-bites concerned about how teens will view the ads and become nicotine addicts automatically.
The clever marketers of those e-cigs sure know their likely audience: they are not content with those glossy and super-expensive TV ads. They have sent attractive female envoys of NJOY out onto the frigid climes of NYC s Super Bowl Blvd. (formerly known as Broadway and Times Square) attired as NFL referees, calling penalties on smokers and giving out instead of 15-yard penalties gratis packs of e-cigs, to those above the legal tobacco-purchase age (although, again, there is no tobacco in e-cigs, no smoke, no combustion).
Those devoted to public health should be encouraging increased awareness of low-risk alternatives to deadly cigarettes for those who crave nicotine. Instead, the entire establishment demands abstinence-only, an ideal which would condemn millions of smokers to premature death. They don t seem to care, but they thankfully will not be able to interfere with the free-market ability of companies like NJOY to at least tell their story. I wish more e-cig companies had the capacity to do the same.