Huffington Post Dispels Myths and Demands Truth About Ecigs
It’s not uncommon to see negative press surrounding electronic cigarettes, but occasionally we find a surprising moment when a reporter actually does some homework and gives a realistic look at vaping. This week, the Huffington Post took a literary flamethrower to ecig critics by calling for an end to the lies and rumors that are hurting ecig technology. Tony Newman, the communications director of the Drug Policy Alliance, demanded that the media tell young people the truth. “E-cigarettes and vaping flavors help people quit smoking.”
Newman encouraged politicians and tobacco control advocates to take a closer look at electronic cigarettes before writing them off as harmful. Despite the almost daily attacks on ecigs, vaping is actually making a huge difference for public health. “It seems like every day we hear a new attack – yet these products are actually helping some people quit or cut back on the much more dangerous alternative of smoking tobacco.”
Earlier this year, a massive study in England revealed that smokers were 60 percent more likely to quit smoking if they used ecigs rather than the typical nicotine replacement therapies like nicotine gum and patches. But even with such clear results in a scientific studies, politicians and anti-smoking advocates continue to treat ecigs like the biggest enemy to public health, completely ignoring their potential benefits.
Senator Jay Rockefeller has been extremely vocal about his disdain for electronic cigarettes. Just last week, he denounced ecig manufacturers that offer flavored e-liquids, shaming them publicly and saying that they are “what’s wrong with this country.” He alleged that by offering fruity flavors like peach and cherry, ecig companies are luring young people to start using nicotine and subsequently, tobacco products. This line of thinking is so contradictory to the true use of ecigs that it really is shocking to those that really understand the technology and how it works.
Newman spoke out to defend flavored ecigs, giving a poignant reminder that those same flavors are helpful to people that want to quit smoking. “While I understand the concern of marketing e-cigarettes to young people and nonsmokers, we cannot lose sight of the fact that these products are helping millions of people stop or cut back on smoking.” He went on to explain how vaping is a safer way for people to get nicotine and adult smokers enjoy the flavor variety. Having access to many flavors is one of the big appeals of vaping that is helping smokers to make the switch.
Senator Rockefeller and other ecig critics constantly point out the danger of flavors because they appeal to children, but Newman says this is an old trick that politicians rely on and it’s absolutely misleading. “I have worked to end our nation’s disastrous war on drugs for the last 14 years at the Drug Policy Alliance. Whenever we propose programs that reduce the harms of drug use, our opponents respond with the false claim that we are sending the ‘wrong message’ to young people. We should never let politically expedient sound bites trump interventions proven to minimize the health consequences of drugs,” Newman said.
Truthfully, today’s young people are extremely bright. They can handle the truth. Newman pointed out that it was the extreme honesty of recent anti-smoking campaigns that led to a huge reduction in tobacco use. “We rightly tell them that while we need more research, dozens of health experts sent a letter to the World Health Organization urging them to embrace e-cigarettes as a life saving intervention… We should explain to them that millions of people are deciding to improve their health with the much safer practice of vaping instead of smoking tobacco.”
Newman insists that today’s young people need to hear the truth about e-cigs. These devices are helping smokers quit. They contain nicotine and you should never use them if you aren’t already a smoker. But for the concerned teenager with a parent that smokes two packs a day, the truth about ecigs could be empowering. They could offer their parents a better alternative, perhaps one that is life saving in the long run. Kids know that smoking will kill you, but do they understand that e-cigs can help you quit?
If you have kids, have you talked to them about vaping? What is the best way to tell kids about ecigs so that they are used as intended?