On January 5th, 2016, the Director of the CDC held a telebriefing to discuss their latest “Vital Signs” report. This report dealt with youth exposure to e-cigarette advertising. Much has already been written about that report and it is certainly worthy of discussion; however, there was one important point made during the telebriefing that has gotten very little attention:
Public Officials Are Beginning to Endorse E-Cigarettes
“For adults who use e-cigarettes and quit using conventional cigarettes completely and forever they would be a benefit, but any potential benefit for adults is negated if the adult continues to smoke regular conventional or combustible cigarettes, even just a few a day, and there is never a benefit for use of e-cigarettes or any form of tobacco product or nicotine in kids”.
This quote came straight from Dr. Tom Frieden, the Director of the CDC, who gave the bulk of the presentation.
The bold emphasis in the CDC Director’s quote is mine, but I could not help doing so: it deserves emphasis. Here is a major public health official voicing what so many of us believe, “For adults who use e-cigarettes and quit using conventional cigarettes…they would be a benefit”. At a time when there seems to be no end to negative and misleading e-cigarette news, this admission made me positively giddy. It may seem like a small statement to get excited about, but I have been waiting for years for a major public official to be honest about e-cigarettes and we have seen two in the past couple of weeks. The director’s quote comes on the heels of this statement made by Iowa Attorney General, Thomas Miller, on December 23rd in support of e-cigarettes:
“The harm of the combustible cigarette is dramatically greater than the harm of the e-cigarette”.
The Attorney General’s statement continues on to explain the importance of the role e-cigarettes have played in the harm reduction spectrum, and further details the dangers in perpetuating e-cigarette misinformation.
For an all too brief moment, Dr. Frieden was being honest about e-cigarettes; however, he fell back into the boring, tired and predictable rhetoric of the anti-e-cigarette crowd when he added on: “any potential benefit for adults is negated if the adult continues to smoke regular conventional or combustible cigarettes even just a few a day”. What a thing to say. There is no benefit to cutting back on tobacco. So smoking one a day is the same as smoking twenty a day? That sort of thinking defies common sense and logic and serves only to shame smokers who are struggling with switching away from tobacco cigarettes entirely.
If you switch from an unhealthy diet to a much healthier one, but still indulge in the occasional donut–are you not better off? Isn’t one punch in the face much better than twenty? As someone who has been punched in the face, I can assure you that one punch is preferable. I know that these aren’t the most scientific of examples but I don’t think that such an obviously flawed statement completely disregarding the idea of harm reduction deserves much more than that.
The Director also said that there is never a benefit for children to use e-cigarettes. Here at White Cloud, we couldn’t agree more, which is why we are so diligent with our age verification process. We take that process incredibly seriously, so much so that since February 2014, White Cloud has incorporated age verification technology from LexisNexis® on all of our online purchases. At White Cloud, we are committed to targeting our products to adult smokers looking to switch from tobacco, as well as to existing vapers looking for better-quality products.
In the midst of a sea of the usual inaccuracies and unverified claims that accompany most governmental discussions about e-cigarettes, Dr. Frieden managed to let one truth slip through: E-cigarettes are generally accepted to be a better option than combustible tobacco cigarettes and someone as well regarded as the Director of the CDC can no longer deny that. I have always been hopeful that truth and science of electronic cigarettes would eventually win and I believe that minor admissions like that will lead to a greater acceptance and understanding of the world changing public health benefits that e-cigarettes present. For all the vapers and smokers out there, I hope I am not wrong.
The full Transcript for CDC Telebriefing can be found at Vital Signs Report – Why is youth e-cigarette advertising harmful for youth?
The Iowa Attorney General’s full statement can be found at Statement by Attorney General Tom Miller on Electronic Cigarette Key Facts