The CDC’s Latest Smear Campaign Against E-Cigs Launches Next Week
Kristy is a 35-year-old smoker who recently suffered a collapsed lung and was diagnosed with COPD. This all happened after she attempted to quit smoking with the help of electronic cigarettes — but, alas, she ended up using both and failed to quit completely. Kristy is now the face of the Centers for Disease Control’s latest campaign against electronic cigarettes.
It almost a year ago in May that the CDC announced it was looking for e-cig users with health problems to assist in a campaign against vaping. It sought smokers that began using electronic cigarettes an then were diagnosed with tobacco related illnesses. They were offering $2,500 along with travel expenses. It seems they found some people for this sort of campaign.
This is a very misleading campaign however. It focuses on declaring that any smoking is wildly harmful and makes it sound as if vaping doesn’t help at all. Certainly, if someone can quit entirely, that’s exactly what they should do. But the smoking epidemic is evidence enough that most people can’t simply quit. Studies thus far are showing that any amount of vaping generally results in drastically reduced smoking — an so, drastically reduced harm.
In order of declining harm, you have smoking, smoking and vaping, vaping, and then doing neither. But if an individual can’t do that later two because they are too addicted, then reducing harm should be the primary focus. Someone that has been smoking for some 18 years (as is probably the case for Kristy) that quits tomorrow is not magically conferred protection from the harm of the smoking they’ve already done. They could never have a smoke ever again and still find out down the line that lung cancer has taken root.
Acting like Kristy’s complications are in anyway an indication that e-cigs don’t help is like assuming that a small electrical fire on the 50th floor of a building caused it to collapse when floors 20 through 40 were already on fire.
Beyond that, many some early market studies are actually finding that dual use is not much of a problem. For many it is a necessary step toward complete smoking abstinence. At the same time, actual dual use appears to only occur in about 2% of all vapers according to some numbers.
Ultimately, this campaign could do a lot more harm than good. Individuals who have managed to cut down their smoking through dual use might go back to just smoking as a result — not to mention smokers that may not even try vaping. It seems unlikely the CDC will figure this out though. Education is our best way to fight this.