Tobacco Free UK Propaganda Flyer

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As school starts at the University of Kentucky this year, students have been unfortunately greeted by a propaganda flyer put out by Tobacco Free UK and the infamous Ellen Hahn.  The flyer titled “e-cigarettes: 3 strikes you’re out,”  is once again, drudging up lies and mistruths to fit their agenda.  I could write a book refuting all the claims made by this group and others like them, but for the purpose of this blog, I will just touch on the “3 strikes” they mentioned.

Strike 1:  In Your Brain. You think ecigs will help you quit real cigarettes.  There is no evidence of this.”  Seriously? Seriously?  No evidence?  Lets set aside the millions of people who have switched to ecigs, successfully quitting smoking real cigarettes for just a moment, and take a look at a study put out by the Boston University School of Public Health that stated that cigarette abstinence rates among ecig users are double that of traditional nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) regimens.

Strike 2: Acetone and Xylene. Nail polish remover and paint thinner? You’re going to breathe that? Really? And what about the friends next to you?”  German researchers looked at chemicals that could be detected in the vapor. .  Acetone was found in the quantity of 0.025 mg per cubic meter. The OSHA PEL (permissible exposure level) is 2,400 mg / cubic meter. This provides a safety margin of 99.999%.  Furthermore, Acetone is a naturally occurring substance found in many fruits, vegetables, and dairy products we all consume daily. The levels found in e-cigarettes are actually lower than many of these common foods.

Regarding Xylene, the researchers didn’t find any higher levels of Xylene in exhaled vapor than they found in the chamber’s air before the experiment started. You are exposed to much more Xylene when you smoke, breathe city air polluted by heavy traffic, and use household products such as adhesives and paints.

Strike 3: In The Cartridge: Nitrosamines: Known carcinogens.  That means it causes cancer.”  Nicotine in the ecigarette is derived from tobacco.  As such, like the nicotine found in tradition NRT regimens like Nicorette gum, NicoDerm patches, and sprays, all have been found to have the same level of nitrosamines as ecigarette vapor.  So do the FDA approved NRT regimens also cause cancer?  FYI, the levels found in NRT products (as well as ecig vapor) are well below the OSHA PEL levels.  Remember, it’s the dose that makes the poison.

Formaldehyde: Highly toxic to all animals, including you.  Good for embalming dead bodies.  Causes Cancer.”  E-cigarette vapor contains nearly 400X less formaldehyde than found in fruits like apples. There are a lot of things we eat and drink with naturally-occurring formaldehyde at MUCH higher levels than found in e-cigarette vapor.  Again, it’s the dose that makes the poison.

In conclusion, it is terribly irresponsible of Tobacco Free UK to put out such a blatant propaganda piece.  A piece meant to scare people away from a form of tobacco harm reduction that considering the high smoking rates in Kentucky among the college age demographic, could help them quit tobacco for good.  That is the goal of Tobacco Free UK after all.

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