March 19, 2016

Please encourage smokers to switch to e-cigs

Introduction post

This was posted on my Facebook page March 15, 2016.

I've been allergic to tobacco smoke probably my whole life, but didn't know I was until 2004. Good thing, because there was nothing I could do about it back then.
My health is much better now that it's easier to avoid smoke!

For the last year and a half when I see someone on the street using an e-cig I thank them and say I wish everyone would switch.
I've chatted with more than 10 people this way.
Almost everyone I've spoken with said the e-cig helped them quit smoking.

For the last few years I've been on the email lists of anti-smoking organizations - Americans for Nonsmokers Rights, Cancer Society, Lung Association.

As e-cigs became popular I noticed these organizations were up in arms against them.
They call them tobacco products when in fact they don't contain tobacco.
They claim they don't help people quit (ridiculous, anyone can see they do) and try to make them sound as bad as cigarettes.
They encourage the same restrictions on them as cigarettes.

But wait - aren't e-cigs much less harmful than cigarettes? Wouldn't it be a great thing if smokers switched to e-cigs? It certainly would be for me and other allergic people, since the vapor doesn't contain tobacco!
I looked up the studies and confirmed this - e-cigs are much less harmful. They aren't healthy, but they are ~95% less harmful than tobacco.
I wrote emails to the associations, the mayor and Chicago aldermen.
They didn't listen.

I understand that governments want the tax revenue from treating e-cigs as if they were as bad as cigarettes.
I understand that no one wants teenagers to begin using them if they are not switching from cigarettes.

Teens: e-cigs contain the addictive nicotine and the liquid has a few harmful chemicals. If you are not already using tobacco, please DON'T start using e-cigs. 
It's always better not to be addicted to anything!  :)

Why are the health associations trying to demonize e-cigs? 
They say they care about public health.
Don't they understand each smoker who switches is a benefit to public health? If every smoker switched, billions of lives and dollars would be saved!
They continue to not listen.

I was going to gather some studies to post here, but an article came through in the February Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology that has done that for us. 
The link to the article is farther along in this post.

Leaving out the technical details, here are some quotes from Counseling Patients with Asthma and Allergy about Electronic Cigarettes: an Evidence-based Approach:

"There is sufficient body of evidence care professionals and public health authorities should encourage smokers who [can't or don't want to] stop smoking to switch to e-cigs."

"[the demonization of e-cigs] is possibly deterring smokers from making a switch that could save their lives."

"the damage done by conventional cigarettes comes not from the nicotine, but from the process of burning tobacco and inhaling thousands of toxic chemicals in the smoke."

"at normal vaping conditions, the aldehyde emission levels are far lower than in cigarette smoke."

When a study was done on smokers with asthma, "it was confirmed that regular e-cig use ameliorated lung dysfunction, [symptoms and indicators], with beneficial effects persisting in the long term."

"Taken together, these findings provide emerging evidence that harm reversal from tobacco smoking can be achieved in patients with asthma who switch to exclusive e-cig use..."

"under normal conditions of use, vapor toxicology is far less problematic than that of conventional cigarettes. e-vapor products are at least 96% less harmful compared with combustible cigarettes."
If e-cigs are good for smokers with asthma, they're good for non-asthmatic smokers too!

> I hope everyone who uses e-cigs, and everyone who is thinking of switching, and everyone who wants to encourage smokers to switch, will join together to spread the truth and fight the forces who are trying to prevent this big improvement in our lives and public health. 
Please share and spread the word! <

Here is the link to the Annals of Allergy article. You can read the abstract (abstract is like a summary). If you're not a subscriber you have to pay for the full article. 

Here is a national association that might help
American Vaping Association

If you want to do further research, don't look at association or other biased sites. Get the actual study and read it yourself. There are people who don't understand the difference between what they wish is true and what is actually true, and they publish on the internet. Be careful not to use them as sources. Use only peer reviewed journals and responsible sites like PubMed, NIH, and Mayo Clinic. 

Whatever the source, a responsible author gives sources and references. A statement like "e-cigs are less harmful" will have a source study. Don't waste your time reading anything without sources.