Happy Friday, everybody, we have exciting news! CASAA has released the second stage of its action plan, and YOU can help! As I mentioned when they first made their announcement, CASAA has developed a multi-stage plan to fight the FDA’s proposed regulations that would essentially ban e-cigarettes.
You can read CASAA’s second Call to Action here. Please follow their instructions exactly, to increase the efficacy of your comments. The deadline is May 27th, which is only next Tuesday!
To boil it down, as a consumer, you are entitled to comment on the FDA’s proposal with regards to its relationship with the Paperwork Reduction Act. It seems the FDA has vastly underestimated the sheer number of products its proposed legislation will affect, and the sheer amount of paperwork that will be involved in attempting to register these products.
In other exciting news, it turns out that a recent UK study has demonstrated that e-cigarettes are 60% more effective than other nicotine replacement therapies at helping smokers quit. You can read articles about this news over at the BBC, or at The Guardian. Bigups to ECF founder SmokeyJoe for posting the link on the forum.
What’s most impressive about the study is that its head researcher, Professor Robert West, is now so concerned about his sources of funding and potential conflicts of interest that he will continue with his research without them. According to the article at The Guardian:
[Professor Robert West] acknowledged opponents' fears and suspicions about the commercial involvement of scientists. "I don't and will not take any money from any e-cigarette manufacturer," he said. His department does take money from pharmaceutical companies that make smoking cessation drugs, but they are rethinking that. "I need to be able to talk about e-cigarettes without even the conception of conflict of interest.
This is great stuff, and great news! Corporate interference in scientific research, especially in medical fields, is well-documented, but as Professor West moves away from suspect funding in his research, his results will become increasingly valuable to the vaping community.
As we have suggested before, accountable and reliable science is not only what the FDA feels is lacking in the case of E-cigarettes, it is also what smokers and vapers need to make informed decisions about our health. If, as West’s research suggests, e-cigarettes are indeed vastly more effective at helping people quit smoking than other known methods, this information is critical for those of us keen to move forward confidently in our decisions about our personal health. I hope the FDA will listen.
In a similar vein, Dr. Michael Siegel at the Tobacco Merchants Association recently tweeted that e-cig companies should make more “quit smoking” claims. You can read all about it here at the E-Cig Forum (once again, with thanks to SmokeyJoe).
More and more news articles and opinion pieces have been trickling in, some more misguided than others. One notable example is this post at Forbes.com by Roy A. Beveridge, M.D. Beveridge is an oncologist, and the Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer at Humana, a Health insurance company. Beveridge argues that electronic cigarettes should be banned because they can contain nicotine.
It’s hard to recommend anybody read Beverdige’s opinion, which includes two of the most absurd statements about smoking and e-cigarettes I have seen in a while. First, Beveridge argues “it’s important to note that the same addictive chemical found in e-cigarettes and cigarettes is nicotine, which causes addiction to smoking,” and then he argues that e-cigarettes should be banned because “cigarettes can cause lung cancer” and people should be kept away from nicotine.
Although he is the Chief Medical Officer of an HMO, Beveridge seems to have forgotten the relationship between correlation and causation. Either that, or he has never been taught it. Although the chief chemical found in cigarettes of both the traditional or electronic varieties is indeed nicotine, nicotine is not an “additive” in cigarettes, as Beveridge claims, it is a naturally-produced substance that occurs naturally in the tobacco plant. It is equally absurd to claim, as Beveridge does, that “nicotine causes addiction to cigarettes,” since cigarettes were not developed until well after humans began to smoke tobacco thousands of years ago. Nicotine causes addiction to nicotine. As for his second claim, that nicotine (instead of cigarettes) causes cancer, perhaps Beveridge is among the 59% of American men who erroneously believe that nicotine (rather than cigarettes) causes cancer.
If my health care was managed by a company whose Chief Medical Officer does not understand either concepts as simple as cause-and-effect, or the meaning of addiction, I would try to switch providers.
Overall, it’s been a fairly quiet week this week, aside from North Carolina Senator Richard Burr’s comments on why harm reduction matters. If you haven’t seen the video yet, click here. Electronic cigarettes really do seem to be better for us than burning tobacco, but the FDA, with no sense of irony, seems not to care about protecting the health of smokers.
Over the weekend, though, it’s time to start tallying up what e-cig products you’ve bought, in order to make sure you get your comment in order and get it in before the window of opportunity closes on the 27th. Tell your friends about CASAA’s plan. Any smoker or vaper you know is going to be affected by this legislation if we can’t do something about it now, while the opportunity exists. So please, be sure to get the word out.