Chris Hansen, president of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN), has issued a statement urging the FDA to regulate electronic cigarettes, after the results of a CDC study showed e-cigarette awareness has increased considerably in recent years.
Just days after the CDC published the results of a study that showed one in five US smokers had tried e-cigarettes in 2011, Chris Hansen, president of an advocacy group associated with the American Cancer Society asked the FDA to regulate electronic cigarettes, so it can determine the ingredients found in e-liquid, and what long term effects they have on users. He points that adults who are aware of e-cigarettes increased by 44.8 percent from 2010 to 2011, the number of adults who use them rose by 88 percent and use more than doubled among current smokers to 21.2 percent. According to Hansen, this recent data “adds even more urgency to the need for the FDA to regulate these products so it can determine what ingredients e-cigarettes contain, how they are being used and what effects they have on users.”
“E-cigarettes have not been scientifically shown to be effective tobacco cessation tools, yet some distributors are marketing them either directly or indirectly for that purpose, such as in a national commercial that aired during the Oscars awards show this week,” the president of ACS CAN says in his statement. He also expresses concerns about the fact that electronic cigarettes are manufactured to resemble analogs, and that the availability of fruit and candy flavors might make them appealing to children, and could even encourage them to try tobacco cigs rather than avoid them.
“We’re calling on the FDA to determine if e-cigarettes are safe for use and whether they can help youth and adults avoid actual cigarettes or quit the habit,” Hansen says. “We also urge the FDA to test these products to determine their potential as cessation aids so consumers have the best information available when deciding how to quit.” It’s fair to say, this statement was meant to add even more pressure on federal regulators to examine the safety of electronic cigarettes.
Talk about a way to turn the positive finding of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study into something negative, right? Chris Hansen’s words have a way of making the increasing awareness of e-cigarettes sound alarming, when in reality the results actually show that more smokers are giving up their deadly habit and switching to a much less dangerous alternative. It’s actually pretty surprising that the president of a group affiliated with the American Cancer Society would resort to speculation like the above to show his disapproval of a product that shows such great promise and might actually save the lives of millions of smokers.
Hansen mentions electronic cigarette have not been scientifically proven to be effective tobacco cessation tools, when in reality several studies conducted by independent researchers have shown just that. One of the most recent ones was published by a group of Italian doctors and revealed that electronic cigarettes substantially decrease analog consumption in schizophrenia patients with no intention to quit smoking. But let’s say, he’s not convinced by these findings. Why doesn’t Mr. Hansen concentrate his efforts on funding or conducting some independent studies on the effects of e-cigarettes and their effectiveness as smoking cessation aids, instead of urging the FDA to regulate them?
The head of ACS CAN also wants the FDA to determine what ingredients e-cigarettes contain. Why, when the short list of e-liquid ingredients has been common knowledge for years. The FDA has already conducted its on research on this matter several years ago, and although it announced the tested samples contained nitrosamines, it was later revealed their level was under the danger threshold, and thousands of times lower than that of tobacco cigarettes. Studies have shown the levels of nitrosamines in e-cigarette vapor is no higher than that of FDA-approved nicotine patches.
The analog-like appearance of electronic cigarettes is mentioned as a reason for concern, when really it’s just a way of making long-term smokers feel more comfortable. It’s been scientifically proven that there’s a psychological factor associated with cigarette addiction. Replicating the act of smoking without any of the other negative effects is hardly a reason for concern. Also, the ludicrous claim that sweet and fruity flavors make e-cigarettes enticing to children is unsubstantiated. Pleasant tastes extinguish the craving for tobacco, as demonstrated by the fact that smokers trying to quit often use chewing gum or candy whenever the need to light up. So why is this considered practice when associated with electronic cigarettes?