American Cancer Society officially endorses vaping – finally!

Earlier this year, the American Cancer Society (ACS) released an official position statement that seemed to halfheartedly endorse vaping as an effective tobacco harm reduction tool.  Many vaping advocacy groups around the country immediately took notice while viewing the ACS announcement as a significant missed opportunity to promote public health.  Others considered the partial validation as a kind of glass-half-full scenario – a step in the right direction though not a full-throated endorsement.   

Perhaps the ACS did not anticipate the considerable backlash by the vaping community to its February 2018 position statement.  Or perhaps the organization has just come to its collective senses.  But for whatever reason, ACS officials have just released a new-and-improved public health statement which definitively paints vaping in a significantly brighter light.  Highlights include the following excerpt.

“Although many ENDS deliver nicotine, flavor additives, and other chemicals, they do not burn tobacco, a process that yields an estimated 7000 chemicals, including at least 70 carcinogens. Thus, public misunderstanding underscores the urgent need for consumer education about the absolute and relative risks posed by different tobacco products and to reinvigorate smokers’ understanding of the importance of quitting combustible tobacco. Whereas complete information on all the potential risks and benefits of ENDS is not yet available, there is sufficient information to allow ACS to act now with a clear focus on the primary goal of ending deadly combustible tobacco use, which is responsible for approximately a one-half million deaths per year and 30% of all cancer deaths in the United States.”
“Globally, tobacco causes more than 7 million deaths and costs society more than $2 trillion (purchasing power parity) annually.  41 Cigarette smoking is the reason that, in 1985, lung cancer surpassed breast cancer as the number one killer of women—a distinction that still holds today. Indeed, lung cancer kills more Americans than the next 3 leading types of cancer (breast, prostate, and colon) combined.”

Opponents of electronic cigarettes tend to claim that more information is needed regarding the potential harm reductive benefits of transitioning from smoking to vaping.  However, as per the above excerpts, the ACS is now making the bold claim that “sufficient evidence” exists to support making the switch.

The agency also makes clear that burned tobacco – not nicotine – is the real health hazard.  It also asserts that the smoke from tobacco cigarettes– not the vapor from e-cigs or e-liquids which are tobacco-free -  is laced with a whopping 7000+ extra chemicals and “at least 70 carcinogens.”  But the public health agency does not stop there.

American Cancer Society blasts misinformation campaign against vaping

Peppered through the 6-page document are references to the general public being led astray by anti-vaping misinformation campaigns via mainstream media, social media, and everywhere in between.  The organization estimates that over one-third of the population are under the mistaken impression that vaping is just as dangerous to one’s health as smoking.  The ACS even throws a bone to the highly regarding Monitoring the Future study, too. 

“Many consumers are misinformed about the harms of electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS). (In this document, the term ENDS refers to the variety of products that heat, but do not burn, liquids that contain nicotine, water, and other constituents, such as propylene glycol and flavorants.) Many adults believe, erroneously, that ENDS are as harmful as combustible tobacco products, and the level of public understanding has deteriorated over time. In 2012, only 11.5% of respondents to a national survey held this view. By 2015, 35.7% of respondents mistakenly believed that the harm associated with electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) was “about the same” as that of smoking conventional cigarettes. At the same time, the Monitoring the Future study reports that, as of 2017, “e-cigarettes have one of the lowest levels of perceived risk for regular use of all drugs, including alcohol” among adolescents.”

Is this updated 2018 ACS statement perfectly clear in its support of vaping?  To some people, probably not, but it’s damn near close.   Will all vaping advocacy groups beginning rallying around the ACS?  Not very likely, but ours is an industry that often shoots itself in the foot.  However, in a time in American history where cities from San Francisco to New York are either passing or trying to pass flavor ban legislation - where the FDA is launching a federal probe into the possibility of a nationwide ban on flavored e-liquids – the release of this most recent ACS endorsement seems to be almost perfectly timed. 

Related Article:  Did the American Cancer Society just endorse vaping?

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