Attention FDA: American Cancer Society endorses vaping as a stop-smoking aid
The American Cancer Society (ACS) has not always been a pro-vaping organization. In fact, the ACS once held similar views to those of the present-day American Lung Association which seems to intentionally confuse nicotine with tobacco. One is a naturally occurring chemical found in eggplants and tomatoes. The other produces a tar-fill smoke that causes cancer.
Then in 2018, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) began making wild assertions that the popularity of teenage vaping was out-of-control. Mentions of teen smoking rates were rarely mentioned, largely because data published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) was also showing a massive decline.
It was around this time that the ACS began to change is public stance on vaping. Rather than support claims made by FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb that teen e-cig usage was a national “epidemic,” the ACS went the other way. They began to not only endorse but promote vapor products as a safe and healthy way to quit smoking. And in a recently published ACS statement, the non-profit is even blasting anti-vaping advocates for spreading misinformation.
“In this rapidly changing tobacco landscape, it is critical that consumers receive accurate information about different tobacco products and the role of nicotine in tobacco-related disease. Many consumers are misinformed about the harms of electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS).”
The ACS statement further explains that the public misconceptions are growing increasingly more concerning saying that “(m)any adults believe, erroneously, that ENDS are as harmful as combustible tobacco products, and the level of public understanding has deteriorated over time.” Many vaping advocates tend to lay a significant portion of the blame for this increase in anti-vaping views on the FDA’s “epidemic” statement of 2018.
ACS: Nicotine is not tobacco
The co-authors of the report attempt to dispel the confusion by defining the differences between nicotine and tobacco. While both vapor and tobacco products contain nicotine, it’s the tar-filled smoke derived from the burnt tobacco leaves of conventional cigarettes that causes the real health risks.
“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.”
The FDA does not officially endorse vapor products as a smoking cessation tool. The farthest that the public health agency is willing to go is to call them a tobacco harm reduction aid. It’s this type of hair-splitting rhetoric that is further leading to the overwhelming confusion in the general population. The ACS, however, is now taking a rather courageous stand by splitting with the FDA publicly on this very issue.
The ACS statement also endorses new legislation that would prohibit the sales of vapor products to persons under the age of 21 while promising to contribute and support the need for further e-cig research. And while the organization acknowledges that the “science is mixed” as to whether vaping does indeed help smokers quit, they still would rather smokers vape than use combustible tobacco. The ACS also supports the newer heat-not-burn technology of Phillips Morris, but apparently not to the same degree as ENDS products.
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