FDA ‘confusion’ between tar and nicotine increasing smoking mortality rates
Big Tobacco lobbyists and even some of the United States’ own federal health agencies have been extremely successful in intentionally causing public confusion involving vaping and smoking. When the e-cigarette phenomenon first began around 2015, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) immediately stepped in to create new deeming regulations that recategorized all vape e-liquids as “tobacco products.” The trouble with this reclassification is that e-liquids are 100 percent tobacco-free.
This clever and somewhat diabolical reclassification was the first of many massive lies told to the American People. But at first, the lies did not appear to be taking hold. Even years after the initiation of the FDA deeming regulations in August 2016, vape sales were still soaring through the roof while sales of Big Tobacco cigarettes were plummeting to all-time lows.
So, these anti-vaping groups tried a new approach. They instead focused on nicotine rather than tobacco as being the deadly culprit. Since both vaping and smoking involve nicotine consumption, agencies like the FDA began spreading disinformation and fear-mongering tactics about a so-called “teen vaping epidemic” and “vaping as a gateway to smoking.”
The nicotine argument was only slightly more successful than the “all tobacco is bad” conversation. Vaping was still popular well into 2018.
It was only after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) engineered the mythical “vaping-related” EVALI scandal of late 2019 that the American People began giving up the vape and returning to smoking in huge numbers – and at the detriment to their long-term health.
‘People smoke for nicotine, but they die from tar’
In December of 2015, Rolling Stone Magazine (RSM) ran an article endorsing vaping as a significantly safer alternative to smoking. The magazine had long been considered a leading publication among younger people and a forward-thinking organization. So, when this article was first published, it naturally gained lots of attention. Fortunately, RSM journalist David Amsden really did his homework
“In America, the dominant message regarding e-cigs is that they are a menace. They have been placed under similar restrictions as tobacco products in the U.S., despite the fact that they contain no tobacco, long understood to be the source of the carcinogens that make smoking the leading cause of preventable death worldwide. Campaigns by anti-smoking groups have successfully fostered the perception that the risks of e-cigs are interchangeable from ordinary cigarettes, and the mainstream media has largely followed in step, with much of the reporting on e-cigs focused on the sensational (exploding devices!) and the apocalyptic (worse than tobacco!). What makes this all particularly confounding is that most American public health officials agree with the core claim of the British report: namely, that puffing an e-cig is significantly less harmful than a tobacco cigarette.”
Here's the thing. Smoking kills, but vaping is not smoking. Decades ago when smoking was more fashionable, Big Tobacco companies would often run advertising campaigns with mantras like, “Less tar. More flavor.” Why? Because back then, everyone knew that it’s the tar that kills smokers – not the nicotine.
Related Article: Vaping News: Harvard study shows nicotine is not addictive
Tar can only be produced by the burning of tobacco leaves, and since vape juices are 100 percent tobacco-free, the production of tar through vaping is all but impossible. The FDA knows this. The CDC knows this. Anti-vaping groups like the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids know this. And RSM knew this, as well – all the way back in 2015 when Amsden quoted South African scientist Michael Russell.
“’People smoke for nicotine, but they die from tar.” Michael Russell, a South African scientist widely considered to be the godfather of tobacco control, wrote those words in 1976. At the time it represented a drastic new way of understanding smoking: as a physiological addiction to a drug rather than a purely psychological habit. But nearly 40 years later, the revelation of Russell’s research has been obscured, as the decades long war on smoking became, in effect, a war on nicotine. Rather than occupying a place on the same spectrum that allows caffeine and alcohol to be consumed without stigma, today the word “nicotine” conjures up images of amputated limbs and metastasizing tumors — even though, as Russell made clear, nicotine in itself has never been the deadly culprit in cigarettes.”
Nicotine is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, scientists today believe that nicotine therapies can be the key to solving medical disorders from Alzheimer’s to Parkinson’s disease. In this age of COVID-19, scientists in Europe are currently researching whether cannabis and nicotine therapies might help rid the human body of the coronavirus entirely, or at least significantly reduce the severity of the respiratory symptoms.
There is nicotine in tomatoes. There is nicotine in potatoes. There’s even nicotine in eggplant, but the FDA does not go around banishing these naturally occurring fruits and vegetables from grocery store shelves, does it? Only when nicotine is involved in a mass-marketed cylindrical contraption that saves lives and threatens the very existence of Big Tobacco does the federal government suddenly become squeamish. And millions more Americans will die because of it.
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