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New York Times: E-cigs might be 'greatest opportunity of the century'

When leading news organizations like the New York Times find fault with our public health agencies, it might be time to stand up and take notice. In a November 1 article, journalist Sabrina Tavernise wonders if the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other top health organizations are missing a tremendous opportunity.  Are we missing the chance to eradicate the leading cause of millions of the world’s most preventable deaths – namely, smoking – by demonizing e-cigs and vaping devices?

The NJoy bankruptcy case and other e-cig difficulties

The New York Times article cites three very important factors that may be leading to the demise of electronic cigarettes as an industry.  First, while retailers and manufacturers have been rapidly advancing vaping technology in recent years, e-cigs still don’t provide the level of pleasure to the average smoker compared to conventional smoking.  And future progress in this area will be even slower, thanks to the new FDA deeming regulations.


Second, the NJoy bankruptcy case is sending tiny shockwaves through the financial sector.  Investors are starting to look somewhat skeptically at the future of the vaping industry.  And thirdly, the onslaught of negative propaganda being heaped on the American Public by the CDC, the FDA, and other anti-vaping groups may simply be too much for the fledgling vaping industry to keep handle.

“Dealing another strike against them, the country’s top public health authorities have sent an unwavering message: Vaping is dangerous.  The warning is meant to stop people who have never smoked — particularly children — from starting to vape. But a growing number of scientists and policy makers say the relentless portrayal of e-cigarettes as a public health menace, however well intentioned, is a profound disservice to the 40 million American smokers who could benefit from the devices. Smoking kills more than 480,000 Americans a year.”

The New York Times also quotes David B. Abrams, senior scientist for the anti-smoking group The Truth Initiative.

“We may well have missed, or are missing, the greatest opportunity in a century.  The unintended consequence is more lives are going to be lost.”

Scientific evidence is mounting in favor of e-cigs and vaping

The New York Times also makes the point that public health organizations have been stating for several years that they need more scientific research before they can definitively say that vaping is safer and healthier than smoking.  But the evidence is mounting, and it’s time for the CDC to reverse its previous stance.  The newspaper even quotes the UK as having the opposite view of vaping compared to the CDC, to which the reporter is likely referring to the Royal College of Physicians’ previously published opinion that vaping is 95 percent sager than smoking.


When the FDA regulates vaping in the exact same way that it does conventional tobacco cigarettes, they are sending the intentional message that the two products are equally dangerous.  This simply isn’t true, the article contends.

“The American approach ‘is the same as asking, “What are the relative risks of jumping out a fourth story window versus taking the stairs?’” said David Sweanor, a lawyer with the Center for Health Law, Policy and Ethics at the University of Ottawa. “These guys are saying: ‘Look, these stairs, people could slip, they could get mugged. We just don’t know yet.’"

Waiting for 100 percent proof that e-cigs are significantly safer than smoking may never, ever happen. The CDC might be forced to use basic, common sense to solve this mystery.  If they don’t, then millions more Americans may die from smoking related illnesses if organizations like the CDC and the FDA continue to demonize vaping unnecessarily.

The full article entitled, Safer to Puff, E-Cigarettes Can’t Shake Their Reputation as a Menace can be viewed on the New York Times website. 


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