Americans for Nonsmokers' Rights shamelessly promotes continued smoking; makes false claims about hazards of electronic cigarettes
SPRINGFIELD, Va., Oct. 1, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Americans for Nonsmokers' Rights (ANR), a proponent of the "quit or die" approach to smoking cessation, is misleading the public about hazards of electronic cigarettes, according to Elaine Keller, President of The Consumer Advocates for Smoke-free Alternatives Association (CASAA). A recent ANR press release also falsely claims that there is "a lack of independent peer-reviewed scientific evidence demonstrating the safety or efficacy" of electronic cigarettes for smoking cessation.
FDA-approved nicotine patches, gum, lozenges, nasal sprays, and oral inhalers are referred to as Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) products, but all these products are aimed at reducing the daily intake of nicotine to zero, and all have a 93% mid-year failure rate.
In contrast, a growing body of scientific evidence is showing that providing smokers with a low-risk alternative such as electronic cigarettes is a much more effective way than nicotine-abstinence to achieve abstinence from smoking.
BMC Public Health, a peer-reviewed scientific journal, published the results of an Italian pilot study that monitored modifications in smoking habits of 40 smokers not interested in quitting smoking. The researchers observed a 50% reduction of smoking in 32.5% of subjects and an 80% reduction in 12.5% of subjects. But they were astonished to discover that at the end of the 6-month study, 22.5% of these unwilling-to-quit subjects had completely stopped smoking.
Among smokers that want to quit, the results are even more remarkable. The peer-reviewed American Journal of Public Health published the results of an online survey of first-time buyers of a particular brand of e-cigarette. The 6-month smoking abstinence rate was 31% among this group.
E-cigarette users report improvements in their health ranging from a reduction in COPD and asthma symptoms to better markers of cardiovascular health such as blood pressure and lipid measures. Researchers have found no increase in blood pressure or heart rate among smokers trying e-cigarettes for the first time.
"What I find most egregious about the ANR's recent press release," stated Keller, "is their claim that e-cigarettes 'pollute indoor air with detectable levels of carcinogens and other toxic chemicals,' when there is absolutely no indication that e-cigarettes pose any appreciable risk to bystanders. Tragically, these kinds of devious tactics may actually prevent smokers from saving their health and their lives by switching to this low-risk alternative."
The Indoor Air study cited in the ANR press release found such minuscule quantities of six chemicals in vapor that they are measured in parts per BILLION (ppb). For example, formaldehyde was present at 12.86 ppb—the equivalent of 13 out of one billion pennies ($10,000,000) The Alberta Ambient Air Quality Objectives for formaldehyde is five times higher.
Researchers could detect nicotine only by capturing exhaled vapor before it mixed with air in the chamber. The quantity measured was a mere 1.04 ppb; the OSHA Short Term Exposure Limit is about 1500 times higher. "But the existence of this nicotine is a moot point," stated Keller, "given the fact that the only way a bystander could be exposed to any nicotine at all would be to lock lips with an e-cigarette user and inhale while the user is exhaling.
"ANR claims little is known about the contents of e-cigarettes," said Keller, "but the major ingredients in e liquid are well-known: propylene glycol or glycerin to create the vapor, water, flavoring, and optionally a low concentration—typically less than 2%—of nicotine. Countless tests have been performed on liquid and vapor. So far none of these tests has ever measured toxins or carcinogens anywhere near hazardous levels. This is probably due to the fact that, unlike conventional cigarettes, e-cigarettes are not combusted.
"Discouraging the use of alternatives that are up to 99% less hazardous than smoking for the users, and that are essentially harmless to bystanders, shows an appalling disregard for human health and life on the part of groups like ANR," said Keller.
CASAA is a consumer-based, non-profit organization that works to ensure the availability of low-risk alternatives to smoking and to provide the public with truthful information about such alternatives.
SOURCE Consumer Advocates for Smoke-free Alternatives Association