Wednesday, 25 February 2015

If e-cigs were so damn dangerous, wouldn't they be gone by now?

Reading this article yesterday made me start thinking a bit. Titled "There's no evidence e-cigarettes are as harmful as smoking" this article by Linda Bauld (Professor of Health Policy at the University of Stirling and Deputy Director of the UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies) is an answer to another article by Nash Riggins claiming the opposite, which of course is just pure non-sense, as Bauld points out. I couldn't agree more with what Bauld chooses to end her answer with:
These products are a disruptive technology and debates on their merits will continue. However, while it does, those who feel moved to comment should do some reading first.
I've said before, and it doesn't hurt to repeat it I guess.... If you really don't know enough about e-cigarettes and vaping by now, please leave the debate to someone who do. OK? In fact Riggins is even worse than those who claims they don't know enough yet... he fills in his blanks with stuff he just makes up to support his agenda.

Anyway, as I said, Bauld's article made me think a bit. There is no evidence e-cigarettes are as harmful as smoking. Actually there is not much evidence that e-cigarettes are harmful at all, is there? Despite the massive efforts from Big Pharma, some tobacco companies, governments, WHO, EU and tobacco control to get rid of the e-cigarettes, they haven't really managed to come up with much. Together these players have almost unlimited funds, and they have used a lot of time and money on this, but still they got... well not much really. There is of course the risk of exploding batteries and children getting poisoned from e-liquid left unattended. Those you can prove, but you can't really say e-cigarettes are responsible for these hazards. They are the results of irresponsible behaviour. Cellphones and computers also have exploding batteries, and your house is probably full of stuff that can kill your kids if they can get their hands on it and drink or eat it. If there are accidents with these phones, computers or household articles, we some times get debates on how to make these products safer, or how to avoid kids getting hold of them, but whenever it happens with something e-cig related, there are shout outs for bans. Why? In fact I think Dr. Farsalinos is the one that has come closest to showing some potential harm from e-cigarettes used how they are supposed to with his diacetyl study. There is a lot of research available, providing evidence that a lot of the fears presented by e-cigarette opponents are in fact nothing to be concerned about. Maybe it's not that strange? I mean that the people who are able to see the full potential of e-cigarettes as a technology that can put an end to the tobacco epidemic, are also the ones that are able to come up with the real potential harms. Because if there are potential harms, we should find them and eliminate them, making e-cigarettes as safe as possible. Banning or over-regulating e-cigarettes because we find some harmful substance in some e-liquid is madness. It would be like banning cars because someone makes one with malfunctioning seat-belts... instead of just making them put in proper seat-belts.

So why is then, that despite their efforts to find something that will kill the e-cig,  they haven't managed to do so in... what is it now ... like 7 years? Could it be that they are using their money on lobbying and making up theories instead of doing some real research? And if so, why are they doing that? Could it be that they have some common sense after all and have seen what the rest of us have... that there is no real cancer-risk, there is no gateway effect and most importantly: These products are a disruptive technology that works so well they can potentially threaten their income.

Think about it... if e-cigarettes really were causing cancer at the same rate as smoking, or if they were less effective than Big Pharma's NRTs... do you think they would try so hard to get rid of it? If the EU didn't really see the e-cigarettes potential to take over the nicotine market, why would they want to put sin taxes on them? Why do you think the tobacco companies are trying to enter the market and wipe out their competitors by lobbying for regulations favouring their version? Why is it that anti-smoking organizations are opposing this? Could it be that they see that these products can wipe out their basis for existence? And why is it, that despite their combined efforts and almost unlimited funds, neither of these guys have managed to come up with some real cause for concern in so much time? Maybe there is none? If e-cigs were so damn dangerous, wouldn't they be gone by now?

VaporVial Fivepawns photo credit: E-Cigarette/Electronic Cigarette/E-Cigs/E-Liquid/Vaping via photopin (license)


  1. E-Cigarette in a nutshell. Totally agree with this post! It is obvious that government tries to protect pharma and tobacco lobby as they are the most powerful ones and - what is even more important - government knows that their taxes are guaranteed... It's a pitty how they are trying to avoid a useful product for people just because of money!

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