With an ever-growing popularity, e-cigarettes have gained besides millions of fans worldwide some powerful enemies as well. From the big tobacco companies, senators and the FDA, another public figure wants to discourage people from using these types of devices. Of all the threats to Americans’ health, a list that includes E-coli, MRSA and bird flu, few get Dr. Tom Frieden – director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – as bothered as electronic cigarettes.
Frieden has a ready-made agenda for spreading his views about the dangers of vaping and his fierce opposition to e-cigs may come as a surprise to many. Indeed, the CDC is supposed to be on the lookout for ways to prevent and treat illnesses, but e-cigs, which are considered by many doctors and scientists as a healthier alternative to smoking, should be great news for the organization.
‘I’ve treated so many adults who are desperate, desperate, to get off tobacco. They all started as kids,” Frieden stated. ‘I see the industry getting another generation of our kids addicted. To me, as a physician, when 1.78 million of our high school kids have tried an e-cigarette and a lot of them are using them regularly … that’s like watching someone harm hundreds of thousands of children.’
Adding to that he also commented that, ‘people have a misconception that the tobacco epidemic is a thing of the past. Tobacco still kills more Americans than any other cause. It still kills more than 1,000 people a day. As a doctor, I can tell you it kills them in really unpleasant ways: gasping for breath with emphysema, with cancer, with heart disease.’
Dr. Frieden’s biggest worry about e-cigarettes is that they are a ‘tobacco product’ and therefore he mentioned five reasons why he thinks that these devices should be banned.
- ‘If they get another generation of kids more hooked on nicotine and more likely to smoke cigarettes, that’s more harm than good,’
- ‘If they get smokers who would have quit to keep smoking instead of quitting, more harm than good.’
- ‘If they get ex-smokers who have been off nicotine to go back on nicotine and then back to cigarettes, more harm than good.’
- ‘If they get people who want to quit smoking and would have taken medicines to think e-cigarettes are going to help, but they don’t, more harm than good.’
- ‘If they re-glamorize smoking, it’s more harm than good’
‘If the e-cigarette companies want to market these to help people quit, then do the clinical trials and apply to the FDA,” he added, with reference to the Food and Drug Administration. ‘But they don’t want to do that. They want to market them widely.’
In response, the FDA wants regulations that will ban sales to minors, the provision of free samples, and require nicotine addiction warnings. By doing so and regulating the e-cig industry, it is believed to reduce consumer concerns over the safety of the product.
We firmly believe that e-cigarettes should be handled responsibly and never be sold to minors, but at the same time, demonization of these devices could end up in leaving millions of former smokers without their most precious alternative to the hazardous tobacco smoke.