Below is a letter I sent to the American Lung Association. I have not received a reply yet but I just emailed them. When I get a response I will post it here.
Dear American Lung Association;
I was looking at your website today, specifically the Myths and Facts About E-cigarettes page (http://www.lung.org/stop-smoking/smoking-facts/myths-and-facts-about-e-cigs.html) and I have some questions about some of your “facts” as you present them. I am sending a copy of this email to 3 of this planet’s largest forums which collectively is comprised of more than half a million subscribers. I will also be presenting the same to any media outlet who will give it a moment of consideration.
From your website:
“MYTH: E-cigarettes are safe.
FACT: E-cigarettes are unregulated tobacco products.
Nearly 500 brands and 7,700 flavors of e-cigarettes are on the market and none of them have been evaluated by the FDA. We don’t know for sure what’s in them. Studies have found toxic chemicals, including an ingredient used in antifreeze and formaldehyde in e-cigarettes. Because the FDA doesn’t regulate these products, there aren’t requirements around ingredient disclosure, warning labels or youth access restrictions.”
I see this repeated over and over referring to e-cigarettes as tobacco products. There is no tobacco in the overwhelming majority of e-cigarettes. There are some which may contain extractions from tobacco. But to slap the label tobacco products on the entire e-cigarette industry is an affront to logic and reason, and is in fact 100% incorrect. Please explain your reference of e-cigarettes being tobacco products as being fact. I am not interested in what some government official has uttered but your reasoning for it.
“MYTH: E-cigarettes can help smokers quit.
FACT: The FDA hasn’t found any e-cigarette to be safe and effective in helping smokers quit.
Instead of quitting, many e-cigarette users are continuing to use e-cigarettes while still using conventional cigarettes. In 2013, 76.8 percent of the people who recently used e-cigarettes also currently smoked conventional cigarettes. The U.S. Surgeon General has found that even smoking a few cigarettes a day is dangerous to your health.
When smokers are ready to quit, they should talk with their doctors about using one of the seven FDA-approved medications proven to be safe and effective in helping smokers quit. They can also contact the American Lung Association to find a program that is right for them.”
I would be very interested in an explanation of your statement that it’s a myth e-cigarettes can help smokers quit. Please explain. There are thousands upon thousands of people who have successfully quit smoking through the use of e-cigarettes when other methods have failed. Chief among the attempted methods which fail also happen to be those approved by the FDA. If you were presented with actual testimony from people who quit smoking through the use of e-cigarettes, would you remove this statement from your website? If not, can you supplement the statement to include actual fact pertaining to success rates of FDA approved smoking cessation methods?
“MYTH: E-cigarettes aren’t marketed to kids.
FACT: E-cigarette use among middle and high school students tripled from 2011 to 2013.
With aggressive industry tactics such as cartoon characters and candy flavors including bubble gum, fruit loops, chocolate and strawberry, it’s no surprise studies show a dramatic increase in kids using e-cigarettes. For the first time ever, teens are smoking e-cigarettes more than traditional cigarettes.”
This one is just a blatant lie to say that myth e-cigarettes are marketed to kids. If cartoons and candy flavors were only enjoyable to children the statement would hold more water – albeit a flimsy argument at best. But simply by virtue of cartoons and candy appealing to children does not make it a marketing strategy to attract children. Why? Fact: many adults enjoy cartoons and candy. And let’s just be clear about this. Many alcoholic beverages also have cartoon-riddled packaging and have flavors enjoyed by children. However there is no mass push by government or their agencies to have them removed, restricted or outlawed. However, unlike the alcohol and tobacco industries, e-cigarette sales are restricted to those 18 year old or more everywhere they are sold. One thing that should make your cringe to have the above posted on your website is the fact the FDA approved nicotine-laced chewing gum, yet your same webpage states “Nicotine is an addictive substance that can have negative health impacts, including on adolescent brain development. The more nicotine a person uses, the greater the potential for addiction.”
I think we all want to be able to separate truth from fiction. However, it is my opinion that all this misinformation has little to do with safety or protecting our children and everything to do with protecting the tobacco industry which funnels billions of dollars annually to the governments in the form of taxes, pharmaceutical companies in the form of cancer and other smoking related illnesses as well as FDA approved smoking cessation methods, and the medical profession as a whole which profits immensely in the treatment of the same. The success rate of all FDA approved smoking cessation methods is incredibly low. It would appear that when at last a way for smokers to kick the habit for good finally comes around, all the forces and operatives for these entities are being mobilized to condemn e-cigarettes in an attempt to protect all these billions of potentially lost revenue dollars. I for one would love to be wrong, and that you are not just a pawn in this dangerous chess match, but sadly the myths and facts only point to one thing; that the health of our citizens is only important when they are able to help keep the money flowing as it has been.
Please take time to respond. I and many, many others are anxiously awaiting your reply.