ANR UPDATE, 33(1)), Spring 2014
Electronic Cigarettes: Advocacy and Research Updates
ANR is pleased to announce that it has developed a new fact sheet, "Electronic (e-) Cigarettes and Secondhand Aerosol," which documents the current, peer-reviewed science on the constituents of exhaled e-cigarette aerosol. We hope this will help advocates and elected officials to make decisions about regulating the use of e-cigarettes in smokefree environments.
"Secondhand Vapor vs. Secondhand Aerosol" The e-cigarette
industry prefers to say that what comes out of e-cigarettes is a "vapor"
or "vapor mist" because it hopes these benign terms will connote safety
or reduced harm. Sound familiar? Remember when tobacco companies coined the
term Environmental Tobacco Smoke? Back then, the industry was trying to frame
secondhand tobacco smoke as something that occurred naturally in the environment
and was beyond control, rather than acknowledging that the toxic pollutant created
by tobacco cigarettes is a result of its deadly product. We are seeing a resurrection
of many tobacco industry tactics designed to confuse the public and prevent
sensible public health measures, and this terminology is one example of that.
In fact, e-cigarettes produce an aerosol containing a number of toxic chemicals
that may be harmful to the health of persons who are exposed to it.
The e-cigarette industry maintains that e-cigarettes are less polluting than combustible tobacco cigarettes and, therefore, should not be regulated like tobacco cigarettes. We disagree. While e-cigarettes may be less polluting overall, they still pollute the air and some constituents are found in equal or greater concentrations in e-cigarette aerosol than are found in secondhand tobacco smoke. The question becomes: is "less polluting" acceptable or do nonsmoking workers and patrons deserve full protection from exposure to secondhand aerosol? Currently, 108 cities and 3 states have laws that prohibit the use of e-cigarettes in smokefree environments, and New York City and Chicago will soon implement similar laws. Moreover, efforts are underway in other cities, large and small, urban and rural, to enact such measures. ANR will continue to vigorously advocate for these protections. Please let us know if you need any assistance or information to help make such a law a reality in your area.
Remember the National Smokers Alliance, Philip Morris' phony grassroots network? How about all those "studies" looking at public support for or economic impact of smokefree laws? They're back: There are three national e-cigarette "trade associations" one of which, Smoke Free Air Trade Association (SFATA), has several board members with ties to Big Tobacco. Also, two new statewide front groups, Oklahoma Vapors Advocacy League (OVAL) and Iowans for Alternatives to Smoking and Tobacco (IAST), have popped up and are providing testimony in favor of e-cigarette use. A lobbyist for IAST has also lobbied for Philip Morris.
A recent survey conducted by Harris Decima, a Harris Interactive company, for Mistic e- cigarettes purports to document public support for use of e-cigarettes in in a variety of places, including airplanes, workplaces, sporting events, restaurants and bars, and more. But the survey should be looked at skeptically, inasmuch as, historically, research funded by the tobacco industry tends to yield results favorable to the industry's position. One only needs to refer to the landmark Department of Justice case against the tobacco companies to know their history of disseminating misinformation designed to protect industry profits.
In summary, e-cigarettes are an unregulated product and e-cigarette manufacturers
and proponents are using classic tobacco industry marketing tactics, especially
aimed at young adults via online media, to normalize product use and to promote
e-cigarettes as a "safe" alternative to smoking, as an easy way to
quit smoking, and as safe for use in indoor environments. Thus far, the discussion
about product safety has been driven by the industry itself. But decisions about
protecting public health should be based on sound scientific evidence-not on
biased industry-funded research.
Vintage Tobacco Ads Serve as Templates for E-cig
is just one example of many. To see more, visit the Stanford University of Medicine's
collection of e-cigarette ads at: http://tobacco.stanford.edu/tobacco_main/ecigs.php
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