The news media and activists like to hype e-cigarettes and flavored tobacco products as a health hazard, but the reality is that e-cigarettes could help save smokers’ lives.
This summer, San Francisco voters went so far as approving a new ban on the sale of flavored tobacco products. The ban was proposed partly due to concerns that fruit and candy-flavored e-cigarettes are appealing to adolescents. But policy makers and voters in other cities looking to emulate San Francisco should be aware of the potentially devastating effects on public health.
To counter the untruths and misinformation, CEI consumer policy expert Michelle Minton has uncovered five facts about e-cigarettes you probably won’t hear about from the news media or anti-tobacco activists.
- E-cigarettes are significantly less harmful than cigarettes. Vaping exposes users to 95-99 percent fewer harmful and potentially harmful chemicals.
- For existing adult smokers, smoking cigarettes is far more harmful than e-cigarettes. Researchers recently estimated that getting smokers to switch to vaping could avert 6.6 million premature deaths.
- Banning the sale of vaping products will only discourage smokers from using safer alternatives. That’s a terrible outcome, because some studies have found that smokers who attempt to quit using e-cigarettes are 60 percent more likely to succeed than those using over-the-counter nicotine replacement therapies or willpower alone. Legislators should realize that the risks of vaping are far smaller than the risks of smoking and they should be cautious in how they regulate these products.
- E-cigarettes have not led to a rise in adolescent smoking. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has documented an astounding 30 percent decline in self-reported use of e-cigarettes by high schoolers and a nearly 40 percent drop among middle schoolers. In fact, it seems a low proportion of teens are vaping at all. Based on CDC’s latest population studies, at worst, less than .0015 percent of middle school and high school students are regularly vaping nicotine.
- Congress can help prevent needless smoker illnesses and deaths by improving the approval process for less harmful tobacco products, allowing advertising of truthful health-related claims about less harmful nicotine products, taking steps to ensure products currently available to consumers can remain on the market, and rejecting proposals that eliminate e-cigarette flavors or restrict sales to adults over the age of 21.
>>Read Michelle Minton’s op-ed in RealClear Health here.
>>Read Michelle Minton’s op-ed in The Hill here.
>>Read Michelle Minton’s recommendations for Congress here.