E-Cigarette Puritans Risk Lives


Tobacco companies faced a savage backlash in the 1990s when the public realized that they had willfully misled the world about the dangers of smoking. Company executives were dragged before Congress to answer for their crimes, the companies faced lawsuits in court, and to this day the phrase “Big Tobacco” stands as a synonym for corporate misconduct. Yet when leaders of the modern medical establishment employ the same tactics to deceive the public about the risks of e-cigarettes, they face few, if any, repercussions.

When e-cigarettes first appeared on the U.S. market, one could sympathize with government officials in the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) or the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) when they worried that e-cigarettes might attract non-smokers into nicotine addiction. One could also even agree that the evidence about e-cigarettes risks and benefits was unclear.

That period of uncertainty has ended. Research has shown time and time again that e-cigarettes are, not only far safer than smoking, but effective smoking cessation tools. The latest randomized controlled trial (the highest quality evidence) shows that e-cigarettes are twice as effective as nicotine replacement therapies at helping smokers quit. Yet, health authorities in the U.S. continue to mislead the public, claiming that e-cigarettes are no less harmful than smoking and ineffective at helping smokers quit.

In CEI’s latest study, “Anti-E-Cigarette Puritans Put Lives at Risk, I detail the latest data that shows, despite the rise of e-cigarette use, smoking among adults and adolescents is the lowest on record, and that e-cigarettes are an effective means for smokers to quit and/or reduce the harms of smoking. It is time health authorities put their puritanical inclinations aside and give the public accurate information about e-cigarettes.