Part of the problem of allowing people to have their say is that people will have their say. The FDA recently came up with their deeming regulations and then threw the document out there for everyone and anyone to comment on. Unfortunately, that has meant some rather irresponsible people are joining in.
We love scientists, but sometimes they can be rather blinkered. A comment by a group of them has sent pro e-cigarette vibes way back. And that comment has found its way into that whole FDA deeming information gathering process, which is already looking like a propaganda tool anyway.
Spectrum of risk on e-cigs etc. but no evidence
Three UCSF scientists have written to the FDA to state that, among other things, a ‘spectrum of risk’ when it comes to tobacco products and tobacco product replacements is logical. But they also say there is no real empirical evidence to bear this out. In plain English, this is basically saying that you can’t call electronic cigarettes ‘safer’ because we haven’t got the numbers to prove it.
In the submission to the FDA, the scientists say a whole lot of other things that make our heads spin. But the general issue here is that they are actually saying something that does not necessarily need to be said. We know that we can call e-cigs ‘safer’, if not ‘safe’, but the scientists are simply saying that this is something we should not do.
To back all of this up they have reeled out a million ways (well it seems like a million anyway) that nicotine can generally make your life more difficult and more painful (apparently, a lot of this bad news applies to mice in laboratory conditions, so nicotine must hurt humans too).
Why complain about e-cigs and not cigarettes?
What’s worrying about this is that we know that nicotine is really not harmful, or at least nowhere near as harmful as what is found in tobacco cigarettes. Here’s a cribsheet of sorts if you’re feeling a little uninformed about cancer sticks.
If you take into account the fact that there are thousands of chemicals in tobacco cigarettes, the very idea that these scientists are complaining about nicotine seems a little bit laughable.
How much would a woman have to take into her lungs to cause her baby to feel hypertension? Who knows? But that’s not the point. The point is that these idiotic people have chosen to compare e-cigs to tobacco products, and somehow they still feel justified in saying that electronic cigarette products are dangerous. This is incredible stuff, and it makes for car-crash reading.
Basically, we should stand back for a second and try to look at this logically. Let’s start with a quote:
The idea of a “spectrum of risk” or “continuum of risk” among tobacco and nicotine delivery products is logical. However at this time it is a hypothesis lacking sufficient empirical evidence to use as a basis for regulatory decisions. There have been many instances in the history of the tobacco epidemic when similar logical hypotheses have been proven to be wrong. It was logical to believe that filtered cigarettes would be safer than unfiltered cigarettes. It was logical to believe that light cigarettes would be safer than full-flavor cigarettes. It was logical to believe that the risk of cardiovascular disease from exposure to secondhand cigarette smoke would be 10-100 times less than that of active smoking. Each one of these logical hypotheses has been proven wrong, at an immense cost to the public health (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, U.S. Public Health Service et al. 2001, Institute of Medicine 2010, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention et al. 2014). The FDA should not predicate regulatory actions on the assumption that any tobacco or nicotine delivery product is substantially safer than another until the improved safety profile has been demonstrated by a substantial body of peer-reviewed scientific research.
Okay, this quote deserves reprinting in its entirety because it is just misleading. You cannot compare e-cigs to filtered tobacco cigarettes for example. That is wrong, because even an idiot would know that an e-cig would be safer than a filtered cigarette.
What’s even more galling is that secondhand smoke is brought into the comment, like e-cigs have anything like secondhand smoke involved.
Then let’s get to the real issue here, that e-cigs are (thanks to the FDA wanting to deem them as tobacco products) directly linked (unfortunately) to tobacco cigarettes. This kind of rubbish is why some people still think vapers are smokers.
And for God’s sake, the things are still safer than tobacco cigarettes. What is the point of sending this kind of rubbish to the FDA?