Federal agencies and activist groups have been propping up dubious research in an effort to undermine the growing market for electronic cigarettes, according to a report released Wednesday from an advocacy group.
The Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), based in Washington, D.C., released a report to show how spreading misinformation on e-cigs can even be a detriment to public health.
But no consumer should take this to mean that e-cigs are “safe,” period, for their health.
The CEI report makes clear that research has yet to calculate the precise long-term risks associated with vaping. The vaping products currently on the market are still quite new and a great deal of study needs to be done about them and their affect on health.
But the report says the bulk of reputable scientific institutions are concluding that vaping is safer than traditional tobacco cigarette smoking. The report points to data from such groups as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
In its report, the CEI, a free-market policy public policy nonprofit founded in 1984, said unfounded fears about e-cigarettes have been further elevated over concerns of a teen smoking epidemic.
E-cigs have emerged as a relevantly new alternative to traditional cigarettes.
“E-cigarettes pose much less of a health risk than cigarette smoking, which kills nearly half a million Americans every year,” CEI senior fellow Michelle Minton, who authored the report, said in a statement.
“Public health advocates and officials should help consumers by telling them the truth about e-cigarettes — that they are far less dangerous than smoking cigarettes. But instead, they are scaring people and imposing government restrictions on e-cigarettes that will discourage smoking cessation and put millions of smokers’ lives at further risk,” she insisted.
Misinformation could result in regulations that restrict access to vaping by adults, the report suggests.
The report points out that people don’t just use e-cigs as a supposedly safer alternative; many people also use them as a tool to quit their smoking addiction.
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The CEI report argued that the influence of government agencies and health activist groups that spread misinformation is confounded by their apolitical image. But in truth, the report declares, the health advocacy groups are seeking federal grants, which becomes easier to secure once they align on policy goals and present them as a crisis.
The health advocacy groups also help to boost the agencies among lawmakers — which helps increase their budget. The report specifically points to the American Cancer Society and the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, which seek grants from agencies such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the National Institutes of Health.
“Congress needs to make sure [the] FDA determines its policies based on what will benefit public health overall and investigate whether CDC funding is being used for science instead of activism,” Minton said.
The CDC found that the adolescent use of cigarettes has decreased by more than half since the introduction of e-cigs, from 15.8 percent in 2011 to 7.6 percent in 2017.
The Public Health England, an executive agency in the United Kingdom, found e-cigs pose just a fifth of the risk of cigarettes.
Another report by various health experts found that substituting smoking with vaping could prevent up to 7 million premature deaths in the U.S.
But vaping cannot be considered harmless — and that’s an important distinction all consumers must know.
As LifeZette has previously reported, most people who use e-cigarettes are still inhaling nicotine, “which is highly addictive and a gateway to other drugs and combustible cigarette use. This is not a safe alternative to smoking,” said Nancy Campbell-Heider, a high-risk adolescent behavior expert at the University of Buffalo in New York.
In addition, the liquid, flavorings and aerosols used in e-cigarettes are also not safe across the board, according to an October 2018 article from the Center on Addiction.
The vapor created by e-cigarettes may even harm lung tissue much as regular cigarettes do, as British researchers reported and as Web MD noted recently.
“With or without nicotine, e-cigarette vapor increases inflammation and disables cells that protect lung tissue, human tissue tests reveal. Harming these cells makes them vulnerable to dust, bacteria and allergens that might lead to incurable chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), the researchers say.”
And watch this video about how vaping damages the immune system: