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Good Sense Continues to Prevail in E-Cig Debate!

Forbes commentator Jacob Sullen (also an editor at Reason) has chimed in with praise of Tavernise's article on the e-cig controversy in yesterday's Times. And not only with praise, but with the conclusion that no one who reads Tavernise's clear-headed and even-handed reportage could possibly support the anti-vaping position.

With salutory insight, Sullen notes the falsehood of the claim that e-cigarettes are a gateway to smoking among minors, pointing out that the much touted rise in youth vaping was accompanied at the very same time by a marked decline in smoking by the same group. Sullen already pointed out last November, in Reason, that the very same CDC study showing e-cig increases in the age group, much-reported in the press, with horrified hand-wringing, indicated the drop in smoking for the same group. The convergence of these data points renders Thomas Frieden's statement that "many kids are starting out with e-cigarettes and then going on to smoke conventional cigarettes" not just an unsupported allegation, but a bald falsehood. Michael Siegel noted the same discrepancy in his blog in November, but no one else in the press seemed to notice.

Later on, the next month, a study at the University of Michigan confirmed the drop, but the fact that it demolishes Frieden's assertion went unnoticed. In fact the text of the Michigan study attributed the decline to higher cigarette taxes and anti-smoking campaigns (which may indeed have played a role). However, a significant new factor, specific to the time period in question, was the appearance of electronic cigarettes.

Sullen goes on to point out, in the Forbes article, that former smokers who have quit with the help of electronic cigarettes are a tangible reality, enthusiastically proclaiming their success all over the internet, while anti-vaping zealots have yet to produce any of the smokers who they say will continue to smoke because they can vape. There are "dual users" of course, as Stanton Glantz continues to point out, but there is no indication of why they engage in this evil practice. The supposition that they continue to smoke because they can vape, the position taken by Glantz and his allies, just doesn't seem as plausible as the possibility that they might be using e-cigs as a way of gradually weaning themselves away from cigarettes. Or simply that their goal is substantial reduction of their smoking rather than total cessation. And the anti-vaping crowd cannot make good the allegation that a substantial reduction in smoking is a bad thing, even if it is not as good as total cessation.

Sullen chides CDC director Thomas Frieden for his claim that restricting access to e-cigarettes is the path of "safety", agreeing with Siegel that making it "too hard for this experiment to continue" will result in a wasted opportunity to save the lives of millions. Sullen opines that it is a revulsion against something that looks "like a long-reviled symbol of evil" that stands behind much opposition to vaping. The last word is given to UK epidemiologist John Britton, to the effect that the tobacco industry is the enemy and "everything they do has to be opposed.... But one doesn't want that to stand in the way of public health."

  • flynbyeya

    The rich stay rich, and the poor stay poor. I can't stand this crap. The loss in revenue from less cigarette sales shouldn't be more important than saving lives.

  • Fiamma Palermo

    Regardless of your political leanings work for anyone opposing a sitting legislator opposing e cigs to help them get elected. Educate them so they understand our position and that we too have rights.

  • http://www.facebook.com/john.polinard John Polinard

    EDUCATION WILL DO NOTHING. THEY KNOW EXACTLY WHAT THEY ARE DOING. BIG TOBACCO WANTS US OUT SO THEY CAN HAVE THE MARKET TO THEM SELVES,, THEY WILL DO AND SAY WHATEVER THEY CAN TO THE SMALL OWNER OUT OF SAID MARKET. IT MONEY vs HEALTH AND THEY CHOOSE CASH,, THEY ALWAYS HAVE AND ALWAYS WILL. ITS A FIGHT PLAIN AND SIMPLE AND WE MUST NOT LET THEM WIN

  • http://www.facebook.com/john.polinard John Polinard

    i AGREE THAT WE NEED TO SHOW THE PUBLIC THAT WE ARE HELPING TO MOVE AWAY FROM TOBACCO AND UTILIZING A SMARTER AND HEALTHIER DELIVERY SYSTEM FOR NICOTINE IN ESSENCE SAVING LIVES BUT THE PEOPLE NEED TO STAND UP AGAINST BIG TOBACCO THAT IS THE ONLY WAY WE WIN, BY SHOW OF FORCE. WE THE PEOPLE!!!!!!!!

  • disqus_rbe4oDvmKI

    great if there was a link, where we could click on, or and a
    letter we could all sign

  • Laurie Carlson

    I have a proposal. What if EVERY person who vapes donates at least $5 a month to CASAA - money talks! With that, WE CAN FIGHT BACK! Anyone in on this? I'm MORE than willing!!!

  • Laurie Carlson

    PS. This kind of sounds like we are headed towards Prohibition with these! LOL! We CANNOT ALLOW THIS! This is why I say we donate what we can, at least $5 a month to CASAA then we CAN FIGHT! It takes money, honey!

  • Laurie Carlson

    What about China? THEY should be helping us, too! They stand to lose BILLIONS of dollars if we get banned or not banned, but not allowed to buy online or whatever. Super high taxes put on us, etc. I say China should help stand behind us, too! HOW to get them to do that, I have no clue, but it's a thought! THEY want the $$$ just as bad as our Government wants it!

  • b1aflatoxin

    We have to call'em. We have to drop a letter in the mailbox too.

    We need our E-cig community leaders to organize more petitions maybe.

    The e-cig petitions on http://www.care2.com are old, but they have had decent traffic.

    I used to smoke 20 filterless RYO's a day. My fingers where brown where I held cigarettes, and the back of my bottom teeth where black! I was in bad! I tried many thing to help me stop killing myself. But I loved to smoke! Then one day I found the electronic cigarette and I educated myself on what they where about. Long story short weened myself off tobacco and I love vaping! I tell every smoker I see about how I was one of those ppl who could NEVER quit smoking, till I found electronic cigarettes.

    Thanks for keeping us informed!

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