The European Parliament has set the bar and with FDA regulation coming soon the mainstream media continues to discuss unfounded electronic cigarette health risks. The lack of context and logic emanating from media is contributing to widespread misunderstanding and creates the possibility of impacting electronic cigarette regulation.
Case in point, Bloomberg News interviewed Jason Healy, former president of Blu Cigs, and anchor Stephanie Ruhle drew a link between electronic cigarettes and youth smoking. Her rationale for this supposition was puzzling to say the least.
My kids don’t know what cigarettes are,” said Ruhle during the interview. The crux of her argument was that cigarettes are essentially out of sight and out of mind as far as society is concerned. There are more than 40 million Americans addicted to smoking tobacco, the level of insulation necessary to avoid exposing children to tobacco is overwhelming. Children would have to be home schooled, preferably in a polar region, and denied access to any communication medium. It is just not plausible.
It is estimated that the average person will meet in the range of 100,000 people in a lifetime. Remote, rural dwellers meet about 10,000. Inhabitants of major cities commonly make 200,000 acquaintances in the course of a lifetime. If we take the middle number, 100,000, that means that a functioning human being will meet 14,000 smokers in their lifetime. Exposure to tobacco is going to happen. To assert that smoking is an issue that has passed behind us and is no longer even noteworthy is a sad argument indeed. Ignoring the matter should never be considered as a solution to any problem. Tobacco and smoking are terrible problems and that is the reality.
The fact is that our society still has a smoking addiction that absolutely needs to be dealt with. Are electronic cigarettes the perfect solution? Probably not, but they are certainly an ally in the fight. To treat them as an enemy is simply an irrational approach.
Ruhle and co-anchor Eric Schatzker both expressed strong anti-smoking sentiments that we applaud. Their fears regarding electronic cigarettes are understandable. Thus far the information available to the average person via traditional channels have led many people to unfounded conclusions.
Electronic cigarettes are still a mystery to many. They come in the form of cigalikes, mods, etc and their very appearance can be intimidating. The media should be removing the shroud of mystery rather than playing to hysterics or serving their advertisers, namely big pharma. After all, when was the last time you watched an hour of television without seeing a commercial for some type of drug.
As we watched this particular interview unfold, it was clear that Jason Healy did an excellent job of addressing fears and explaining the perspective of the majority of the electronic cigarette industry. The questions and debates will rage on. Should vaping be allowed in public? Should e liquid flavors and nicotine levels be limited to discourage youth smoking? While regulators and lawmakers would be well advised to recognize electronic cigarettes as an ally in the fight against smoking, likewise the electronic cigarette industry will have to learn to work with oppositionists in order to find the common ground necessary to ensure that smokers have options to minimize the risks associated with smoking.
ECCR will continue to closely monitor these debates and keep you up to date. If you are an advocate of the potential of the electronic cigarette, speak out and educate others. Challenge myths and misconceptions. Please feel free to share our articles and share your opinions.