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FDA Expert Claims Ecigs Following Path Of Big Tobacco

By Matt McConnell

Monday March 16, 2015
fda public workshop on ecigarette regulation

FDA ecig regulation is coming, and we all know it. Last year, the FDA proposed ecig regulations were released and the industry breathed some sighs of relief as there was no mention of banning ecigs outright but the proposed regulations were just that, proposals.

In the year since, the regulatory climate may have changed just as has the ecig industry itself has changed. As many vapers moved away from cigalikes and into more complex ecig tank systems being sold by smaller, independent American businesses rather than the corporate giants, the powers that be saw future control of the industry slipping away.

Vaping Industry More Independent, Attacks On Ecigs Increase

In the last several months, the media climate has taken a drastic turn to the negative as well. If you Google “e-cigarettes” and click the news feature, you will see that the overwhelming majority of media reports on ecigs are extremely negative. The facts rarely, rarely match the scary headlines.

For the general public the truth about e-cigarettes has been largely lost in the shuffle and sensationalism. The media loves a scary headline and e-cigarettes have become their bogeyman and punching bag. The attacks are familiar:

  • Ecigs will lead to a new generation of smokers. We’ve all heard that and the actual data does not support that at all. Studies tell us that non-smokers aren’t vaping.
  • Ecigs will lead to youth smoking. Critics love this one and they have been manipulating national survey data to suit their means but the truth is that kids and teens are not flocking to ecigs at all.
  • Ecigs contain chemicals like formaldehyde. This is a very popular myth that has gained momentum despite its manipulated origins. The tiresome formaldehyde in ecigs myth does not stand up to any scientific scrutiny.
  • Ecigs are poisoning children. Critics really love this one. The fact is that ecig nicotine poisoning cases are utterly miniscule in comparison to a host of other household products. Pharmaceuticals and household cleaners poison children at a far more alarming rate. Button batteries are more dangerous to children than ecigs.

All of these attacks were fully implemented in the FDA public workshop regarding pending ecigarette regulation. The vaping community expected these attacks and they will no doubt form the foundation of the fight that lies ahead. The vaping community has a fight ahead working to ensure that smokers have as much access as possible to a less harmful alternative to tobacco.

Big Tobacco Compared To Ecigs

dr difranza said that ecigs were doing the same things as tobacco to attract customers

Dr. DiFranza Speaks At FDA Ecig Workshop

As the FDA public workshop unfolded, a new and astonishing attack on ecigs was launched. Dr. Joseph DiFranza of the University of Massachusetts Medical School claimed that e-cigarette marketers were following in the footsteps of Big Tobacco.

He actually compared decades of deceit and the willful promotion of a deadly product to the efforts ecigarette entrepreneurs trying to provide smokers with an option that might help them avoid the deadly effects of toxic cigarettes.

Someone is in desperate need of a history lesson.

Read some of Big Tobacco’s dark history here.

ECCR has been tracking all of the latest ecig news developments and we observed the FDA public workshop live webcast so that we could be the first to let you know what is going on in terms of ecig regulatory affairs. When we heard about this new line of attack on e-cigarettes, it was a jolt.

Dr. DiFranza based his statement on the grounds that ecig flavors are attractive to children. Apparently, once you hit 18 years old fruit and candy flavors lose all appeal.

The fact is that an array of products designed for adults come in fruit and candy flavors. Everything from alcohol to nicotine gums to pharmaceuticals come in flavors that would appeal to anyone with a sweet tooth. Where is Dr. DiFranza’s argument that the beverage, pharmaceutical and confection industries are just like Big Tobacco?

The ridiculousness of the argument that these sweet ecig flavors are designed to attract children is something that vapers are well aware of. The idea that a researcher is attacking ecigs from the angle that ecigs are following the path of Big Tobacco is way out of left field.

Big Tobacco Vs Ecigs

Electronic cigarettes also known as water vapor cigarettes are now being pursued by Big TobaccoBig Tobacco has a dark history indeed. For decades, they concealed the fact the cigarettes are deadly. They utilized doctors to promote their products as a stress reliever. Big Tobacco provided free cigarettes for American military personnel right through the Vietnam War.

Think about the millions of Americans who served. Almost 3 million Americans served in Vietnam. These people answered the call of their country and went into harm’s way. All were given free cigarettes, a generation of smokers was created.

This was designed to get people hooked and develop customers for life. If tobacco product giveaways were still allowed, you could make a safe bet that Big Tobacco would be giving away samples left and right.

Big Tobacco had backroom deals with Hollywood to get around the ban on tobacco advertising. Once upon a time Big Tobacco promoted cigarettes to women as a means of losing weight. They have massive distribution and can get their products put right in front of you at almost every check out counter in the country.

The ecig industry’s growth in the United States has been driven by independent entrepreneurs rather than giant, powerful corporations. The majority of vapers and ecig brands has no fondness for Big Tobacco and find the idea of being compared to Big Tobacco repulsive. Dr. DiFranza could not be more out of touch.

big tobacco used to sell cigarettes as a weight loss aidEcigs are the counter to Big Tobacco, not the next generation. The e-cigarette was developed to help people get away from cigarettes.

No one in the vaping business wants to follow in the footsteps of Big Tobacco and the top rated, best ecig brands have conducted themselves with a level of transparency and conscientiousness that has been above reproach.

The vaping community knows the history of Big Tobacco better than anyone and there is zero desire to come close to following the nefarious trail that was shamelessly blazed by Big Tobacco.

The difference between the history of tobacco and the ecig industry could not be more different. Comparing the two as equal is a new attack strategy designed to scare people about the e-cigarette. It is an argument devoid of all logic.

This simply goes to show that the overall strategy is to scare people, to lie about ecigs at every turn.

It is estimated that 3 to 4 million people in the United States now vape rather than smoke. That is millions of people who no longer expose themselves to the thousands of toxins in cigarettes. Millions of lives changed. Ecigs are not perfect and some are certainly far superior to others.

The researchers who are being paid by various interests to find issues with ecigarette are educated, talented, and highly capable people. I am sure Dr. DiFranza is an excellent academic. Imagine a scenario where research dedicated itself to making the product batter rather than simply trying to tear it down. Imagine a constructive approach rather than a destructive approach. Perhaps then, tens of millions of people would escape the worst harms of tobacco addiction.

Unfortunately, given the current reality, all we can do is imagine. The reality is that the ecig as we know it will have to fight for every victory and every life changed.





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