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American Lung Association Pushes For Ban On Electronic Cigarettes 790

Posted by timothy
from the pursuit-of-absolute-safety-on-paper dept.
Anarki2004 writes "The American Lung Association is jumping on board the ban-E-cigs-train. From the article: 'So, while the ALA admitted that electronic cigarettes contain fewer chemicals than tobacco cigarettes, they refuse to acknowledge the obvious health benefit that lack of the most toxic chemicals provides to the smokers who switch. Are lives and lung health the real issue here or is nicotine addiction? The ALA must know that numerous studies show that, absent the tobacco smoke, nicotine is relatively harmless and comparable to caffeine. The American Heart Association acknowledges that nicotine is "safe" in other smoke-free forms such as patches or gum.' For those of you not in the know, electronic cigarettes (also called personal vaporizers) are a nicotine delivery device that resembles a cigarette in shape and size, but does not burn tobacco. It is less a expensive alternative to the traditional tobacco cigarette that is by all appearances (though not thoroughly researched) also healthier."
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American Lung Association Pushes For Ban On Electronic Cigarettes

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  • Their real motive.. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 15, 2010 @03:37PM (#31861958)

        'HEY! THOSE PEOPLE ARE ENJOYING SOMETHING WE DONT APPROVE OF! STOP THEM!'

    They always came off that way anyways with the attitude of their messages.

  • Re:Good article (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 15, 2010 @03:37PM (#31861980)
    Logic and reason being that local governments across the nation have had one helluva hard time pushing an insane sin tax on this alternate drug delivery vehicle. These guys have nothing to lose and everything to gain by banning them.
  • Re:Good article (Score:5, Interesting)

    by butterflysrage (1066514) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @03:39PM (#31862008)

    no kidding. My husband has a serious cigarette allergy (his throat swells shut and he falls over unable to breathe), more smokers people using e-cigs the better. The lack of all that crap in them greatly reduces his symptoms, and the fact that a far higher % is absorbed by the smoker means that there is less in the air per "cig".

    E-cigs have far less second hand smoke, and generally only harm the person using them. If anything, the APA should be trying to get more long term smokers to swap to e-cigs if they are not planning on quiting.

  • by butterflysrage (1066514) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @03:41PM (#31862052)

    addiction... while nicotine is not that dangerous on its own, it is still hellishly addictive.

  • by Khyber (864651) <techkitsune@gmail.com> on Thursday April 15, 2010 @03:46PM (#31862150) Homepage Journal

    No, not really. If you intend to sell it, yes. If you cultivate it for your own personal use, they can't do shit.

    Hell I just ordered a ten pack of albino tobacco seeds.

    ATF What?

  • They're decent... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by seebs (15766) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @03:47PM (#31862156) Homepage

    Beloved Spouse has been using these. They smell less bad, they're not as bad for you, and they make it a lot easier to taper down nicotine to get rid of it -- without taking away the fidget. Seems like a great idea, and I am pretty sure the only reason to ban them is that they could result in many people ceasing to use the pure-cancer form of nicotine delivery.

    One caveat, though, the cartridges don't seem to last NEARLY as long as advertised. Still cheaper that traditional cigs.

  • by pavon (30274) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @03:48PM (#31862200)

    It isn't hard to find chemical free cigarettes. Most of the convenience stores around here stock at least one variety, like this brand [nascigs.com]. They aren't really any healthier though. The health problems with cigarettes have far less to do with the chemicals, and more to do with partially combusted hydrocarbons (tar) sticking to the most sensitive parts of your lungs.

    The chemicals are put into cigarettes for various reasons - some to make the smoke "smoother", some for flavor, some to make the cigarette burn faster, and others actually increase the combustion of the leaves, decreasing some of the more harmful naturally occurring components of tar.

  • by nweaver (113078) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @03:50PM (#31862232) Homepage

    The author is attacking the American Lung Association for their agenda. But what's the author's agenda?

    Quoting from her bio on the site: Kristin Noll-Marsh is a charter member of the board of directors of The Consumer Advocates for Smoke-free Alternatives Association (CASAA), Vapers International and a member of the Vaper's Coalition, a cooperation of organizations working to encourage the use and understanding of smoke-free alternatives. She receives no funding (directly or indirectly) from tobacco, drug or e-cigarette companies or trade assocations.

    Do you honestly believe that those organizations listed do not receive substantial sponsorshipf from e-cigarette companies and affiliated interests?

  • by BobMcD (601576) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @03:52PM (#31862286)

    We're witnessing, in our own time, a version of the 'Edison DC'/'Tesla AC' debate. Except there's more law and fewer dead elephants.

    In the one corner, tobacco. Long-known, home-grown, proven mood-adjuster. People can self-medicate throughout their normal day by taking what's known as a 'smoke break', as little or as often as necessary. There are no debilitating effects, like with alcohol or marijuana, that otherwise interfere with your daily life. It is messy, yes, but quite effective and relatively cheap (before taxes).

    In the other corner, prescription drugs. Little pills exist for every problem. Your doctor tells you how many to take, and your pharmacy tells you how much it costs. When they don't work quite well enough, go back to the doc and get some more. Eventually you'll need a box with seven compartments to keep it all straight, but you might just wind up feeling exactly the way you want, all the time. Look at Chantix, for example. One-for-one transition with that one: nicotine to prescriptions.

    Now ask yourself, who staffs the ALA? Who makes their policy decisions? Lay persons, or medical industry types?

    Occam's Razor applies here. Unless you really think that it makes MORE sense that the ALA has collectively taken leave of its senses.

  • Re:Nicotine (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Shakrai (717556) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @03:53PM (#31862302) Journal

    Pot is definitely addictive.

    Citation needed.

  • by L3370 (1421413) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @03:53PM (#31862310)
    What is in the inhaled mixture of an e-cig other than the nicotine? Anyone know by chance?
  • Re:Good article (Score:3, Interesting)

    by nabsltd (1313397) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @03:55PM (#31862360)

    The "smoke" you see is water vapor.

    There must be some amount of other chemicals in that "water vapor" or else these devices wouldn't be any different from sticking your head over a humidifier.

    Anecdotal only, but I can smell something in the air when one of these devices is around me. Last I checked, water was odorless (no jokes about some river near you, please).

  • Re:Nicotine (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 15, 2010 @03:57PM (#31862380)

    Nicotine is far from harmless.

    Citation needed. And remember, we're discussing nicotine only. Don't link me an article about cigarettes.

    Go and look it up in the wiki. It is well known that nicotine is a deadly toxin with an LD50 as low as 50mg. Even in the lower doses found in nicotine patches, it causes birth defects for pregnant women and inhibits aptoposis.

  • by Xelios (822510) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @03:58PM (#31862408)
    It should be mentioned that most of the manufacturers of e-cig liquid offer nicotine-free versions. Getting through the physical dependency of nicotine could be a lot easier if you don't have to fight through the psychological habit of the whole act of smoking at the same time.
  • by IndustrialComplex (975015) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @03:59PM (#31862428)

    Anything not good for you is bad, hence, illegal.

    Aren't you glad that you don't have to worry about that nasty hard process of making your own decisions and bothering with informing yourself? Just know that as long as you follow the law, you will be safe.

  • Re:Good article (Score:1, Interesting)

    by poetmatt (793785) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @04:03PM (#31862504) Journal

    nope. really, that's all it is. nicotine, fake smoke (For smokers), and that's it. No other millions of chemicals.

    The reason this is a big deal is that the rate of permanent cigarette quitters for ecigs is substantially higher than the rate of quitters on patches/etc. It's like 7% on patches versus somewheres in the 50% rate on ecigs.

  • by KlomDark (6370) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @04:06PM (#31862570) Homepage Journal

    eCigs have about 1/1000th the health risk of a normal cigarette. Somehow moving society forward to a far less harmful way to maintain a nicotine addiction is a bad thing? Sure, addiction is bad, but dying of cancer is a lot worse. This is a way to significantly avoid cancer. It's completely antithetical to the ALA's stated purpose to be against these.

    I think the ALA is just pissed cause they aren't going to be able to continue their free ride where they are funded by a cut of cigarette taxes. Of course they are against that, as they are becoming irrelevant.

    It's like the RIAA/MPAA witch hunt, only instead of trying to mess with people rights and freedom, they are trying to take away people's lives. Even worse.

    Lets face it, eCigs are very disruptive technology - the old way is breathing in burning smoke with all kinds of carcinogens (and lots of taxes on it since it's truly dangerous), the new way is inhaling vaporized nicotine (Not much of an excuse for a sin tax on a nearly safe product.) and all the tax-funded entities aren't going to get their cut, so of course they are against it.

    It's safer, by far, so let's ban it. That makes sense.

    eCigs have the potential to save millions from the agonizing death of lung cancer, this should be the key point and the reason society should back eCigs wholeheartedly. My grandparents might still be alive if this product existed back in the day.

    I thought the ALA and other anti-smoking outfits had a purpose - trying to keep people from using a highly dangerous product. This just makes me completely disrespect them.

    Fully dumb - for every day they fight these things, that's another thousand people who will get cancer.

    Are eCigs completely safe? No, they are not, but they are around three orders of magnitude safer than real cigarettes, so that should be the deciding factor.

    Ban tobacco smoking, no problem now, there's a better alternative.

    Banning something with a dangerosity level on the level of coffee is just asinine and futile.

    Just more money-grubbing pigs, ignore them and help millions avoid cancer.

  • Re:Good article (Score:5, Interesting)

    by spun (1352) <loverevolutionar ... m ['o.c' in gap]> on Thursday April 15, 2010 @04:10PM (#31862646) Journal

    It's funny. Some people seem to have no problem with big corporations controlling almost every aspect of their lives, but take offense at mere suggestions from people trying to look out for them. It's almost as if they identify with the corporations and the owning class CEOs and board members who run them, and anything that limits the powers of said fat cats is a personal affront. News Flash, you idiots: you are not owning class fat cats and you never will be so stop siding with them all the time. They are laughing at you as they rape you and steal your wallet, while you sit there like the abused spouse who defends their own oppressor.

  • Re:Good article (Score:1, Interesting)

    by blargfellow (948805) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @04:15PM (#31862764)
    One can only assume that all of the nicotine isn't absorbed in the user's lungs.
  • Re:Good article (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 15, 2010 @04:19PM (#31862834)

    fake smoke is:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Propylene_glycol#Applications

  • by Archangel Michael (180766) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @04:21PM (#31862872) Journal

    It is now. I used to avoid /. when Goatse links and GNAA posts would randomly appear. The pain factor has been removed and now I'm completely addicted with no harmful effects. Kind of like the fake cigarettes being discussed.

    Haven't we learned anything!?!?

  • Bullshit (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Rakishi (759894) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @04:24PM (#31862930)

    The ALA can go fuck itself. E-cigs are from what I've noticed the single best way to quit smoking and apparently the ALA doesn't want people to actually quit smoking. Patches and all that jazz don't work so I wonder how much ALA funding is coming from the makers of those.

    It's quite clear there's more to a cigarette addiction than just a nicotine addiction. Patches and all that crap barely work for that very reason.

    I know a lot of people who have tried to quit for years or decades without much success. Then they tried e-cigs and after a while they don't smoke at all anymore or at most once a week. Quite a few have even stopped smoking e-cigs as well. If I remember studies show the success rate to be absurdly better than any other approach.

  • Re:Good article (Score:2, Interesting)

    by HereIAmJH (1319621) <{HereIAmJH} {at} {hdtrvs.org}> on Thursday April 15, 2010 @04:32PM (#31863084)

    Are they a government organization, or are you using a word you don't understand?

    Do they have to be a government organization to force their agenda on the public? The American Cancer Society is currently lobbying Kansas Legislators to pass a $1 per pack tax on cigarettes. And they're running 'think of the children' radio spots.

    I don't smoke and I don't live in Kansas, but I find it disturbing that a private group has a good chance of singling out a minority who participate in an activity they don't approve of with higher taxes.

  • by bluefoxlucid (723572) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @04:35PM (#31863130) Journal

    Well the second group also has a tendency to only pay attention to tangible things, which causes a problem.

    This is essentially the argument over legalized drugs (the intelligent one, not the one where "we can tax a $100 trillion industry!" that's going to be a $50 million industry when the shit's legal). One side says these are evil, harmful, addictive things that destroy lives; the other says (get this-- it's great) people will manage themselves fine while addicted to crack, and will get professional help and have doctors write prescriptions, and use their drugs responsibly.

    The reality comes in two stages. First, people will get prescribed 40mg twice a day of something like Ecstacy (or probably something more recreational, life-taylored, like "okay, take ONE of these on Saturday Night at the club"). They will then proceed to abuse their prescriptions (people do this already with prescription meds) to get high... well, higher. Then they'll get locked out because of abuse as their doctor refuses to write more prescription. Then they'll hit the street for illegal drugs... again....

    Second, now that we're back where we started, we have to change the assumptions: prescription/doctors were for SALE, but you're legally allowed to ACQUIRE AND USE whatever you want. So stage 2 starts. Society drifts. Everyone is always impaired. Moral and ethical bases shift. This has a real impact on the effectiveness of the work force, on education, on everything.

    But this is all very fuzzy; importantly, it's just as fuzzy as "everything will be fine." Read this again: the hypothesis that legalizing drugs will result in a Utopian Paradise or even in a complete null operation (i.e. no change) is JUST AS CRAZY as assuming the whole world will slowly fall apart, if not more so (because we know drugs are addictive and make your behavior less rational, so this is more likely a bad thing in the long run). Those arguing for legalized drugs universally like to ignore ALL of this, since it's all (by definition) conjecture (yes, even if it's 100% accurate; you have to PROVE it first, scientifically, for it to be a valid known-factual argument).

    The argument over sex is actually more interesting. If you don't have dogmatic sexual restrictions (sex before marriage is a crime and/or draws severe social stigma that totally fucks up your life), society's morals drift. Society will then eventually stabilize at a point where you can just walk up to anyone and suggest fucking, and get it right there; sex flows freely, about as easy as hugs and handshakes. It's a slow, multi-generational process; but you can only stabilize on one side or the other, as there is no way to acknowledge casual sex as NOT horrendously evil without giving the logical conclusion that it's perfectly fine to be a lecher or a slut (note: I've known some really slutty girls that were both responsible and good people, very respectful and intelligent... I've known bitches and idiot dickwhores too; I don't judge people on their sexual promiscuity).

    These are the fun, not-quite-philosophical considerations that loom over these ugly philosophical battles. Yes, we mostly care for some weird concept of "morals" and "ethics" and some sort of "idealism" we follow; but the impacts are real, in both directions.

  • Re:Good article (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 15, 2010 @04:35PM (#31863140)

    The "fake smoke" is really just water-vapor from what I have read...

  • Re:Good article (Score:3, Interesting)

    by poetmatt (793785) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @04:37PM (#31863174) Journal

    honestly, I read it on some sites I came across when the ban was pushed again, but I'll see if I can find it. From a read of wiki, maybe the sites were a bit biased, since wikipedia at least claims that there have been no conclusive studies.

    Hmm.

    I don't know, I don't have the expertise to reliably cite the studies, so someone please mod down my OPs.

  • Re:Good article (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 15, 2010 @04:39PM (#31863224)

    My personal anecdotal evidence is similarly persuasive. I bought my mother an e-cig and not only did she cut down on the amount of smoking she did--for the first time in almost 40 years--but her car and clothes stopped smelling like an ash tray. Plus she just plain began to feel better. Her friend kept bumming one of her spares and she too began to smoke less.

    Unfortunately, having to continually buy product replacements from overseas suppliers meant that after a few months she began reverting to traditional cigarettes, and now her smoking habit is escalating again. Correlation is not causation, but still....

    Nicotine itself is indeed carcinogenic, however. And the higher temperatures of burning cigarettes, plus other factors, leaves open the possibility that it would be hard to determine the relative cancer risk. Plus there have been issues w/ contamination with cheap producers of the glycol solution (but some producers advertise independent lab testing). Still, the persuasive part for me is how much easier people can stop smoking completely, if they choose, by using e-cigs.

    It's ridiculous how tobacco companies and health companies are conspiring to kill these things; the former because of profit concerns, the latter because of mostly moralistic issues (smoking == bad, e-cig == smoking, e-cig == bad; no matter the other characteristics).

  • Re:Good article (Score:4, Interesting)

    by bragr (1612015) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @04:40PM (#31863234)

    This is not entirely true. Some people have looked into the cartriges in the e-cigs and have found all sorts of interesting stuff like anti-freeze and unknown compounds.

    http://class-actions.lawyers.com/blogs/archives/1781-The-Dangers-of-E-Cigarettes.html

  • Re:Good article (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 15, 2010 @04:43PM (#31863302)

    Yes, the tobacco industry is against e-ciggs, the profit potential is much smaller with e-ciggs than it is with real tobacco cigarettes. And to my present knowledge none of the large american tobacco companies have licensed branded e-ciggs in any form from the current manufacturers/retailers to be sold along side their actual tobacco products.

    They are viewing the e-cigg as an invasive product in their market, it is taking market share and the traditional US tobacco companies [at this point anyway] have no interest in countering with equivalent products.

    IIRC there has already been something of a legal brouhaha over these things in Europe, any neighbors from across the pond care to chime in?

  • by mea37 (1201159) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @04:49PM (#31863388)

    I enjoy going to smoke-free establishments as well; however, if that were my only reason for liking smoking bans, I would oppose them. If you don't like what goes on in a bar, it's your responsibility to not patronize that bar. If no bar owners choose to provide the product you want (a smoke-free bar), too bad for you; you shouldn't be able to legislate that someone provide a product you prefer.

    HOWEVER, that is not the only reason to support a smoking ban. A far more valid reason, and the reason I do support such bans, is that the bar's employees are also exposed to second-hand smoke. The argument "they could choose not to work there" doesn't hold up, unless we also discard all of the OSHA regulations that provide for workplace safety.

  • by timeOday (582209) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @05:23PM (#31863904)

    Given the circumstances, all I personally ask for is that it's settled that they're statistically safer than cigarettes.

    If they turn out to be harmful but less so than cigarettes, perhaps they should be available on prescription for smoking cessation only, rather than just marketed to everybody as a harmless way to get addicted to nicotine. (I don't think there's any controversy about the addictiveness of nicotine, is there? Tobacco companies spent good money spraying it onto cigarettes to make them more addictive, and marijuana advocates claim nicotine is far more addictive than THC).

    And if they do turn out to be totally harmless, than they should just be spot-checked for purity like anything else. Nicotine patches are available over the counter (no prescription), and hopefully e-cigarettes turn out no worse than those.

  • So the ALA has a pretty valid point that E-cigs are still bad, even if they are less bad.

    So we should ban E-Cigs, but not the "more" bad regular kind?

    I suspect it is, at least in part, a case of them picking their battles. It is easier to stop a new product than kill an existing one; and if their interest is in lung health they should take action against things that are bad for lung health. They likely realize that there is no chance in hell of pulling off a full bad on regular cigarettes - at least not with a pro-business government - so they might as well put energy into something they might be able to get some traction on.

  • by Scrameustache (459504) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @05:53PM (#31864340) Homepage Journal

    One side says these are evil, harmful, addictive things that destroy lives; the other says (get this-- it's great) people will manage themselves fine while addicted to crack, and will get professional help and have doctors write prescriptions, and use their drugs responsibly.

    No: One side says addicts should be dealt with by the police, the other says addicts should be dealt with by doctors.

    Oh, ok, I'll meet you half way: One side says addicts are evil and their lives should be destroyed by the police, the other says addicts should be dealt with by doctors.
    There, that's closer to how you said it.

  • Re:Good article (Score:3, Interesting)

    by HiThere (15173) <charleshixsn@earthlink . n et> on Thursday April 15, 2010 @06:53PM (#31865102)

    Given the large number of chemicals in a cigarette, I wouldn't be so sure that an allergy to them is impossible.

    Also, if it's possible to have an allergy to tobacco leaves, then what are the grounds for presuming that it's impossible to have an allergy to the smoke from such leaves burning?

    I really doubt that you have any grounds for saying that such an allergy is impossible. Not that your hypothesis that it's a sensitivity to smoke, and tobacco only because it's in smoke form. That may be a reasonable conjecture. (I don't have enough evidence to tell.) But I really doubt your assertion that it's impossible.

  • by Teknikal69 (1769274) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @08:13PM (#31865998)
    I also bought one solely to legally get round a smoking ban in the UK and pretty amazingly I haven't smoked a real cigarette since that day it was never my intention to give them up. I just want my opinion noted that I feel a lot healthier than when I was smoking I have more energy my smell and taste atre back and I can walk quite considerable distances now without any problems. To put it bluntly these e-cigs were invented by a chinese fellow who lost someone to cancer and they work like a dream obviously well enough to scare the tobbaco/ medicine lobby. To ban these might even send me back to real cigarettes and end up killing me and who knows how many more, banning these without a doubt will end up killing a lot more people. So really what is the agenda here why do they want people to die?
  • Re:Good article (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 16, 2010 @01:18AM (#31868100)

    Same here. I've been using one for a few months, and I love it.
     
    The base of the liquid is propylene glycol, widely used as a medical filler both in vapor form (inhalers) and as a filler for injections when a very small amount of something is being injected. Beyond that, the only other ingredients in the liquid are tobacco-derived nicotine; the FDA was bitching because there were still TSNAs (tobacco-specific nitrosamines, known carcinogenic substances) present in the extract, but they failed to mention that they're also present in pretty much any tobacco-derived nicotine (e.g, nicotine patches, gum).

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