The popularity of electronic cigarettes has grown exponentially lately, and as a result, there is more talk than ever in the media regarding them. News on their effectiveness, what’s in them, how they are used, and who is using them are constant headlines, fueled by last week’s major focus on them on the subject of formaldehyde, it seems like right now everyone is talking about e-cigs.
Following the New England Journal of Medicine piece, (a biased and erroneous article) stating that electronic cigarette produce more formaldehyde than traditional cigarettes, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) issued a statement this week stating that all residents of California should abstain from using the products. Citing that formaldehyde, nicotine, and other toxins and chemicals are the foundation of this statement, they feel e-cigarettes are not a valid option to traditional smoking, and they are a public health risk.
Members of the electronic cigarette community are outraged, as it seems this is just another notch on the belt of California’s ongoing propaganda against smoking and electronic smoking. It is astounding that an entire state is willing to take a stand on the usage of a product millions have embraced, citing a lack of scientific evidence, without having any actual scientific evidence to back up their claims! It is immensely unfortunate that such a broad, biased statement could be implemented to the whole state of California’s residents, and not based on scientific research and factual information. Caution is understandable, but fear mongering and attempting to make “concerned” claims runs more along the lines of propaganda, and less about the actual, factual e-cigarette research.
Yes, they do highlight the fact that e-cigarettes contain nicotine, but what they do not focus on is that users have the option to have nicotine-free liquid, as well as the ability to choose the level they desire. Instead, the head of the CPDH, Ron Chapman, states the nicotine in e-cigarettes is as addictive as the nicotine in traditional cigarettes, and that is sufficient basis for users to abstain.
We are all for regulations that serve a purpose and make sense, such as in the case of age restrictions, and adults taking measures to keep their products out of the hands of minors, however on matters of public health, it is imperative to the public to be served accurate information. The future of vaping will surely be met many more times with cases such as this one, and as difficult as it is to face such harsh admonishing, we’ve come too far and made too much progress to back down.