Expert Claims War on Ecigs is Death Sentence for Vulnerable Smokers
After more than thirty years of working as an anti-tobacco activist, Professor David Sweanor is well aware that smoking is a deadly habit. He has never shied away from pushing for laws to stop tobacco use and protect public health. However, this week Sweanor boldly spoke out to contradict many of his colleagues who warn against using ecigarettes. Instead, the expert said that the misguided war on ecigarettes is a mistake and it would be an inevitable death sentence for vulnerable smokers.
A large percentage of anti-smoking lobbyists have demonized ecigarettes and painted them as harmful in reports. Sweanor said it’s a dangerous misstep. “I think it’s one of the most counter-productive things that we’ve ever seen,” he said. “We’ve known for decades people smoke for the nicotine, they die from the tar, they die from the smoke. That the nicotine itself, that the dosage level somebody’s looking for is not particularly hazardous so it can be usefully compared to caffeine.”
Instead of demonizing nicotine, Sweanor said health activists should look at the facts. Nicotine is no more harmful than caffeine, but it has been associated with dangerous consequences because of the methods used to consume it. “If we got our caffeine by smoking tea leaves rather than brewing tea, that too would be killing us not because of the caffeine but because we’d be sucking smoke into our lungs.”
Since electronic cigarettes eliminate smoke, tobacco, and tar, Sweanor said they provide a much safer way to consume nicotine. “Anybody who’s open minded and actually understands the science and is willing to look at it, is saying there is no question that it’s way less hazardous.”
But despite the science to support vaping as a smart alternative to tobacco use, many health activists condemn ecigs as harmful. By portraying ecigarettes as dangerous, it dissuades many smokers from switching and ultimately costs thousands of lives. “It’s scaring people and if you have reputable institutions coming up with research that is saying how bad these things are, again, it’s telling smokers ‘keep smoking’.”
When it comes to bringing more stringent ecig regulations to his homeland, Sweanor is vehemently opposed. “All they’re really doing is protecting the cigarette business and killing more Canadians.”
Do you agree with Sweanor’s perspective on the war on ecigs? Are public health agencies doing more harm than good by publishing negative reports about ecigs?