October 12, 2015
“Is it time for a change in CDC leadership?”
In a September 30th Press Release , CDC Director Thomas Frieden is quoted:
“Flavored tobacco products are enticing a new generation of America’s youth into nicotine addiction, condemning many of them to tobacco-related disease and early death.”
E-cigarette flavors must go! It’s not the tar. It’s not the carcinogens. It’s not the smoke. It’s the flavors! Along with the nicotine! Flavors and nicotine. Condemning America’s youth to tobacco related disease and early death.
First let’s get the obvious out of the way. As an M.D., Frieden knows, or he should know, that nicotine does not condemn anyone, young or old, to “tobacco-related disease and early death.”
Nicotine is a mild stimulant. Resulting in a slight increase in heart rate and blood pressure. Changes so mild and passing so quickly that many doctors do not even consider them clinically significant. With the exception of pregnancy or nursing, nicotine has not been shown to be a health threat.
But what about the question of nicotine’s addictiveness? A 2014 article in Discovery Magazine, Nicotine, the Wonder Drug?:
“In short, the estimated 45.3 million people, or 19.3 percent of all adults, in the United States who still smoke are not nicotine fiends. They’re nicotine-anabasine-nornicotine-anatabine-cotinine-myosmine-acetaldehyde-and-who-knows-what-else fiends. It is tobacco, with its thousands of chemical constituents, that rightly merits our fear and loathing as the Great Satan of addictiveness. Nicotine, alone: not so much.”
The problem that Frieden is facing is that the FDA recently issued their first Advanced Notice of Propose Rulemaking (ANPRM) regarding e-cigarettes. Lots of media coverage, lots of buzz, etc. etc. Frieden, desperate to seize the opportunity to advance his obsession, needed something, anything, to get some visibility. So he fell back on his old standby – flavors. And of course, kids.
Smoking rates for both youth and adults are at all-time record lows. Frieden doesn’t want the public to be distracted by those trivial facts so they are seldom mentioned by the CDC. Wouldn’t want to hurt “the cause” with “the truth”.
Brian King, Ph.D., deputy director for research translation in CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health:
“Efforts to curb the availability and use of flavored tobacco products could help reduce overall rates of tobacco use among our nation’s youth.”
Then again, it could increase the overall rates of tobacco use among our nation’s youth. Or it might create a black market for flavored tobacco products. Or possibly be a monumental waste of taxpayer dollars. Might be a waste of time. Possibly a significant detriment to public health. The speculative possibilities are endless. As long as you don’t get all bogged down with things like science and research and evidence.
Michael Siegel, M.D., MPH – Professor in Boston University’s School of Public Health
“It’s easy to see that a ban on flavors is essentially a ban on electronic cigarettes. It would ban virtually every electronic cigarette currently on the market.”
Siegel goes on to point out:
“It is difficult to imagine a youth switching from a gummy bear flavored e-cigarette to a Marlboro.”
Jacob Sullum writing for the New York Daily News and Reason.com
“Critics like [NYC Councilman] Constantinides and [U.S. Senator] Rockefeller, guided by little more than their own idiosyncratic tastes, want to decree which flavors adult vapers may consume, even at the cost of deterring smokers from quitting. These taste tyrants elevate hypothetical teenagers above verifiably real adults, with potentially deadly consequences.”
“This is where the logic of regulating “for the children” leads. Attempts to child-proof the world do not necessarily make kids any safer, but they always make adults less free.”
Dr. Gilbert Ross, Executive Director, Council on Science and Health
“The data have shown — although you won’t find it among the papers supplied by the CDC — that the overwhelming majority of teen vapers are ex-smokers escaping the deadly attraction of cigarettes.
The stats say that they would very likely have become smokers if there were no e-cigs/vapors around. Restricting flavors due to someone’s baseless concern that they could or might attract youth is counterproductive.”
Eliminate flavors in e-cigarettes and you eliminate e-cigarettes. That is Frieden’s goal. And he has made it the CDC’s goal.
It is extremely unlikely that the CDC’s call for the elimination of flavors in e-cigarettes will ever become a reality. That decision rests in the hands of the FDA. At least for now. Even if the FDA should make the epic blunder of trying to regulate flavors/e-cigarettes out of existence, the resulting lawsuits would drag on for years. Science and individual freedom of choice would almost certainly prevail.
But none of that changes the impact that the CDC has on the public’s perception of e-cigarettes. None of that changes the impact that the CDC has on countless public health organizations. None of that changes the impact that the CDC has on “tobacco-related disease and early death”.
The CDC is not a group of bad people. The CDC is a group of good people being led by one man, making bad decisions. Decisions that have and will continue to result in thousands of pre-mature deaths. Frieden presents it all in the name of public health. Personally, I find it all in the name of control, manipulation, obsession and misuse of power to protect the financial interests of those with the most to lose, Big Pharma.
Is it time for a change in CDC leadership? It might, maybe, possibly – be long overdue.
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Dave Coggin has a Master’s Degree in business and spent 35 years in corporate America. He is a co-founder and partner in DIYELS. He has spent the last five years actively researching and following the evolution of the e-cigarette industry. He is a strong proponent of e-cigarettes as the most promising option currently known for tobacco harm reduction. He may be contacted directly at firstname.lastname@example.org .
The opinions presented here are exclusively those of the author. Vaper’s Vortex is offered as a service to our customers and followers. Anyone considering e-cigarettes as an alternative to tobacco cigarettes should seek qualified advice from a medical professional.