March 25, 2015
“You can’t find what you’re not looking for.”
In yesterday’s first post of this series I stated that I would provide what I believe to be, objective and compelling evidence for questioning the wisdom of this proposed legislation. When all is said and done, my success or failure is up to you, the reader. You be the judge.
I also stated that I cannot be considered an unbiased source. I am a partner in DIYELS with a vested financial interest the success of the company. That said, this blog is the culmination of years of research and my personal experience with electronic cigarettes. Both of which came long before the idea of DIYELS was even considered.
The long term health risks of e-cigarettes remain to be determined. The FDA, through their association with the NIH, has reportedly commissioned more than 75 studies at a cost approaching $300 million. Long term health risks can only be determined by long term studies. A definitive answer is still several years away.
In the meantime, politicians, a number of public health organizations and even some members of the medical community wage a battle against e-cigarettes. Given the well documented and steadily growing body of evidence which concludes that e-cigarettes offer significant harm reduction, it is difficult to understand the actions of those who steadfastly refuse to objectively consider their potential.
Peter Hajek is Professor of Clinical Psychology, Head of Psychology and Director of the Health and Lifestyle Research Unit at Queen Mary University of London. Professor Hajek addressed the June 27-28, 2014 Global Forum on Nicotine in Warsaw, Poland. (This was the first ever global forum on Nicotine. The 2015 Forum, again in Warsaw, has already been scheduled for June 5th and 6th.)
In his presentation, Hajek offered his thoughts on possible motivations of the opposition so often seen from politicians, public health officials and anti-tobacco, anti- harm reduction activists. A paraphrased sampling of the ideas he presented offers some thought provoking possibilities for explaining this opposition.
- Public Health issues are often driven by a moral agenda rather than evidence produced by scientific research.
- Hajek cited abortion, assisted dying, sexual behaviors and drug harm reduction as historical examples.
- Moral beliefs are emotional and unshakeable. For those who share those beliefs, evidence is not needed to discover the “truth” because the “truth” is “self-evident”.
- But “evidence” IS needed by those who share these moral beliefs if they are to gain converts. So…
- Tobacco control activists focus on potential risks and dangers while ignoring potential benefits and harm reduction.
- What Hajek refers to as a “confirmation bias” develops. Research findings are cherry-picked to justify opposition. Conclusions drawn by researchers, whose findings suggest e-cigarettes warrant further study and even a reasonable degree of support, are ignored.
- As evidence becomes increasingly difficult to refute, the opposition’s strategy has evolved to one of constantly moving the goalposts – dangers of tobacco smoking became dangers of nicotine => dangers of nicotine became dangers of e-cigarette ingredients => that became e-cigarettes as a teen gateway to smoking => which then became renormalization of smoking in society => which then became any increased acceptance and support of the hated tobacco industry.
A video of Prof. Hajek’s 30 minute presentation to the Global Forum on Nicotine is available at Hajek. If you vape, are considering vaping as an alternative to tobacco cigarettes or just want to learn more about e-cigarettes – this video from a highly respected expert is strongly recommended.
Is this the end of the e-cigarette beginning for Washington state residents? The answer to that question is likely months away. As of this writing, both the House and Senate bills are still “in committee”. One of Gov. Inslee’s health policy advisors, Jason McGill, indicates that talks with the industry have taken place. He also stated that the governor is willing to make some changes to the legislation, especially regarding flavors. The future will likely see considerable discussion and even heated debate. The stakes for Washington smokers seeking an alternative to combustible cigarettes are high. Very high.
I am very much looking forward to your opinions and comments – you be the judge.
“It’s not so much the efficacy of the nicotine delivery systems as temporary aids to cessation, but their potential as long-term alternatives to tobacco that makes the virtual elimination of tobacco a realistic target.”
Mike Russell, British Journal of Addiction, 1991, 653-658
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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.