Combustible tobacco products, primarily cigarettes, are the single greatest cause of cancer and kill up to half of its users. That’s about 7 million people worldwide each year. More than 6 million of those deaths are the result of direct tobacco use. Most noteworthy, in the United States, 98 percent of all tobacco-related deaths are caused by cigarette smoking. The American Cancer Society (ACS) acknowledges that the U.S. tobacco landscape has changed rapidly in recent years, with millions of consumers now using electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS). The most prominent systems currently used are electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes). E-cigarettes contain heated nicotine extracted from tobacco, as well as a variety of flavorings and other additives.
The American Cancer Society Weighs in
First of all, roughly two weeks ago the ACS released a monumental statement regarding its position on electronic cigarettes.
Here is what they said:
“Based on current available evidence, while using current generation e-cigarettes is less harmful than smoking cigarettes, the health effects of long-term use are not known. The ACS recognizes our responsibility to closely monitor and synthesize scientific knowledge about the effects of tobacco products, including e-cigarettes and any new products derived from tobacco.”
The ACS stated that they support any smoker who is considering quitting. They fully understand and acknowledge that no matter what approach is used, there is nothing more important a person can do for their health than transition away from traditional combustible cigarettes.
Thank you, ACS. This is an important message many of us in the e-cigarette industry have been preaching for, what seems like years. Probably even close to a decade.
Validation of Harm Reduction
According to the ACS:
“To help smokers quit, the ACS recommends that clinicians advise their patients to use FDA-approved cessation aids that have been proven to support successful quit attempts.”
A recent survey suggested that more than half of the nearly three million people in Britain who vape, are ex-smokers who have given up smoking tobacco. Are the British really that different from us Americans? Do we bleed differently? Biologically speaking, aren’t our body compositions the same? I believe so. And science has proven that smoke from combustible cigarettes affects every human being and animal the same way.
Encouragement and Support
The ACS continued by recommending clinicians:
“Support all attempts to quit the use of combustible tobacco and work with smokers to eventually stop using any tobacco product, including e-cigarettes.”
Listen, if you ask most e-cigarette manufacturers and shop owners, they will likely tell you a similar story. Most of us were lifelong smokers at one point before making the switch over to vaping.
Vapers are in The Business of Changing Lives
… because we realize that our lives could look a lot different if it weren’t for e-cigarettes. No one is saying for nonsmokers to take up vaping because it is “cool”. There is no better air to breathe than fresh air. And, unfortunately, that too is becoming more and more difficult.
The ACS concludes their statement by saying:
“Smokers should be encouraged to switch to the least harmful form of tobacco product possible; switching to the exclusive use of e-cigarettes is preferable to continuing to smoke combustible products. Of course, these individuals should be regularly advised to completely quit all tobacco products. The ACS strongly discourages the concurrent (or “dual) use of e-cigarettes and combustible cigarettes, a behavior that is far more detrimental to a person’s health compared to the substantial health benefits of quitting smoking.”
In conclusion, this is certainly progress for advocates of e-cigarette use as an alternative to combustible cigarettes. Read the American Cancer Society’s full statement here.
Especially relevant: last week’s myth and misconceptions blog.
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