“E-Cigarettes Save Lives”

E-cigarettes save lives… or at least, that’s what we’ve heard. Dr. Derek Yach, is a former professor of Global Health at Yale and one of the most dynamic anti-smoking advocates with a beating heart. A former World Health Organization staffer, Dr. Yach developed the WHO’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control— a model that is used around the world. While Dr. Yach has long since spotlighted the unethical practices of the tobacco industry, his latest statements on the ill-treatment applied to e-cigarettes are worthy of an ear.

What did the doctor say?

The truth is often kept under lock and key for fear of reprisal. It’s this understanding that most likely kept Dr. Yach, from speaking his mind until he disassociated himself from the WHO. At least, that is my assumption. In short, Dr. Yach put the regulatory bodies on notice. Chiefly, the WHO.

According to Dr. Yach, by the year 2100,

“one billion people will likely lose their lives from smoking-related illnesses. If this happens, the WHO will have to bear some responsibility.”

The “e-cigarette issues”, according to Dr. Yach, are with the laws and policies that are formed without taking into consideration the readily available data.

“Unsupported statements are accepted as truth by policymakers and are used as the basis for stringent regulation of e-cigs in many jurisdictions,” he affirms. “Their intransigence threatens the lives of millions. This kind of thinking is dangerous and we cannot allow our laws and policies to be based on fiction.

The Power of Persuasion

The verbiage that gets disseminated by the World Health Organization, whether fact or fiction, is often looked upon as scripture.

According to IEC, an online e-cigarette resource, Dr. Yach accuses the WHO of allowing the anti-vaping lobbyist to control their position on e-cigarettes.

“Governments have become addicted to tobacco excise tax and fear that, as e-cigarettes take off, they will lose a valuable source of revenue. Many leading NGOs (non-government organizations) and academic exert strong influence at WHO, within governments, in the media, and among the general public. In the past, they helped bring tobacco control out of the shadows and into the mainstream of health policy. Now alas, their intransigence threatens more profound progress.”

Fighting for the right to vape

While Dr. Yach has since broken away from many of his former colleagues, he has garnered support from many physicians and distinguished individuals in the medical profession.

Quoted in an earlier article written by Dr. Yach, titled E-cigarettes Save Lives, the Royal College of Physicians states:

“Switching completely from tobacco to e-cigarettes achieves much the same in health terms as does quitting smoking and all nicotine use completely. Furthermore, the risks associated with passive exposure to e-cigarette vapor are far less than those associated with passive exposure to tobacco smoke.”

E-cigarettes and insufficient evidence

Those who oppose deregulation and advocate for higher taxes on e-cigarette products say their position lies in the fact that there is a lack of information surrounding long-term use. And while their argument holds a semblance of weight, one area where e-cigarettes are much better than traditional molds is in second-hand smoke.

According to Dr. Neal Benowitz, a former member of the FDA’s Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee:

“…based on what we know now, e-cigarettes are much less hazardous than regular cigarettes. E-cigarettes users exhale very little of what they breathe in. Not to mention the fact that e-cigarette devices emit no aerosol. Cigarettes, by contrast, pollute the atmosphere and other’s lungs at an astronomical rate. Seventy-five percent of the smoke generated by cigarettes is sidestream smoke, and that goes into the environment.”

Let’s be honest, if e-cigarettes did nothing more than reduce societal exposure to second-hand smoke, wouldn’t that be ample reason for at least a warm embrace?

Especially relevant: Last week’s Vaporpalooza Recap

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Andrew Figgs

Photography Major from Western Washington University . I joined MBV back in December 2014 and am happy to be working in an industry focused on helping others.

  • CJ says:

    A very interesting read.

  • J R says:

    My own primary care physician told me this same thing years ago, and I can attest. I think it was 2010 when I started vaping – and have watched the industry vastly improve the hardware and e-liquids in the ensuing years. If I had been smoking cigarettes all those years, I’d probably be dead by now – and that statement bears just as much validity as the tobacco industry’s statements in the press.

  • kim hansen says:


  • kim hansen says:

    Amen. I know dor a fact that my breathing issues have improved!!

  • C D says:

    Vaping is the only thing that helped me quit smoking, and I never wake up feeling like my chest is compressed or have every winter cold turn into bronchitis since I switched. That was over 6 years ago. Lungs are clear now. And I don’t crave vaping the way I did a cigarette, I don’t have to have it first thing in the morning or last thing at night. Saving lives indeed, and freeing them.

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