ASH in UK Comes Clean on Electronic Cigarette Health Debate

“e-cigarettes, which deliver nicotine without the harmful toxins found in discount tobacco, are likely to be a safer alternative to smoking.”

Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) In their October briefing, ASH in the United Kingdom has released a favorable position on electronic cigarettes which is nearly 180 degrees to the position ASH in the United States has taken.

ASH’s UK Position on E-cigarettes

“ASH supports a harm reduction approach to tobacco, that is, we recognize that whilst efforts to help people stop smoking should remain a priority, many people either do not wish to stop smoking or find it very hard to do so. For this group, we believe that products should be made available that deliver nicotine in a safe way, without the harmful components found in tobacco. Most of the diseases associated with smoking are caused by inhaling smoke which contains thousands of toxic chemicals. By contrast, nicotine is relatively safe. Therefore, e-cigarettes, which deliver nicotine without the harmful toxins found in tobacco smoke, are likely to be a safer alternative to smoking. In addition, e-cigarettes reduce secondhand smoke exposure since they do not produce smoke.”

Kyle Newton of is elated at the release. “This is the second piece of good news for the E cigarette industry this week. The first was Governor Schwarzenegger’s refusal to ban E cigarettes in California. It is a David vs. Goliath battle for us against organizations that are well-funded by companies who stand to lose a huge market share to the E cigarette.”

On the other side of the big pond, ASH, USA has hammered the electronic cigarette industry unmercifully in its public claims against the product. But throughout this entire finger pointing, they have failed to produce any scientific research which tested the electronic cigarette and could trump the positive data “real” tobacco researchers have published.

ASH, USA and spokespersons of other health organizations continue to make weak accusations stating that they “don’t know what’s in them” and that, because flavors are involved, “children may be attracted to them”. While a spec of truth may be found in any of these statements, they appear to lean more towards gross exaggeration or pure fiction. Kyle claims, “Not one US electronic cigarette dealer I know of would knowingly sell to those under the legal age of smoking.”

Misleading statements continue to be made by health organization PR representatives who are well-educated on this subject, yet choose to ignore the widely publicized Health New Zealand’s tests on the Ruyan electronic cigarette that list the ingredients and give the electronic cigarette the green light. When confronted with Health New Zealand’s report, they claim that the study was not independent because it was paid for by the electronic cigarette maker which is the industry norm.

Prominent doctors and tobacco researchers, including Dr. Michael Siegel at the Boston University School of Public Health, Dr. Joel Nitzkin of the AAPHP Tobacco Control Task Force, and Dr. Brad Rodu, Endowed Chair, Tobacco Harm Reduction Research University of Louisville continue to publish unbiased scientific benefits of the electronic smokes that counter the misleading information

It may be impossible to please these health organizations since their resistance to e cigarettes may be affected by their addictive funding from the manufacturers of smoking cessation products. A better harm reduction alternative to smoking tobacco does not appear to be their priority or they would be partnering with the e cigarette industry.


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