Recently I have begun using E-Cigarettes as a substitute for traditional cigarettes. Ironic, then, that the week I start using the device, the FDA comes out guns blazing against them. An article entitled, “e-Hazard to Your Health,” appeared in today’s Morning Call (Allentown, PA). I decided to write the author a letter:
After reading your article regarding E-Cigarettes in the Morning Call I decided to write to you to express my opinion on the matter. I recently purchased an E-Cigarette (approximately one week ago) from another vendor. I have read an article about the FDA’s concerns regarding the E-Cigarette and I would like to share with you some feedback from a user of this product.
I have noticed that as I have used the E-Cigarette more my consumption of traditional cigarettes has decreased by approximately 50%. I notice that I take less drags from the E-Cigarette than I would from a normal cigarette when I experience a nicotine craving. Physically, I have felt an improvement in my lung capacity and also have not felt as congested nor have I coughed in the morning as I have with traditional cigarettes. I would consider this to be beneficial.
I am not qualified to make a scientific statement by any means, I can only relate how I physically feel. I am quite aware that smoking any product is a risk to my health, but as a consumer free to choose and of my own free will, I have assumed this risk. I am hoping that over time I will be able to fully switch over to the E-Cigarette, possibly as a means to quit (some manufacturers even offer no-nicotine cartridges which can then, I believe, be used cessation product if you choose to do so) but most definitely to reduce my consumption of cigarettes.
As I am sure you are aware, a cigarette addiction is difficult to deal with and indeed extremely hard to break. The government has continually expressed sentiments that it would like to help people stop smoking, and I believe there are many who say that and truly wish to help. However, as I’m sure you are aware there are a few developments that I wish you would have considered in your article, or that you may want to consider in a future article.
The first, is that in the legal case between Smoking Everywhere and the FDA, the lawsuit was filed back in April and key to the case being presented by Smoking Everywhere was the fact that the FDA had no authority to regulate tobacco. That has subsequently changed as a result of legislation earlier this year. Also included in that legislation was a massive tax increase on tobacco products in order to generate revenue for the Federal Government. The use of E-Cigarettes, which are not subject to the federal taxes under the provisions of this law, results in a loss of revenue to the Government, which makes them biased in nature when deciding on this matter. It is a fully informed consumer who should be allowed to make decisions and not be subject to decisions made by a party who stands to gain financially by impairing the competiveness of another entity.
I understand that cigarette smokers are not exactly sympathetic figures in our society. Once again, however, I would like to remind people that nicotine is highly addictive. I find it condescending then, that public figures express statements of sympathy to smokers, while raising the taxes on smokers, who by the addictive nature of the products, are forced to pay these ever higher prices due to the nature of the addiction. I am sure many are aware that these are also the tactics of narcotic drug dealers, who victimize those who have fallen victim to addiction. I do not find honesty, then, in the statements of those who say they wish to help smokers quit using the products, knowing that the individuals are addicted to the products and will, of course, be forced into paying more and more money while at the same time providing no material services to helping people quit. If this were the case, would it not make more sense that the most sizeable portion of the tobacco taxes go into services for smokers, to help them quit, to provide for their needs, rather than to be steered away from them?
I would also like to make notice of highly disturbing article I had read in another Pennsylvania newspaper online. I do not recall which newspaper this was, but it spoke of the budget crisis in Pennsylvania and with regard to those facing the impeding prospect of losing their unemployment benefits as the maximum time frame looms. I can only imagine the hardships facing these families are facing, and I understand that in this economic environment this can happen to any of us. I found it extremely disheartening and callous that a Pennsylvania official felt necessary to state that the Commonwealth will be hit hard if these people were to stop buying tobacco, alcohol, and lottery tickets resulting in an additional drop in revenue to the Treasury.
I would like to thank you for your work covering this story and presenting the opinions of both sides in your discourse. From a user of both the E-Cigarette and traditional cigarettes, I simply wanted to convey my thoughts on this matter. I intend to keep using the E-Cigarette and to at some point use them as a complete substitute to traditional cigarettes while moving to ever lower doses of nicotine until I am not using nicotine at all. It is not the manufacturer’s intention of these products for them to be used as a cessation device, however, I intend to try to use it as such. Should I fail in stopping the use of nicotine all together, I believe this to be at least somewhat less dangerous than traditional cigarettes. Should I succeed, then I will be extremely happy in having achieved this goal. I will continue to strongly urge people who have not smoked to never do so, to remain tobacco free. As for me, I am dedicated to trying to stop smoking altogether by using whatever means are available to me, an informed, educated consumer.