Driven by data; ridden with liberty.
Occasionally, the line between seriousness and satire can become ragged and faded. Nash Riggins, writing in The Guardian, argues against the idea that “e-cigs are somehow safer than normal cigarettes”.
Amazed at the coalition opposed to the Scottish ban against e-cigarettes on hospital grounds, Mr Riggins pens:
One of the most dangerous aspects of your typical, run-of-the-mill cigarette is the tar-filled smoke you’re inhaling with each puff. That tar may contain up to 7,000 different toxins, which are otherwise found in everything from rat poison to nail polish. E-cigs, on the other hand, produce a light, tar-free vapour. But this doesn’t necessarily make them any safer.
Yes, it does. Yes, it does! The corollary of that statement would be the presence of “7,000 different toxins” doesn’t make cigarettes any more dangerous, which is absurd. Tobacco cigarettes kills up to half of users, following the product’s intended purpose.
Mr Riggins continues:
E-cigs don’t contain the same type of nicotine you might find in an ordinary tobacco leaf. They contain liquid nicotine, which can be lethal: doctors say a tablespoon of some e-liquids on the market would be enough to kill an adult; half a teaspoon could kill a child. And the worst part is, you don’t even need to ingest these liquids to end up in hospital. Mere skin contact with concentrated liquid nicotine is enough to cause symptoms of poisoning, such as dizziness, elevated blood pressure and seizures.
The liquid nicotine in an e-cigarette and the nicotine in a tobacco leaf are chemically identical: the nicotine is in a different state. A child did die in Fort Plain, New York, after ingesting liquid nicotine. This is not an intended use of vaporizers, any more than bleach is meant for human consumption.
It should be noted the second link provided by Mr Riggins gives a summary of nicotine poisoning symptoms, rather than support for the claim that “mere skin contact” can cause those symptoms.
Despite the article’s byline asserting there is “no evidence” that e-cigarettes are safer than traditional forms of tobacco, there are many studies concluding that vaporizers are, indeed, less dangerous than typical cigarettes. In the Tobacco Control journal, researchers found levels of toxicants in e-cigarette vapour were “9-450 times lower than in cigarette smoke and were, in many cases, comparable with trace amounts found” in a medicinal nicotine inhaler. Led by Professor Peter Hajek in the journal Addiction, the abstract contained the following result:
Long-term health effects of EC use are unknown but compared with cigarettes, EC are likely to be much less, if at all, harmful to users or bystanders.
A large cross-sectional study in the same journal found e-cigarettes had a beneficent effect on smoking cessation. A report commissioned for Public Health England concluded electronic cigarettes were “an alternative and much safer source of nicotine, as a personal lifestyle choice rather than medical service”.
Smoking and vaping can be informed choices. We should look poorly on those publishing virulent concoctions of ignorance and innuendo.