Aug
03

Banning E-cigs For No Good Reason

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Supporters of electronic cigarettes are not at all happy with the Schroeder Institute.  What, you’ve never heard of the Schroeder Institute? Neither had we, so we consulted Google.

It turns out that Schroeder bills itself as the National Institute for Tobacco Research and Policy Studies at the Legacy Foundation, which is an organization “dedicated to building a world where young people reject tobacco and anyone can quit.”

According to its website, Legacy strives to make tobacco prevention and cessation services available to everyone. It is especially concerned about vulnerable populations like young people, minorities, people with low incomes, and people who are less educated.

Despite the fact that Legacy and e-cig advocates have the same low opinion of traditional cigarettes, the results of Schroeder’s recent national survey have e-cig folks up in arms for several reasons.

For one thing, Schroeder calls e-cigs “drug-delivery devices” even though their legal classification is “tobacco products.” Based on its survey results, Schroeder called for a ban on electronic cigarettes while it urges the FDA to begin regulating e-cigs as smoking cessation devices.

The problem is that, since the FDA has classified electronic cigarettes as tobacco products, it  would need to reclassify them as cessation devices before it could begin regulating them as such. Given the FDA’s history of moving phenomenally slowly on such matters, that’s unlikely to happen anytime soon.

The upshot of all of this is that Schroeder is essentially advocating for an indefinite ban on electronic cigarettes. Health experts in favor of e-cigs, like Dr. Michael Siegel of the Boston University of Public Health, argue that the call for a ban is not supported by the survey results.

“If anything, the data actually presented in the paper point to the promise of electronic cigarettes as a harm reduction strategy in tobacco control,” Dr. Siegel said in a recent cspnet.com article.

There is nothing in the survey results that supports Schroeder’s call for a ban or the supposed need for the FDA to regulate e-cigs as smoking cessation devices. Like the troopers they are, though, Schroeder did not let the sunny survey results get in the way of their agenda. The data didn’t show a need for a ban, but they called for one anyway.

Since few people outside of public health officials have ever heard of Schroeder or Legacy, it’s doubtful that the survey results will have a significant impact on the e-cig industry. Still, the organizations’ fact-twisting and false-conclusion-drawing antics are disturbing. It’s almost as if they’re are running for office.

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