17th Apr 2010

American Lung Association vs. Electronic Cigarettes

American Lung Association vs. Electronic Cigarettes

 Published April 13, 2010 by:

Kristin Noll-Marsh

Organization's Efforts to Ban Devices Will Do More Harm Than Good

The American Lung Association has come out in full force by sending lobbyists to various state legislators to argue against the electronic cigarette.1 While on the surface this seems like a reasonable effort, a lack of Understanding the motivations of the electronic cigarette user has placed the ALA squarely on the wrong side of the fight for public health. 

A source at the ALA, an organization which claims to be dedicated to "save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease," acknowledged in response to a recent email inquiry that "yes there are fewer chemicals but your body is still being exposed to chemicals that should not be in your system. Nicotine can also cause the body harm, so yes many of the products do contain nicotine, but used correctly a person uses the products to wean down their nicotine level so they can completely get rid of it. Many people are using the e-cigs as an alternative to smoking the regular cigs thinking that it will not harm them and have no intention of quitting, just switching."

So, while the ALA admitted that electronic cigarettes contain fewer chemicals than tobacco cigarettes, they refuse to acknowledge the obvious health benefit that lack of the most toxic chemicals provides to the smokers who switch. Are lives and lung health the real issue here or is nicotine addiction? The ALA must know that numerous studies show that, absent the tobacco smoke, nicotine is relatively harmless and comparable to caffeine. The American Heart Association acknowledges that nicotine is "safe" in other smoke-free forms such as patches or gum.