Law Professor John Banzhaf of George Washington University is an anti-smoking advocate who formerly directed ASH or Action on Smoking and Health. In his recent press release, he claimed that inhaling just small amounts of nicotine from smoke and nicotine from ecigs can be fatal.
He tells the public that inhaling tobacco smoke for just 30 minutes already increases the risks of non-smokers to fatal heart attack that is similar to the risks a long time smoker faces. Attempting to include ecigs at fault, he even claimed that inhaling propylene glycol could cause seizures.
Purported Deadly Nicotine Inhalation
Nonsmokers, he said, inhaling very small amounts of nicotine could cause deadly risks. Thus, CDC warned that if a non-smoker is seated inside the no-smoking area of a restaurant and inhaled small amounts of smoke that drifted to their table within 30 minutes, this non-smoker and the smoker will have the same rate of risks of heart attack.
In addition, he also mentioned in the press release that experts warned of the dangers of propylene glycol. PG is purported not to be inhaled because of the respiratory irritation, gastrointestinal distress and convulsions that might result.
Propylene glycol is one of the main components of eliquids. Eliquids are heated and vaporized by the atomizer of an electronic cigarette. PG is the ingredient that allows the eliquids to be easily turned to vapors. PG is an FDA-approved ingredient and is commonly found in other commonly used products like asthma inhalers and air sanitizers in hospitals. If it is true that PG inhalation can cause seizures, then asthma patients could have been seriously suffering from seizures.
False, Highly Misleading Claims
According to Dr. Michael Siegel, nicotine inhalation is really not deadly. He said that even if Banzhaf’s implied deadly nicotine inhalation is considered as long term inhalation, it is still not supported by any scientific evidence.
Nicotine is not what makes smoking deadly, but the tar and other harmful smoke components. If Banzhaf’s allegations were true, then even FDA approved nicotine inhalers should be taken off the market.
Inhaling tobacco smoke for half an hour also does not raise a non-smoker’s risks of heart attack. The risks from this exposure are also not the same as the risk of a smoker to heart attack. The actual risk is 0. An otherwise healthy non-smoker or even a non-smoker with coronary artery disease will not have heart attack from 30 minutes of exposure to nicotine from ecigs and from smoke. This will not cause clogged coronary arteries.
Siegel also busted the wrong accusation of Banzhaf that inhaling PG from an electronic cigarette vapor will result to seizures. Up until now, there are still no reports about seizures due to ecig vapor inhalation by the user or by a bystander; considering there are now about 2 million Americans who are vaping.
Scaremongering By Anti-Smoking
This tactic by the anti-smoking bodies only result to aggravated ill effects of smoking. This only makes the public less appreciative of the smoking alternatives. Smokers would potentially just go back to cigarettes after they have succeeded at smoke cessation through ecigarettes. Banzhaf’s and others’ public statements are damaging and misleading.
Eventually, statements like this will destroy and undermine the reputation of tobacco control. The public will soon dismiss anything that tobacco control experts will say. People will soon lose trust on public health officials and tobacco control experts because of these false accusations and ungrounded fears they are trying to pull just to demonize products they dislike and threaten their financial resources.
Electronic cigarettes are promising tools against smoking. Yet, anti-smoking campaigners are adamant in their belief that smokers should only end their habit through approved cessation tools.