Let’s Call A Cigarette A Cigarette

I applaud the FDA’s recent ruling to ban e-cigarette sales to minors and require safety reviews for vaping products. Like traditional cigarettes, e-cigarettes contain nicotine, an extremely addictive substance. And e-cigarette products have been found to contain harmful chemicals than can cause respiratory disease. So should we be asking the public to “pick their poison” or should we be educating them that no matter what type of cigarette they smoke, they are putting their health at risk?

Brian Santangelo, owner of three Liberty Vapor stores said, “We’re fighting the fight to get people off nicotine,” yet vaping products contain nicotine and young people are becoming addicted to nicotine through vaping at alarming rates. According to this newspaper, federal data demonstrates a 900 percent increase in young adults smoking e-cigarettes. So because vaping doesn’t cause cancer and merely causes addiction, we should be OK with it? I don’t think so.

Bill Godshall, executive director of Smokefree Pennsylvania, says it is about “harm reduction.” E-cigarettes are OK because they don’t cause cancer. I prefer to focus on “harm elimination” and “bad habit elimination.” If we want to live healthier and be healthier, we need to act healthier. Not somewhat healthier, but healthier! This means no cigarettes of any kind. I couldn’t agree more with the California legislator quoted in your editorial as saying, “The e-cigarette is nothing more than a new delivery system for toxic and addictive nicotine.”

According to a recent study published in Environmental Health Perspectives, a group of scientists tested 51 types of flavored e-cigarettes and liquids for the presence of diacetyl, acetoin, and 2,3-pentanedione, two related flavoring compounds thought to pose a respiratory hazard. At least one of the three chemicals was detected in 47 of the 51 flavors tested. The study concluded that due to the associations between these chemicals and respiratory diseases observed in workers, urgent action is recommended to further evaluate this potentially widespread exposure via flavored e-cigarettes. No surprise there!

In a career spanning more than three decades I have helped more than 40,000 individuals quit smoking and beat their addiction to nicotine. It isn’t easy and it isn’t without hardship. It isn’t just science; it’s common sense. Smoking causes cancer. Nicotine is addictive. Vaping chemicals can cause respiratory disease. Pick your poison? I’d rather opt for picking your health!

Dr. Steven Rosenberg, Ph.D., is a psychotherapist and hypnotherapist practicing in Elkins Park, Pa. Over the past 30 years, Dr. Rosenberg has helped more than 40,000 people quit smoking.


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