Sunday, July 1, 2012

CASAA to York County Housing Authority: E-cigarettes do not emit smoke!

York Housing Authority
31 South Broad Street
York, PA 17403

Members of York Housing Authority:

The Consumer Advocates for Smoke-free Alternatives Association (CASAA) urges you to not include smoke-free electronic cigarettes in your proposed Smoke Free Housing Policy.   CASAA is a non-profit organization that works to ensure the availability of reduced harm alternatives to smoking tobacco products and to provide the public with truthful information about such alternatives. Electronic cigarettes do not emit smoke and pose no known health risks to users or nonusers.

Smoking bans were enacted for the purpose of protecting non-smokers from the potentially harmful effects of second-hand smoke. But electronic cigarettes have not been shown to harm bystanders or users. FDA testing of e-cigarette vapor did not find any toxic or cancer-causing substances. In fact, all evidence to date shows that the low health risks associated with electronic cigarettes are comparable to other smokeless tobacco products and to the risks of using nicotine gum, lozenges, patch, and inhalers.

There are enormous differences between smoke and vapor.  Smoke is created by the process of combustion. Setting tobacco on fire creates tar, carbon monoxide, airborne particulates, dozens of carcinogens and thousands of other hazardous chemicals.  Inhaling these substances in smoke is the cause of 99% of tobacco-related diseases and deaths. 

Vapor from an electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) does not contain any of these substances. Vapor, while resembling smoke, is not a product of combustion but rather the product of the process of condensation. Vapor is created by heating a liquid to the point of evaporation.  

Dr. Murray Laugesen of Health New Zealand tested e-cigarette vapor for over 50 cigarette smoke toxicants. No such toxicants were found. Dr. Laugesen stated, “Relative to lethal tobacco smoke emissions, e-cigarette emissions appear to be several magnitudes safer. E-cigarettes are akin to a medicinal nicotine inhalator in safety, dose, and addiction potential.”  [1]

Dr. Michael Siegel of Boston University School of Public Health reviewed the available evidence on the safety and effectiveness of e-cigarettes—including the testing conducted by the FDA in 2009—and concluded, “A preponderance of the available evidence shows them to be much safer than tobacco cigarettes and comparable in toxicity to conventional nicotine replacement products.” Dr. Siegel states that there is no justification for banning the indoor use of e-cigarettes based on potential harm to bystanders. [2]

The majority of consumers use e-cigarettes as a complete replacement for all their tobacco cigarettes, and most of the rest use e-cigarettes to reduce the number of cigarettes per day they smoke.  These products are improving the health of their users, and could save the lives of many more smokers—provided their use is not discouraged. [3, 4]

Many e-cigarette users first discover the safer devices when they see them used where smoking isn't allowed.  Banning indoor use and forcing e-cigarette users outside removes an incentive for smokers to switch to an alternative that could very well reduce their risks of smoking-related disease.

Notably, government officials in both Alameda, California and Seattle, Washington recently removed e-cigarettes from recently passed apartment smoking bans.  In both instances, officials recognized that bans on the use of smoke-free products cannot be enforced, especially in the privacy of one’s home.
Again, in light of the clear evidence that e-cigarettes do not pose a threat to bystanders, please remove e-cigarettes from the proposed lease addendum.

Very truly yours,

Gregory Conley J.D./MBA
CASAA Director       

1.      Laugesen M. Health New Zealand. Poster Presentation at the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco conference, Dublin, April 30, 2009.
2.      Cahn and Siegel.   Electronic cigarettes as a harm reduction strategy for tobacco control. Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 0197-5897 Journal of Public Health Policy 1–16.
3.      Heavner K, Dunworth J, Bergen P, Nissen C, Phillips CV. Electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) as potential tobacco harm reduction products: Results of an online survey of e-cigarette users. Tobacco Harm Reduction 2010 Yearbook, Chapter 19.
4.      Etter JF, Bullen C. Electronic cigarette : users profile, utilization, satisfaction and perceived efficacy. Addiction 2011 DOI: 10.1111/j.1360-0443.2011.03505.x. (accessed June 2011)  Full Text:

1 comment:

mountainurse said...

Good job!! Well said! And, Kudos to Alameda, Calif. for proactive thinking.