Why is Kenneth T. Cuccinelli, II who is the AG for the Commonwealth of Virginia smart? Simple. He understands what many public health organizations don’t seem to grasp…….vaporization is different than combustion.
When asked by Christopher Peace, Member, House of Delegates, for an official advisory opinion on the subject of using an electronic cigarette in places where smoking has been banned, the Virginia AG responded with, “First, an e-cigarette does not involve the ‘inhaling, or exhaling of smoke.’ Smoke is defined as ‘the gaseous products of burning carbonaceous materials made visible by the presence of small particles of carbon'” and went on to say, “Second, an e-cigarette is battery powered and is not ‘lighted’ as that term is commonly understood.” He concluded that, “Accordingly, it is my opinion that using an e-cigarette does not fall under the definition ‘smoke’ or ‘smoking’ for the purposes of § 15.2-2820.” If you want to read the full opinion piece, click Virginia Attorney General’s opinion of electronic cigarette use in non smoking areas.
Hard to argue with that logic….for most people. But in a Washington Post article about the AG’s opinion on electronic cigarettes, Keenan Caldwell from the American Cancer Society stated, “Allowing them would really be turning back the clock on what we’re trying to do in Virginia to create smoke-free workplaces and environments that promote health.”
Let’s be clear. Electronic cigarettes don’t produce smoke anymore than a boiling pot of water produces smoke. So it is unclear how NOT banning a product that produces NO SMOKE is “turning back the clock on what we’re trying to do in Virginia to create smoke-free workplaces”.
Motives are fun to guess, but let’s look at some facts. According to this online article from PreventCancer.com about the American Cancer Society, “for every $1 spent on direct service, approximately $6.40 is spent on compensation and overhead. In all ten states, salaries and fringe benefits are by far the largest single budget items, a surprising fact in light of the characterization of the appeals, which stress an urgent and critical need for donations to provide cancer services.”
So who pays the salary of people like Keenan Caldwell? Many individual donors of course, but there are some substantial donations of over 1 million dollars coming from corporations such as Novartis Corporation (maker of Habitrol and Thrive), Pfizer Inc, (maker of Nicotrol®NS and Nicotrol® Inhaler), Walmart (sells NRTs in their pharmacy), and Walgreen Co. (sells NRTs in their pharmacy).
Coming out against the electronic cigarette as a public health organization while being funded by corporations who make and sell competing products is suspicious at best.