In a USA Today story on June 7th, 2010 titled CDC: U.S. cigarettes contain more cancer-causing chemicals, CDC researchers announced that “the amount of tobacco-specific nitrosamines (TSNAs) in U.S. brands is about triple that of brands from Australia, Canada or the United Kingdom”.
It seems this should be of more concern to the FDA, who now has regulatory control over tobacco products, than the fact that they found miniscule levels of TSNAs in electronic cigarette liquid (not the vapor). In fact NJoy, who was one of the brands the FDA tested, had their own study commissioned on the electronic cigarette vapor and found that the vapor actually only contain one type of TSNA and this type of TSNA is not known to cause cancer.
So we have three products;
1) Tobacco cigarettes from the USA (the most TNSAs)
2) Tobacco cigarettes from Canada, UK, and Australia (1/3 of the TSNAs in US tobacco, but still at harmful levels)
3) Electronic cigarettes (tiny levels of TSNAs in the liquid, but no proof any cancer cause TSNAs are present in the vapor. How tiny is tiny? The FDA tested e-cigarettes for TSNAs in the parts per billion.)
If you were in charge of the FDA would you be more concerned about the 3x levels of TSNAs in American cigarettes or in the extremely tiny levels of TSNAs in electronic cigarettes? Which do you think pose a greater risk to public health?
Let’s be clear; tobacco cigarettes or any product that you burn and inhale is going to be very bad for you. But the devil is in the dose. How can lowering the level of a toxic substance not be a good idea? Well, Dr. Norman Edelman from the American Lung Association doesn’t think it is a good idea.
“There are two things in the paper that are disturbing to me….first, it seems as if U.S. smokers get more exposure to this deadly carcinogen than smokers in other countries. Second, there is the oblique suggestion that it might be worthwhile to try to reduce the levels of this carcinogen in tobacco smoke. This smacks of suggesting we make cigarettes ‘safer.’ However, there are dozens of carcinogens in cigarette smoke. There is no reason to believe that reducing one will make smoking safer.” – Dr. Norman Edelman from the ALA
Wait….so we shouldn’t reduce the levels of toxic substances in cigarettes because they are dangerous anyways? Cars are dangerous too, so don’t bother putting in seat belts or air bags. Why make anything safer? I agree we need to keep up the public education that inhaling cigarette smoke is in no way safe, but promoting the idea to keep cigarettes as toxic as possible to allow public “health” organizations the ammo to use in the media is absurd. Let me remind you Dr. Edelman that smokers are people. Yes they made at least one poor choice and became addicted to tobacco, but I don’t think that gives them less rights. And if inhaling smoke is your primary concern, then recommend they use an electronic cigarette. They don’t produce any smoke at all.