The American Cancer Society has publicly come out against the electronic cigarette. It is interesting that a non profit group fighting against Cancer is against a product that has never been shown to cause cancer. Let’s have a look at what they say about electronic cigarettes on their website in the section named “Other methods of quitting“:
There are also questions about how safe it is to inhale some substances in the nicotine mists into the lungs. E-cigarettes are not labeled with their ingredients, so the consumer doesn’t know what’s in them. And even substances that are safe to eat can harm delicate tissues inside the lungs.
I suppose some companies don’t label their e-liquid, but most do. And the ingredients are known to the vast majority of vapers in North American; propylene glycol, glycerin, water, flavoring, and nicotine. It is true that not everything that is safe to eat is safe to inhale, but how about some science. And since the ACS loves to state, “The e-cigarette has no published clinical trials that suggest it might work as a way to help smokers quit.” they should appreciate that “there is no published scientific data that e-cigarette vapor is harmful to the delicate tissues inside the lungs.”.
They go on to state:
Newer information from the FDA suggests that e-cigarettes are not safe. A 2009 analysis of 18 samples of cartridges from 2 leading e-cigarette brands found cancer-causing substances in half the samples. There were other impurities noted as well. For example, diethylene glycol, a toxic ingredient found in antifreeze, was found in one sample.
Our response: How and why the FDA misled the public and Technical Review and Analysis of FDA Report: “Evaluation of e-cigarettes”. It seems hypocritical to continually discuss the lack of scientific data on one hand and then site an unscientific report to back your agenda.
So what does the ACS say about smokeless tobacco products?
There is no evidence that these products can help a person quit smoking. Unlike scientifically proven treatments with known effects, such as nicotine replacement products, anti-depressants, nicotine receptor blockers, or behavioral therapy, these oral tobacco products have never been tested to see if they can help people quit tobacco.
And what about homeopathic methods of quitting smoking?
There is little scientific evidence to support the use of homeopathic aids and herbal supplements as stop-smoking methods.
And what about the FDA approved nicotine inhaler?
Nicotine inhalers are the FDA-approved nicotine replacement method that is most like smoking a cigarette, which some smokers find helpful.
So smokers find a product that delivers nicotine and is just like smoking helpful? Really?
OK, but what about actual medications such as Chantix™?
Reported side effects of varenicline [Chantix™] have included headaches, nausea, vomiting, trouble sleeping, unusual dreams, flatulence (gas), and changes in taste. There have also been more recent reports of depressed mood, thoughts of suicide, attempted suicide, and changes in behavior in people taking varenicline.
But do they recommend it even though the user may kill themselves?
Several studies have shown varenicline [Chantix™] can more than double the chances of quitting smoking.
OK, but they wouldn’t advocate using off label drugs…would they? Nortriptyline “an older anti-depressant drug” and Clonidine “is also an older drug that is FDA approved for the treatment of high blood pressure” as noted on the ACS website:
When used in groups [Nortriptyline] of smokers, it has been found to double their chances of success in quitting smoking.
In one study of heavy smokers who had failed in previous quit attempts, the group treated with clonidine was twice as likely to succeed in quitting smoking as the control group (which was given a fake pill) at the end of 4 weeks.
It seems every pill and NRT about doubles smokers chances of quitting smoking.
So the American Cancer Society is against e-cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, homeopathic products, and apparently any product not FDA approved, and doesn’t mention cold turkey. They recommend very similar products to e-cigarettes and smokeless tobacco via Nicotine Replacement Therapies and also advocate using prescription drugs, even if it is not the original intended use of the drug.
What is the commonality here? Almost every product that the ACS recommends to quit smoking is sold solely by pharmaceutical companies. Why?
The answer may be found at the SourceWatch.org website on the page for the American Cancer Society, which states:
As of the fiscal year ending in August of 2007, the AMA had a net revenue 1.17 billion dollars.  Corporate donors include processed food and pharmaceutical industry giants like Pfizer, Sanofi-Aventis, AstraZeneca, Novartis and Walmart as well as Metropolitan Life Insurance.