pediatric housecalls Robert R. Jarrett M.D. M.B.A. FAAP

E-Cigarette The Latest SCAM

You take the most addictive substance found in tobacco, sit in a dark room with your scheming buddies and find a way to deliver it straight to a “mark” while circumventing the law – what else do you think you would get besides a brazen SCAM? E-cigarettes!

[Photo: A teen boy with an addiction to nicotine smoking an e-cigarette.]

It truly amazes me that we need to spend even one cent of research money to prove what anyone with even a single neuron still firing should know beyond a shadow of a doubt: E-cigarettes are nothing but the latest corporate scam perpetrated on gullible and unsuspecting masses.

The orient, countries who gave us opium addiction now give us nicotine addiction through E-cigarettes; and the US tobacco cartels, recognizing former “days of glory” are jumping right back into the arena – after all, who has more experience than they have in mass-marketing, lying, subverting, scamming and convincing the addiction-prone populace into embracing destruction while eschewing any evidence to the contrary?

Let’s NOT Do This Again

Unkempt child holding his tobacco pack and smoking a cigarette.

[Photo: Unkempt child holding his tobacco pack and smoking a cigarette.]

Oh people, let’s not do this all over again! I’m putting up this photo to remind us what it was like before public tide finally turned on all the LIES the tobacco industry foisted on us and they were shown for what they were: blatant, bold-faced, calculated lies and scams to earn a posh living at the expense of all our health and even lives!

Tobacco KILLS! Tobacco Maims! EVERYTHING in tobacco is unhealthy – including the nicotine used in e-cigarettes. Tobacco currently has NO redeeming health or medicinal use. In today’s conditions the ONLY use for tobacco is to provide a substantial living for growers and suppliers – and we want it gone!

With the legislation on the books why should we have to wait even one minute, when we see such a blatant breech of an apparent loop-hole in the law, for it to be amended and closed. When a nefarious rat sticks its head through the hole it should be cut off – we just can’t let this kind of thing get another foothold that can entrap our kids.

You’ll need to excuse my unusual directness for it stirs my soul to see crooks and schemers take advantage of the innocent… yet again!

False Claims

Incredibly, the promoters of these dangerous things actually want you to believe they are useful as a smoking cessation aid! That would be like claiming “if you gave the addictive component of heroin to users it would help them quit!” I wouldn’t fall for it, you shouldn’t either.

But, you can see the wild claims these scammers give for yourself by searching the internet. “The healthy way to stop smoking,” “a healthy alternative to tobacco,” “a proven aid to smoking cessation,” and on and on. Pure BULL S!**! (excuse the French)

Giving nebulized nicotine not only has never been shown to aid in cessation, it, in fact, has been shown to: NOT help with quitting, make the existing addiction even worse and entrap a whole new generation of unsuspecting, under-informed (like teens) and under-thinkers into new addiction.

A "non-smoker" teen newly addicted to the nicotine in e-cigarettes.

[Photo: A "non-smoker" teen newly addicted to the nicotine in e-cigarettes.]

Recent Research Findings

A fairly recent study that I read (well it would have to be recent wouldn’t it because e-cig’s haven’t been around very long) was performed specifically on a large pediatric population. It revealed that e-cigarettes DID NOT help smoking teens to quit NOR deter teen smoking.

In the understated way of journal writing the authors merely stated their study showed that e-cigarettes “contributed to nicotine addiction” in the population. What it really gave was prima facie evidence of children being “hooked” on a drug – nicotine. No duh!

Additionally, the American Journal of Preventive Medicine reported a study that showed e-cigarette use was not followed by greater rates of quitting or by reduction in cigarette consumption 1 year later; in spite of the fact that 85% of their users claimed that was exactly why they had used them.

New Study Findings

That leads us to the latest necessary waste of money, resources and talent performed by researchers in San Francisco by the doctors at the University of California and published in the march 2014 edition of JAMA Internal Medicine.

They analyzed over 1,500 participants in a web-panel nation-wide (US) who were attempting to quit their smoking addiction. Only 949 of them completed their two surveys in November of 2011 and 2012 so could be used in the analysis of the data.

They were interested in those smokers who used e-cigarettes in order to help them quit so analyzed those who reported using them at “baseline” (first report in Nov ’11). Although more were added during the year, 88 used them at baseline.

First of all: they found NO difference in smoking cessation at the end of the year between e-cig users and non users.

Additionally, the data showed that e-cig use was NOT significantly associated with greater intention to quit smoking. It DID show that at baseline e-cig use was predominantly women, younger adults, and individuals with less education.

The author of the research article states that: “[W]e found that e-cigarette use by smokers was NOT followed by greater rates of quitting or by reduction in cigarette consumption 1 year later.”

Even worse they found that e-cigs actually made a smokers addiction worse! “E-cigarette users reported smoking their first cigarette of the day less than 30 minutes after waking compared with nonusers.”

In their study it was only a smokers “REAL intention to quit” and “the number of cigarettes smoked per day” which significantly predicted a persons “quit status” in one year and e-cig’s had absolutely nothing to offer to help (and didn’t.)

Action Needed

We really have wasted more time, energy and resources than we should have on this. There is enough and to spare of new research on these scammy e-cigarettes showing they have absolutely NO BENEFIT in smoking cessation – and there never was any evidence that anyone should expect that they would have in the first place.

They are a drug (Nicotine) and should clearly be controlled by the FDA. Claims by their promoters and sellers clearly are false and intended with deliberate deceit which would make them under the jurisdiction of a number of governmental agencies.

The FDA, at very least, should take immediate action to protect the population. It is an addictive substance and should be treated as such. If it has no shown legitimate medical use it should be treated under those rules (i.e. prohibited except for research under protocol).

Secondly, the only way to remove the mountains of false claims and untruths from web pages is to allow civil penalties for false advertising and claims against sellers by those suffering the addiction, health detriments and lack of ability to quit smoking. Short of censoring web pages, the only persons who can alter or remove web pages are those who own the web site. The only motivation they have to actually do it would be financial risk.

[ JAMA Intern Med. Published online March 24, 2014. ]

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