According to the latest statistics, about 450,000 Americans die of smoking-related causes, and a lot more have to spend tens of thousands of dollars on medication. For many of them quitting is not an option, and because most anti-smoking groups repeatedly claim “there is no safe alternative to smoking”. their only alternative is death.
You quit or you die. That’s basically what the FDA and anti-smoking groups will have smokers believe, although there are other ways of going about saving tobacco smokers from a slow and painful end. It’s called “tobacco harm reduction”, and it involves using nicotine replacements like electronic cigarettes, snus or tobacco pellets. If this kind of therapies were more actively supported, the number of people who die prematurely as a result of smoking tobacco could be cut down to 10,000 or less per year. It might sound unrealistic, but that would indeed be possible if more smokers would be aware of the viable alternatives available to them.
The key behind tobacco harm reduction is nicotine, that powerful drug that keeps smokers hooked to the point where they actually pay money everyday for something they known is killing them. But what the FDA and anti-smoking groups aren’t saying is nicotine is no more less harmful to human health than caffeine. Of course, it shouldn’t be consumed by people suffering from heart conditions, and yes, an overdose would put anyone’s life in jeopardy, but the same can be said about a lot of freely available medication. Nicotine, by itself, is not hazardous to your health, but the thousands of chemicals in tobacco smoke certainly are. The point of using reduced risk nicotine products like electronic cigarettes is to convince people to quit smoking without having to renounce the nicotine they crave so badly.
For example, in Sweden, there is a serious discrepancy between smoking men and women. In the last 50 years, lung cancer mortality among Swedish women has been one of the highest in Europe. Evidently, smoking is preferred by women, while most men like to chew snus, causing them to have the lowest rate of lung cancer in all of Europe. A lot of people claim chewing snus and tobacco pellets causes throat and mouth cancer, but there is very little medical data to back up those claims. But even if there was some risk, it is minimal compared to that of cigarette smoking.
An what about e-cigarettes? They are gaining in popularity, and people are praising them online and in the media, but instead of encouraging smokers to make the switch, they are issuing warnings about low levels of potentially cancer-inducing levels in e-juice. We’re talking levels way below the danger threshold, but as soon as people hear words like “cancer” they don’t ask any more questions. It’s true electronic cigarettes need more testing, but I think everyone can agree they can’t possibly be more harmful that tobacco cigs. They are clean nicotine delivery systems that give ex-smokers their fix without the devastating effects of cigarette smoke.
Because effective smoking alternatives like e-cigarettes are simply ignored or even rejected by anti-smoking groups and the FDA, hundreds of thousands of smokers are dying every year. Quitting cold turkey is not an option for everybody, but the only consequence for those who can’t beat nicotine addiction doesn’t have to be death. E-cigarettes work, and hopefully more and more smokers will learn about them before it’s to late…