Last month in December, Michael Eriksen, who is a former Director of the Office on Smoking and Health at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and is currently Dean and Regents’ Professor at the Georgia State School of Public Health, attracted significant attention online by tweeting in favour of electronic cigarettes.
In his tweet, Erikson retweeted and commented about a status from a vaping advocate which talked about ex-smokers helping current smokers quit the deadly habit via vaping. “This is what’s exciting about #ecigs and #vaping…peer to peer helping smokers quit combustion. Lets end #smoking as we know it!”, read Erikson’s tweet.
But why did this tweet attract so much attention? Because the CDC is criticised by health experts for releasing misleading information about vaping, in relation to the risks from exposure to vapor as opposed to the ones from exposure to cigarette smoke. On one occasion the agency shocked many in the Public Health industry by approving an extremely “light” cigarette which would give smokers the same amount of toxins and carcinogens, whilst eliminating most of the nicotine that they actually crave, and hence would make them smoke more of these in order to satisfy their addiction.
On a positive note, data released by the CDC last November proved that the majority of smokers quit successfully with the assistance of vaping products, hence proved the infamous “gateway” theory wrong.
Erikson’s tweet was met with comments by hopeful vapers who feel that their government has singled them out and is coming in the way of them quitting smoking instead of supporting them in doing so. Whilst many referred to the fact that the CDCand the government in general has been opposing their efforts to quit with the help of the proven effective devices, many others appreciated the former director’s support.
As more and more data is becoming available about the effectivity of e-cigarettes as harm reduction tools, and their benefit is becoming undeniable, the hope is that the FDA will have to revoke it’s harsh regulations and more smokers will be able to use the products un harassed, and who knows..maybe one day they will even be encouraged to do so as in countries such as the UK.