Greetings to everyone, and welcome to another edition of Thoughts From Charlie. I know it has been quite a while since we last spoke, but things have been a bit…busy as we all prepared for 8/8. Now that we are on the other side, I think we will be able to have some more time to chat, on a more regular basis.
There is far too much still up in the air to try and make this any sort of all-encompassing diatribe on the regulations, and frankly, I have read far too many of these sorts of posts to want to inflict more of the same on you. What I would like to discuss for a start is a recent statement made by the FDA, in response to a current lawsuit brought by NicoPure against the FDA. This is a link to the full response [FDA response], but I will be quoting a portion of the first paragraph for us to examine.
‘Electronic cigarettes are the fastest growing segment of the tobacco market, and their use has spiked dramatically in recent years. They are now used by more than 13 percent of high school students, eclipsing conventional cigarettes as the most popular tobacco product among youth. Although they are often marketed as helping smokers quit, there is scant evidence to back such claims, and some evidence that they in fact inhibit cessation. At the same time, there is ample evidence that e-cigarettes present significant risks to the public health. To begin, they are principally designed to deliver nicotine—one of the most addictive substances known to man— and can do so as effectively as conventional cigarettes.’
The red emphasis is mine, because I didn’t want anyone to miss that. I find this amazing, interesting, and more than a little frightening. ‘What’s the big deal over one word in a paragraph full of negative things?’ I hear you ask. Well, they just said that we don’t exist. Yeah, you, me, your wife, or son, or grandfather, or co-worker, any of us that have used electronic cigarettes to quit smoking traditional tobacco cigarettes. I had my last cigarette in November of 2012, the same day that I purchased a basic electronic cigarette kit from a convenience store. I didn’t expect it to work, but I also knew that I had promised my wife that I would quit smoking on my birthday that year. Believe me, you want to keep promises that you make to your wife, if you enjoy wedded matrimony and not sleeping on the couch. Digression aside, I had zero expectation that ‘vaping’ [as I soon learned it was called] would be a successful method to quit smoking, but I had tried many other times and ways to stop the habit, but always came up short. I figured, ‘Why not?’.
In the spirit of full disclosure, it was not love at first vape. This was 2012, and the technology was lacking. That convenience store device was not as satisfying as a regular cigarette, and it was actually pretty expensive. But what it did have was POTENTIAL. I remember thinking ‘…this isn’t quite it, but maybe there is something here after all.’, and that started the switch to vaping. That was the last conventional tobacco cigarette I have smoked since I picked up my first personal vaporizer. Closing in on four years now. I was a pack & a half to two pack a day smoker. I had tried to quit via cold turkey, gum, patch, prescription…no dice. And I know I am not alone! That’s what makes this particular paragraph bother me so much, the ease with which my experience, your experience, your mother’s, your boyfriend’s, your grandfather’s experience is cast away. Pushed to the side, as though we don’t exist, as though no one has successfully ended their dependence on traditional tobacco cigarettes through the use of personal vaporizers. Not just cut back, not switched to dual usage, not used for short periods of time before a return to another pack of smokes…but a permanent switch, a complete change to sole use of vapor products. I refuse to let my personal experience be ignored, to be disregarded with a single sentence, a single word, and I hope you feel the same.
Of course electronic cigarettes are the ‘fastest growing segment of the tobacco market’ [the whole tobacco thing…that’s going to have to be another post], because they WORK! The worst part about this is that the FDA, which was put into place to protect the public health, should be supporting this new technology, instead of trying to remove it from the marketplace. So how did we get to where we are now, what’s next, and what can we do to try and turn the tide? Stay tuned, as we continue to explore the regulations enacted by the FDA, and the ramifications it will have on us, the people, in future posts.
Please, if you have not already, join CASAA, SFATA, R2B, Not Blowing Smoke, and PARTICIPATE. Petitions are great, but we need more. We need you to tell your stories of how you quit smoking traditional cigarettes by the use of personal vaporizers, of how your family members quit, of how your friends and loved ones quit, and send them to your government. We need letters to your Senators and Congressmen, to your Governors, to your local legislators and town council members. We need phone calls, we need to tell our stories. Please remember, the time has come for us to stand together, united in this cause.