E-Cigs To Health Orgs: Where’s The Love?

The American Medical Association. The American Cancer Society. The American Heart Association. Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. The American Lung Association, for crying out loud. All are publicly against electronic cigarettes.

Theoretically, there are on the same team as electronic cigarette manufacturers. Since they all have the same goal of eradicating the use of tobacco cigarettes, one might assume that these groups would enthusiastically applaud the exploding popularity of e-cigs and white fox snus.

Health organizations could have acknowledged the significant role e-cigs play in helping people stop smoking. They could have helped fund research on electronic cigarettes or helped shape the e-cig oversight policy.

Alas, no. Not only are they unsupportive of e-cig manufacturers, but they’re also downright hostile to them.

These organizations, who are tasked with improving our quality of life, have a litany of accusations against electronic cigarettes. They complain of a lack of data on e-cigs’ cessation effectiveness and alleged deception on the part of e-cig companies.

These guys practically raced each other to be first in line to denounce electronic cigarettes, generating a flurry of dead tree documents like policy statements, petitions, fact sheets, and press releases in the process.

Why is this? What reason could these organizations have for being some of the most vehement protesters against e-cigs? An article in the San Francisco Chronicle lists one possibility: Money.

Turns out many public health organizations and anti-tobacco groups receive significant financial contributions from the pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, which just happens to be the manufacturer of the medication Chantix and other smoking cessation products. Of the ten organizations most strongly aligned with ending tobacco usage, eight took donations from Pfizer, totaling more than $2.5 billion.

No matter that people all over the world can attest to electronic cigarettes’ effectiveness in stopping smoking, these organizations revile e-cigs and continue to push largely ineffective anti-smoking products like the nicotine patch and gum.

Do you know anyone who successfully stopped smoking by swallowing a pill or chewing some wretched-tasting gum or slapping a patch on their arm? No? Neither do we.

We can’t say for sure that money is behind these organizations’ condemnation of electronic cigarettes. It’s just a theory…but it seems like a damn good theory to us. The possible loss of billions of dollars in donations can’t have slipped by unnoticed by the powers that be.

If it is a money issue, it’s doubly despicable. First, that would mean these organizations, who exist to improve the nation’s health, are prioritizing money over lives. Second, their scare tactics could prevent smokers from even trying electronic cigarettes, a product that could make a tremendous difference in their ability to stop smoking.

We expect this sort of ruthless, money-grubbing behavior from big business, especially big pharmaceutical companies, but surely we deserve better from the entities whose purpose is to promote the greater good.