This is part two of my personal account trying the newest product on the market for smokers – the electronic cigarette, which is an alternative
form of delivering nicotine in a form most familiar to smokers of fired-tobacco products (standard or ‘analog’ cigarettes and cigars). Part One
– my story on trying and switching – can be found HERE. This is a social issue, as
the opposition to e-cigarettes comes from parties and groups that have traditionally represented themselves as “for the public health” but this
opposition in many ways is damaging the promotion of a product that stands to improve the general health of the population by giving alternatives to
millions of smokers in the U.S. and billions across the world.
On with the second half – the controversy!
The dangers of smoking cigarettes made with tobacco is well-known and has been publicized for decades, so much so that it’s hard to imagine any
smoker that lights up and burns a tobacco stick without thoughts of finding another way to get that nicotine with the same joy that comes from that
taste and feeling of tobacco. The nicotine gives a kick, calms the nerves, and makes it easier to deal with stress, makes it easier to concentrate on
complicated tasks, and passes time while waiting for whatever reason. It is a drug, like caffeine, used by millions.
The dangers of pure nicotine are less understood by the public, because those public health promotions about smoking always couple the dangers to the
delivery system (smoking, dipping, or chewing tobacco). Nicotine is proven to be highly addictive. But is it dangerous??? That proof does not exist.
Nicotine has been studied intensely, and is proven not to be a carcinogen or a toxin. Nicotine HAS been proven to improve alertness and concentration.
It is proven to lower stress levels. It has even been studied as a possible treatment or even preventative in the development of Parkinson’s and
Alzheimer’s diseases. Nicotine HAS BENEFITS, which have been largely obscured in the public perception (except for the smokers that recognize the
effects) by the larger focus on the harms of TOBACCO use to the general public.
I found a notable quote from a National Institutes of Health study “Meta-Analysis of the acute effects of nicotine and smoking on human
) gives the conclusion:
“The significant effects of nicotine on motor abilities, attention, and memory likely represent true performance enhancement because they are
not confounded by withdrawal relief. The beneficial cognitive effects of nicotine have implications for initiation of smoking and maintenance of
There are multiple other studies, from UK, Sweden, U.S., and elsewhere that can be found by a simple search, the state the same thing – that smokers
are addicted to the nicotine because of the benefits to their brain function, and NOT because they are too stupid to quit! They DENY IGNORANCE. They
are sharper thinkers. They are calmer and can process complicated tasks much quicker. I have NEVER heard this until I started this search to see if I
was making a worse choice by keeping the ‘addiction’ instead of dumping it completely.
The DELIVERY system is the danger. It is the tobacco that contains all the carcinogens, the toxins, the particulates, the pesticides, the dangerous
gases; it is the tobacco that causes lung dysfunction, cancers, stomach disorders; and it is the burning of the tobacco that spreads this harm to
others who do not wish to share those disorders; hence the powers granted to the anti-smoking lobby and the government to ban it’s use almost
everywhere and tax it to oblivion.
Now, there are alternatives that are so successful in getting users of tobacco to move to a safe and improved alternative as a permanent solution, and
not just a temporary step to removal of nicotine addiction. So successful, that some in the medical and public-health professions are beginning to
recognize the benefits, and are encouraging smokers to try this as a permanent-use product. There are some doctors that have even started giving
e-cigs to their patients – without counseling, without any discussion at all – and are finding that the success rate is well beyond any success
with the aggressive attempts made in the past using cessation products.
It is now HIGH TIME for the users of nicotine to STAND UP and defend their freedoms and their rights to keep their nicotine! The users of snus (also a
tobacco-free alternative to smoking) see the same benefits, but this new product has the ability to bring nicotine use out of the dark alleys and back
into the public eye as not some affliction that needs to be quashed for people that are too stupid to know better, but an improvement desired by
people that wish to think sharper with more detail.
Personally, I have a reputation for an excellent memory and an ability to sort complicated systems with precision and accuracy that my peers cannot
match. I started this research to make sure I was not trading one harm for another; but I come out of this research with a conclusion I did not expect
– that my nicotine use over the decades may have improved my skills immensely, and may have made a huge contribution to the memory and mental
processing skills that keep me employed and in huge demand by my customers; and that if I have found a way to keep that while dumping all the hazards,
then I will KEEP IT and fight for it, and even encourage others to do the same!
Don’t let the anti-smoking and anti-tobacco lobby destroy this new innovation! Its time to lose the shame of being a 'user', and for a change, be
PROUD to be a 'smoker'. Ditch the tobacco if you so desire, but don't let the uneducated and ignorant 'do-gooders' and 'zealots' remove your
right to legally partake in nicotine consumption if that is what you wish to do!!
A few links to the controversy (a search will produce dozens more like them):
New York Times "A Tool to Quit Smoking Has Some Unlikely Critics"
St. Paul Star-Tribune "E-cigarettes Fire Up Controversy in St. Paul"
The International Journal of Health Geographics / Harm Reduction Journal "The scientific foundation for tobacco harm reduction"