As E Cigarettes become a more prevalent alternative to smoking, we sought out expert in the field of tobacco products Brad Rodu, to shed some light on the matter. As well as being a well qualified expert in his feild, Brad runs Tobacco Truth, an interesting blog based on scientific studies and facts who’s mission statement is: “Helping smokers avoid risks is a legitimate goal of tobacco control. But the movement has morphed into an anti-tobacco crusade intent on demonizing both tobacco users and the industry supplying them. This blog examines and comments on the scientific foundation for tobacco policies and fallacies.”
[Note: Information provided in this interview, as well as all interviews, provided by AllTreatment.com, are provided for information purposes only. AllTreatment does not necessarily agree or disagree with the opinions stated below, but we do believe in having a well informed public through qualified experts.]
AllTreatment: Could you briefly explain who you are and what you do?
Brad Rodu: I am a professor of medicine and hold an endowed chair in tobacco harm reduction research at the University of Louisville. For the past fifteen years, I have conducted research on tobacco harm reduction, involving permanent nicotine maintenance with safer tobacco products by smokers who are unable or unwilling to quit smoking with conventional cessation methods that require abstinence. My research is supported by unrestricted grants from tobacco manufacturers to the University of Louisville and by the Kentucky Research Challenge Trust Fund. I have not conducted research on e-cigarettes, but I draw my conclusions from published literature and my knowledge research related to nicotine addiction, tobacco use and associated health risks.
AT: E Cigarettes have been on the rise as of late, often championed by the manufacturers as the best way to quit smoking. However, on the other end of the spectrum are those who believe e cigarettes should be banned entirely. As a professional in the field, what is your view on E Cigarettes?
BR: I believe that e-cigarettes are a viable alternative for smokers who wish to reduce the health risks from smoking but who are unable or unwilling to abstain from all nicotine and tobacco.
There is absolutely no doubt that inhaling a vapor containing water, nicotine, propylene glycol and flavorings is vastly safer than inhaling the smoke from a burning tobacco product, which contains thousands of toxic agents. The fact that we do not have proof that these products are absolutely safe is not a sufficient reason to ban them.
AT: Are they a viable alternative for smoking without the risks, or do they have their own dangers associated with them?
BR: Using e-cigarettes is vastly safer than smoking but has not proven to be risk-free.
AT: The price of E Cigarettes seems to vary widely, from $6-$12 on up to $60 or higher. Without much other data, this makes me skeptical of the regulation process. Do you believe E Cigarettes are properly regulated?
BR: A federal judge and an appellate court have found that the 2009 Tobacco Act, which gave the FDA regulatory authority over tobacco, allows the FDA to regulate e-cigarettes as tobacco products. However, the FDA has tried to regulate e-cigarettes as drug-delivery devices, which would require their removal from the market until manufacturers conduct medical studies documenting safety and efficacy according to pharmaceutical-based standards.
The FDA strategy is counterproductive; it delays appropriate FDA action to establish manufacturing and quality control standards, enforce a sales ban to children, and provide a sound regulated environment providing smokers with safer alternatives.
AT: Any last thoughts on E Cigarettes which the general public may not know?
BR: It is clear that the majority of smokers, their friends and their relatives are not aware that many tobacco products that are just as satisfying as cigarettes but vastly safer. This includes a range of smokeless tobacco products, including pellets, mini-pouches, e-cigarettes and more. The public is being denied this information by government officials and nongovernmental organizations that have abandoned the health and welfare of smokers in pursuit of a senseless and unnecessary war against all tobacco and nicotine products.
[For more info on e cigarettes, be sure to check out our interview with Dr. Mathew Mintz]