E-cigarettes helping quit-smoking effort
Your April 30 editorial urging employers to ban the use of electronic cigarettes was dead wrong.
The evidence on e-cigarettes consistently finds the products pose no known risks to nonusers, are 99 percent less hazardous than cigarettes, are used almost exclusively by smokers and former smokers who quit by switching, and have already helped more than a million smokers quit.
In contrast to the absurd claim by state Department of Health press secretary Kathleen Gillis that “e-cigarettes have the potential to promote more smoking or attract new smokers,” there is no evidence e-cigarettes have ever addicted any nonsmoker or youth.
Joe Shetler was quoted as saying Conemaugh Health System banned e-cigarette use “because of the negative visual association they have with a real cigarette.” That’s not a health argument, but rather a policy to discriminate against people who recently quit smoking.
The only reason our organization campaigned to ban smoking in workplaces for the past three decades was because tobacco smoke pollution contaminates indoor air and is harmful for nonsmokers.
But instead of improving health, banning e-cigarette use in workplaces (other than schools) threatens public health by discouraging smokers from quitting and by deceiving people to believe e-cigarettes are as hazardous as cigarettes.
Last week, a tobacco stock analyst estimated that e-cigarettes will replace 1.5 billion cigarettes on the U.S. market this year.
The best way to further reduce cigarette consumption is to encourage smokers to use e-cigarettes.
Executive director, Smokefree Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh