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According to a paper published in Addictive Behaviours by professor David T. Sweanor and assistant professor Lynn T. Kozlowski, the FDA is actively standing in the way of better public health by refusing to inform the public that vaping products are safer alternatives to combustible cigarettes.

An article published earlier today on the Washington Examiner mentioned that in 2016, the FDA said that it would be spending $36 million on a campaign to educate young people about the risks of smokeless tobacco, but data shows that such a campaign is the last thing needed.

Most people are unaware that e-cigs are safer

Earlier this year, a study published by Public Health England (PHE), found that vaping is at least 95% than smoking. However sadly, a survey conducted by the National Cancer Institute, showed that 74% of respondents did not believe that non combustible products are any safer than cigarettes, with only 9% claiming the contrary.

“These consumers and potential consumers have a fundamental right (based on the principles of autonomy, health communication, and health literacy) to be well aware of the dramatic differential harms from the various products they are already or might consider using.”Professor David T. Sweanor and assistant professor Lynn T. Kozlowski

Additionally Sweanor and Kozlowski mentioned a national youth survey which showed that 31.8 percent of participants stated that electronic cigarettes are riskier than their combustible counterparts, and only 7.1 % stated the contrary. Basically, 93% of those surveyed had no idea that the electronic devices are safer than cigarettes, a sad statistic when keeping in mind that the non-combustible versions could contribute greatly to avert the current health crises brought about by smoking.

93% of those surveyed had no idea that the electronic devices are safer than cigarettes.
“These consumers and potential consumers have a fundamental right (based on the principles of autonomy, health communication, and health literacy) to be well aware of the dramatic differential harms from the various products they are already or might consider using,” said Sweanor and Kozlowski.

And while no one is suggesting taking up vaping over total abstinence, health officials must admit for those who have either no interest in quitting, or those smokers who would like a safer alternative to wean themselves off, electronic cigarettes hold a great opportunity. As a proof of this is the fact that the UK is reporting a record low of smokers, after endorsing the products for smoking cessation purposes. Unfortunately the US government is doing the exact opposite

Both abstinence and harm-reduction should be promoted

As many before them already have, Sweanor and Kozlowski pointed out that campaigns to get people to quit cigarettes should be following the same pattern as sex education in schools, that is, both abstinence and harm-reduction programs should be promoted together, in order to have different methods available, hence increasing the chances of success.

Sweanor D. and Kozlowski L. (2016).Young or adult users of multiple tobacco/nicotine products urgently need to be informed of meaningful differences in product risks. Addictive Behaviours