A critique by public health experts Dr. Lynn Kozlowski of the School of Public Health and Health Professions at the University of Buffalo, and David Sweanor of the Center for Health Law, Policy and Ethics at the University of Ottawa, pointed out that many smokers are still unaware about the risk differences in regular cigarettes and smokeless alternatives.
The piece which was published in the journal Addictive Behaviors, says that consumer rights are being violated as health officials are keeping the public in the dark about their options, hence are also defying principles of informed consent.
“The public and especially users of multiple tobacco and nicotine products need to be provided accurate and actionable information on major differential tobacco and nicotine product risk,” said Dr. Lynn Kozlowski.
He added that information pertaining to the products should be freely available and that the public has the right to be educated about the relative risks. “Deception or evasion about major differences in product risks is not supported by public health ethics, health communication or consumer practices,” she said, adding, “Public health agencies have an obligation to correct the current dramatic level of consumer misinformation on relative risks that they have fostered.”
Cancer agents extracted through combustion
In line with what several other public health experts have been pointing out, Kozlowski said that most cancer agents obtained via tobacco are extracted through the combustion process, and mentioned the fact that e-cigarettes were found to be at least 95% safer than their regular counterparts.
Co-author David Sweanor thinks that no knowledge should be quarantined. “We know that people can only make as good a decision as the information available to them allows, and in this case we see a quarantining of the information, keeping information away from consumers rather than empowering them to make better decisions,” he said. “You are going to reduce risk by at least 90 percent for smokeless tobacco compared to cigarettes, but only 1 in 10 Americans believe that any smokeless tobacco product is less hazardous than a cigarette, so they have been phenomenally misled,” he added.
Risks from second hand vapor also minimized
Besides the level of inhaled carcinogens, even the amount of toxins obtained via second hand vapor exposure is minimized when comparing vaping to smoking. A study by the San Diego State University (SDSU), released data comparing the different levels of in-home air pollution caused by a number of factors including smoking and vaping. “We observed no apparent difference in the weekly mean particle distribution between 43 homes reporting any electronic cigarette usage and those reporting none,” concluded the researchers of this particular study.