E Cig press continues to increase daily and CNN finally decided it would finally join the crowd and have the CNN Health.com Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, review electronic cigarettes. Too bad the story is full of errors.
I have embedded the CNN Health.com video here. I highly recommend watching it as a case study in, “what happens when you have non-smokers review e Cigs.” Funny stuff:
I told you it was funny. Ha ha you, “smoke on it” or “take a swig,” the choice is yours.
First, I want to apologize if you are a big fan of CNN Health.com or Dr. Sanjay Gupta.
I am going to point out a big blunder in this video review and a few other errors in the story and maybe have a little fun doing it.
Don’t get me wrong. I do think that Dr. Sanjay Gupta actually gave e Cigs a positive review and did encourage people to keep an open mind, but to also be cautious. I just think he could have done better.
This is the way it works on the internet: Instead of asking the Mass Media CNN Health.com outlet to print a correction or a retraction, the masses media outlets (small “m”) publish it for them complete with links to embarrassingly accurate facts and references.
We may not reach as many people at once as CNN Health.com does, but at least if someone is searching for the truth in a search engine they will find it.
Now let the corrections begin.
The first (although not the biggest blunder) in my opinion is Dr. Sanjay Gupta states, “… at $100 bucks these aren’t cheap …” Seriously Dr. Gupta? Have you seen the price of cigarettes lately? Do you know it just went up?
Oh, wait. That’s right Dr. Sanjay Gupta doesn’t smoke.
Every time I or anyone else has done our own calculations based on actual usage smoking e Cigs is always cheaper especially if you drip your cartridges. Even after replacing atomizers, batteries, and flat out just buying your replacement cartridges it still approaches 50% cheaper, but as always your mileage may vary.
The only case I have ever heard electronic cigarettes weren’t cheaper was for someone who previously hand-rolled their cigarettes.
I could attack this cost issue from many different angles like the cost of health care, but I want to move on to Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s BIGGEST blunder of the whole video.
Here is the blunder in a quote of Dr. Sanjay Gupta from the video:
Its never been really been tested in humans. They use nicotine in patches; they use it in gums but not inhaled before. So, what exactly is going to be the impact on humans in the long term? They just don’t know because they haven’t tested it.
Oopps! I guess the FDA will have to remove their approval of the Nicorette™ and Nicotrol™ nicotine inhalers. That’s right. Both brand names have FDA approved nicotine inhalers so there had to be testing done on it.
If you don’t believe me you can research it yourself or take a look at the “PHARMACOLOGIC PRODUCT GUIDE: FDA-APPROVED MEDICATIONS” I found in 2 minutes on the University of California, San Francisco’s Smoking Cessation Leadership Center’s web site.
The other problems with this story are actually in the written part of the article you can read here: FDA hazy on e-cigarettes’ safety.
First the article states,
Makers of e-cigs tout their product as the first healthy cigarette, free of harmful chemicals and tar typically found in tobacco products. The only ingredient: pure liquid nicotine.
Pure nicotine is NOT the only ingredient. Not even close. Also, saying, “pure liquid nicotine,” makes it sound like its crack cocaine or something.
In fact nicotine makes up only 6% of the solution in the cartridges at most according to the Wikipedia article on e Cigs that references the patents for the different nicotine solutions that could be used in the refill cartridges.
Remember that list of FDA approved medications from the University of California? If you go on to read more of the article you find out that Dr. Steven Schroeder of the University of California-San Francisco was actually contacted and quoted in the article.
Ironically Dr. Schroeder had this to say:
“Nicotine is not the thing in tobacco smoke that causes cancer, but inhaling pure nicotine may be dangerous,” said Dr. Steven Schroeder, physician and smoking cessation expert at the University of California-San Francisco Medical Center. “We have no clue what the health effects could be.”
Again, e Cigs do NOT contain pure nicotine. And, how can Dr. Schroeder say, “We have no clue what the health effects could be?” Does he know nicotine inhalers are FDA approved? It is in a document affiliated in some way with his University after all. Was there any testing on health effects of nicotine inhalers when they gained FDA approval or not?!
I invite Dr. Schroeder to comment.
Am I missing something here? Maybe we don’t want electronic cigarettes to get FDA approval if it leaves us with no clue of what the health effects of inhaling nicotine could be.
I think I just figured out what the health effects of being stupid could be!
OK, that was a little over the top. I really don’t think anyone is being stupid. I honestly think I am missing something here. Hopefully some comments will provide some additional perspective here. This is too crazy to not be the case.
So now that I have covered everything that I think was wrong in this piece I did want to cover a couple of other things that I thought were interesting in the CNN Health.com story.
First, the CNN Health.com article withe the help of the American Cancer Society and Dr. Schroeder redeemed itself in my eyes somewhat by saying:
Tobacco smoke causes nearly 90 percent of lung cancer deaths, according to the American Cancer Society. “If it is a choice between smoking tobacco product or a nicotine replacement — of course, keep taking the nicotine,” Schroeder said. “It is a heck of a lot healthier than tobacco smoking.”
That’s more like it. Lets be positive.
Another quote from the article stated:
“The FDA has been detaining and refusing importations since at least last summer of these so-called ‘electronic cigarettes,’ ” FDA spokesperson Rita Chappelle told CNN in a written statement.
This is just great. There are plenty of cigars, regular cigarettes and / or chewing tobacco that are imported to this country every day. Why is it that OK, but electronic cigarettes are being confiscated by the FDA?
Also, U.S. companies continue to make and sell cigarettes which will, by the way, NEVER obtain FDA approval because they have the Surgeon General’s warning on them. This seems crazy to me that people are hung up on e cigarettes getting FDA approval and I wonder what Dr. Sanjay Gupta would say about it.
In the video portion Dr. Gupta also said they had someone try the electronic cigarette in the studio and this person apparently was surprised how much it satisfied their craving for a cigarette. So, if we never figure out if is “safe” can we at least be certain it is effective?
I think everyone should be permitted to judge for themselves.