Over the past few years, we’ve seen more than our fair share of bad science in the ecig industry. But a recent ad campaign from Alaska is without a doubt the most damaging we’ve seen to date. In a new commercial, Alaska’s health authorities allege that ecigs are actually more harmful than cigarettes. But it gets even worse. The commercial implies that ecigs can cause brain damage or cause smokers to develop asthma. It even suggests that your ecig could contain embalming fluid and nail polish remover.
When addressing the fallacies promoted by this commercial, it’s hard to know where to even begin. First and foremost, ecigs have been repeatedly proven to be a safer alternative to cigarettes. They contain no tobacco and no tar. We also know that ecigs won’t give you asthma. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Research shows that asthma sufferers who switch from cigarettes to ecigs show dramatic improvements in their symptoms. And of course, there is absolutely zero evidence to support the theory that ecigs contain embalming fluid or nail polish remover. Health authorities were obviously going for shock value at the expense of actual science.
This ad isn’t the first example of Alaska’s erroneous views on ecigarettes. The Chief Medical Examiner has repeatedly claimed that ecigs are a greater threat to teens than cigarettes. He told KTTV News that vapor devices are a major concern. “We do see more kids using e-cigarettes now than smoking, so e-cigarettes right now are the neatest, shiniest thing and they’re kind of cool so in that sense they do provide a riskier alternative to cigarettes.”
Valerie Davidson, the Commissioner of Alaska’s Department of Health and Social Services, has also condemned ecigarettes. “If we know that kids think e-cigarettes are not smoking and e-cigarettes are ok and they’re a better alternative to smoking, we need to let them know that they are just as harmful, and perhaps more harmful, than smoking cigarettes and chewing tobacco.”
Davidson also claimed that ecigarettes contain tobacco, which is absolutely untrue. “We all have known for a long time the dangers of tobacco use and the dangers of nicotine use, but for some kids they don’t think of e-cigarettes as necessarily being cigarettes or being tobacco, but they are.”
Ultimately, Alaska’s blatant display of ignorance regarding electronic cigarettes is not only dangerous; it’s irresponsible. By purposefully arming youth with wrong information, they are insuring another generation of smokers will die from cancer, heart disease, and other tobacco related diseases. Should these health authorities be held accountable for the damage that will soon ensue in Alaska?