While no one wants to see teenagers using ecigarettes, most of us would agree that it’s at least a better scenario than if they were using tobacco products. Unfortunately, some of the world’s leading health organizations disagree. The American Heart Association released a statement about teens and ecigarettes this week and it has left many people feeling frustrated and confused. The AHA is apparently not too happy that kids are opting to use ecigs instead of smoking traditional cigarettes. “While the downward trend in teen cigarette smoking is a wonderful victory, this success has been sullied by the disturbing trend of young Americans turning to e-cigarettes and cigarillos, and away from traditional cigarettes.”
Considering that the AHA has spent millions of dollars and untold hours trying to convince kids to stop smoking, their stance is completely counterintuitive. Why would they find it disturbing that kids are shunning tobacco products even if they are opting to use ecigs? Isn’t this at least a step in the right direction? It seems like these public health leaders would be happier if our kids were still smoking cigarettes and it just doesn’t make sense.
This statement really gives us a peak into the continued and oftentimes purposeful ignorance about ecigarettes that is common in the field of public health. Despite repeated evidence that ecigs help people quit or drastically reduce their tobacco intake, many health agencies like the AHA still frown on ecigarettes as a dangerous enemy.
To complicate the situation even further, the AHA didn’t take issue with teens using ecigs because they were unhealthy or even because they were addictive. They aren’t making either of these claims. Instead, they are disturbed that teens are using ecigs in general – just because it has the appearance of tobacco use and is enjoyable. The AHA even believes nicotine-free ecigs are a threat to teens and that is the most confusing part of their remarks. After all, if they are only inhaling a harmless vapor mist with no chemical additives and no nicotine, why is it a big deal? Why is this not better than smoking cigarettes?
It seems that the American Heart Association has decided to do away with common sense and further the war on ecigs without any due cause. Do you think the AHA’s response to teens using ecigs is appropriate? Should parents be concerned if their child switches from cigarettes to ecigs?