Tag Archives: ANR

This is what anti-THR networking looks like (and a bit more on ACS)

Yesterday, the CASAA leadership had the enormous displeasure to listen to a webcast about state and local regulation of e-cigarettes, hosted by the Tobacco Control Network (we listened so you did not have to – you’re welcome).

Actually we almost did not get to listen to it: every one of us was bounced off the call except one of us who registered using a non-CASAA affiliation.  We are assuming that was totally a matter of coincidence and technical difficulty.  We certainly hope it was, because not letting us attend a CDC-sponsored public call would certainly be a no-no.  However, if it was intentional, it would not be out of character for the ANTZ, who consistently try to keep anyone who does not agree with them from even observing their meetings.  Also, the (lack of) ethics of such a move are not much different from using CDC funding to engage in what is basically an effort to lobby for state and local regulation; that is explicitly forbidden by law, but this CDC-funded webcast was definitely doing just that.

The reaction to this by CASAA was kind of interesting in itself.  The one of us (CVP) who has been dealing with ANTZ activism against THR for more than a decade (indeed, for more than a decade before the term “ANTZ” was even coined by CASAA) found it to be rather routine.  Others, who had come to THR only after e-cigarettes enabled them to quit smoking, offered quite a few comments that we will not repeat here (out of concern for the chiiiiildren).  One of the more printable comments was simply “do these people really get paid for this?”  (Answer: yes — your tax dollars at work.)

If we tried to respond to every detail, this broadcast would give us a month worth of Lies posts, so we are just going to hit a few highlights.  As a summary, most of the content, other than a few specific points that we will highlight, was an embarrassing primer about e-cigarettes (most any reader of this blog could have done it better), along with the usual attacks that this is all some industry plot and is all about the advertising.  The ANTZ’s guiding mythology makes it impossible to admit that people use e-cigarettes (or smoke or whatever) because they want to, and thus they have to concoct this crazy (as in: as certifiably out of touch with reality as believing your garden gnomes are talking you) story about how a smattering of e-cigarette ads controls people’s when they make one of their most important life choices.

Since the anti-e-cigarette people are basically just the anti-smoking people with no additional education, they of course used the same old ANTZ playbook:  They talked about the importance years-old ads that ran briefly in such consumer-manipulation powerhouses as Convenience Store News.  They talked trash about specific companies, quite a few of which no longer exist.  Our favorite was their breathless concern about one e-cigarette merchant using women mimicking the old “cigarette girls” to sell e-cigarettes in a casino, which they seemed to think would appeal to young people.  Yes, it appeals to all of those young people who remember cigarette girls from c.1970 and who were in the casino.

The speakers from Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights (whose Orwellian name belies the fact that they were opposing rights for nonsmokers who want to use e-cigarettes instead, and who are really just anti-tobacco/nicotine extremists) took the lead on the ad hominem attack.  We were initially a bit disappointed to not be mentioned, because the first page of that presentation was devoted to business groups and think tanks.  They were obsessed about corporate connections and the e-cigarette industry’s new-found access to lobbying.  They singled out a few organizations, including ALEC (for those who do not know, a networking group that is described as either “pro-business” or “right-wing” depending on who you ask) who is such an important player that they might have penned two pro-THR and pro-e-cigarette missives (though only one comes to mind).  You could tell that what they really wanted to do was to complain that THR must be bad because, politically, people associated with the Republican Party tend to support it, but they probably did not want to threaten their CDC funding quite that aggressively.

(For those who might not know, e-cigarette users and THR supporters are pretty much randomly distributed across other political beliefs and affiliations, though they skew libertarian for obvious reasons.  By contrast, almost all of the attacks on THR in the US come from the “public health” political faction which is almost entirely affiliated with the Democrat Party — and which is starting to erode that party’s support — and thus for this particular issue, support of the public’s interest by politicians comes primarily from Republicans.)

CASAA did appear on the second page of ad hominem attacks, rather annoyingly in the context of RJR’s efforts to promote THR to politicians (something we are no happier about than the ANTZ are).  CASAA was identified as being Bill Godshall and Gregory Conley, though when mentioning those two they failed to acknowledge that it is they, and not the corporate lobbyists that they fixated on, who have done the most to protect e-cigarettes from anti-THR efforts.  Kudos to Greg for getting in their crosshairs; the rest of us are happy to toil in ANTZ anonymity.  Bill, however, works alongside us a lot but is independent of CASAA.  It is truly remarkable that the people who are chosen to be the experts who inform other ANTZ cannot even get that straight.  They are all about ad hominem attacks – because the science and true public opinion are not on their side – but they cannot even figure out who the hominems are.

They described CASAA as “theoretically a consumer advocacy organization”.  Cute, huh.  There was nothing presented to suggest that we are anything but that, of course, since it is an undeniable fact.  But by saying “theoretically”, they were able to insinuate it was not true without actually stating the lie they want to plant in the audience’s mind.  That remark was delivered by Bronson Frick and Cynthia Hallett, who theoretically have never even once hired a hooker for a threesome and then killed her and buried her in the basement.  See how that works?

(Oops.  So much for protecting all those chiiiildren who read this blog.)

The ad hominem attacks and emphasis on advertising really served to illustrate the question-begging circular “logic” that dominates the ANTZ approach.  It goes something like this:

Start with the assumption that e-cigarettes and THR are bad for the world and the public does not really like them.  Based on that, it is apparent that any company, advocacy group, or individual who acts out in support of the products or cause must be bad.  Having established that these people are bad, we will now tell you about their support THR and e-cigarettes.  With all those bad people supporting e-cigarettes and encouraging their use, it is obvious that they are bad for the world and that people only use them because they are being manipulated by bad people.  This proves our original point that e-cigarettes and THR are bad.

From the perspective of this blog, the biggest highlight of the presentation was a remarkable coincidence with the most recent two posts, which were about the American Cancer Society’s efforts to block regulations that would prevent sales of e-cigarettes to minors.  Joelle Lester from the Tobacco Control Legal Consortium informed the audience of what this blog already pointed out to our readers:  No action taken by a state or locality can weaken whatever action FDA or other federal regulators might take about e-cigarettes.  This was not a minor aside; it was pretty much the highlighted point of her talk, that everyone should be pursuing state and local restrictions without hesitation.

Readers will recall that the claim by ACS et al. was that they opposed bans on sales to minors because this would somehow undermine the pending FDA legislation.  We pointed out that this is obviously wrong, and that the ACS decision-makers undoubtedly know it.  Thus, the claim was a transparently false rationalization for hidden motives, which we went on to divine.  The presentation yesterday made it clear that not only is this obvious to anyone with even a casual understanding of US law, but that the group that is effectively the legal department for the US tobacco control industry is actively communicating that information.  Not a very clever rationalization for ACS to hide behind, then.

That is enough for today.  In the next post we will tell you about the highlight of that broadcast, a remarkable bit of honesty from a county health department that tried to restrict e-cigarette use, along with some of the other lowlights.

Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights makes false claims about hazards of electronic cigarettes

posted by Elaine Keller

AUTHORS NOTE: This is Part 2 of 2 addressing the press release issued on September 26 by the anti-smoker group, Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights (ANR). Yesterday’s post addressed the smoking cessation issue. Today’s post addresses the ANR’s misleading statements about the safety of vapor.

SPRINGFIELD, VA October 2, 2012

E-cigarette users who have achieved smoking abstinence report improvements in their health ranging from a reduction in COPD and asthma symptoms to better markers of cardiovascular health such as blood pressure and lipid measures. Researchers have found no increase in blood pressure or heart rate among subjects trying e-cigarettes for the first time.

“What I find most egregious about the ANR’s recent press release,” stated Elaine Keller, President of The Consumer Advocates for Smoke-free Alternatives Association, “is their statement that e-cigarettes pollute indoor air with ‘detectable levels of carcinogens and other toxic chemicals.’ ANR is trying to manipulate non-smokers into wrongly believing that e-cigarettes threaten the health of bystanders. The truth is that there is absolutely no indication that electronic cigarettes pose any appreciable risk to bystanders. Tragically, these kinds of devious tactics may actually prevent smokers from saving their health and their lives by switching to this low-risk alternative.”

The Indoor Air study cited in the ANR’s press release did report finding six chemicals in the air after a subject used an e-cigarette in a sealed 10 cubic meter stainless steel chamber. The Air was sampled for 15 minutes. However, the highest concentration of any of these chemicals was formaldehyde, measured at 16 micrograms per cubic meter, which equates to 12.86 parts per BILLION (ppb.) The OSHA Short Term Exposure Limit (15 minutes) for workers exposed to formaldehyde in the workplace is 15.5 times higher, at 2 parts per million (ppm), equivalent to 2,000 ppb. In the more restrictive Alberta Ambient Air Quality Objectives (which are equal to or more stringent than existing National Air Quality Objective and Canada Wide Standards) is set to 53 ppb.

The Indoor Air study found no nicotine in the air of the chamber. When the researchers captured exhaled breath directly in a 7 liter glass chamber, they measured 0.007 milligrams of nicotine per cubic meter. The OSHA limit for exposure is 0.5 mg per cubic meter of air—71 times higher. “But the existence of this nicotine is a moot point,” stated Keller, “given the fact that the only way a bystander could be exposed to any nicotine whatsoever from vapor would be to lock lips with an e-cigarette user and inhale while the user is exhaling.”

“ANR would like the public to believe that manufacturers hide information about ingredients in e-cigarette liquid and vapor,” said Keller, “but the major ingredients in e-cigarette liquid are well-known: propylene glycol or glycerin to create the vapor, water, flavoring, and optionally a small amount (typically less than 2%) nicotine. Countless tests have been performed on liquid and vapor. So far none of these tests has ever measured toxins or carcinogens anywhere near hazardous levels. This is probably due to the fact that unlike conventional cigarettes, e-cigarettes are not combusted”

“Discouraging the use of alternative that are up to 99% less hazardous than smoking for the users, and that are essentially harmless to bystanders, shows an appalling disregard for human health and life on the part of groups like ANR,” said Keller.

Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights shamelessly promotes continued smoking

posted by Elaine Keller

AUTHORS NOTE: This is Part 1 of 2. On September 26, the anti-smoker group, Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights (ANR) issued a press release making false claims about e-cigarette vendors misleading the public about the safety of e-cigarettes and their efficacy for smoking cessation. CASAA has responded with a rebuttal press release (go read it, and then hit the tweet etc. buttons to raise its profile!).  Our rebuttal had to be drastically shortened for the press release version, however, so here we share the original. Today’s post addresses the smoking cessation issue. Tomorrow’s post will address the ANR’s misleading statements about the safety of vapor.

SPRINGFIELD, VA, October 1, 2012

–Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights (ANR) and other proponents of the extremely ineffective abstinence-only approach to smoking cessation are misleading the public about hazards of electronic cigarettes through paid press releases, social media, and even scientific publications and conferences. A recent press release by ANR also falsely claims that there is “a lack of independent peer-reviewed scientific evidence demonstrating the safety or efficacy” of electronic cigarettes for smoking cessation.

The problem with their preferred abstinence-only approach is simple: It doesn’t work. Every medically-approved method of smoking cessation is based on becoming 100% abstinent from any form of nicotine. FDA-approved nicotine patches, gum, lozenges, nasal sprays, and oral inhalers are referred to as Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) products, but all these products are accompanied by directions to gradually reduce the daily intake of nicotine to zero.

A study published in 2003 found that in the real world, over-the-counter NRT has a 93% mid-year failure rate. A 2012 study conducted by researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health and the University of Massachusetts found that the relapse rate was the same for those using NRT as those who had not, regardless of whether they received counseling support.

In contrast, a growing body of scientific evidence is showing that providing smokers with a low-risk alternative such as electronic cigarettes is a much more effective way than nicotine-abstinence to achieve abstinence from smoking.

BMC Public Health is a peer-reviewed scientific journal that published the results of an Italian pilot study in November, 2011, that monitored modifications in smoking habits of 40 smokers unwilling to quit, hoping to see a reduction in the number of cigarettes per day (CPD) smoked. The researchers were pleased to observe a 50% CPD reduction in 32.5% of subjects and an 80% reduction in 12.5% of subjects. But they were astonished to discover that at the end of the 6 month study, 22.5% of these unwilling-to-quit subjects had completely stopped smoking.

Among smokers that want to quit, the results are even more remarkable. Another peer-reviewed scientific journal, the American Journal of Public Health published the results of an online survey of first-time buyers of a particular brand of e-cigarette. The 6-month point prevalence smoking abstinence rate was 31% among this group.

In June 2011, the peer-reviewed medical journal, Addiction, published the results of an internet survey of over 3,500 e-cigarette users who used a variety of brands and nicotine strengths. The survey found that 77% of daily e-cigarette users had become former smokers.

E-cigarette users who have achieved smoking abstinence report improvements in their health ranging from a reduction in COPD and asthma symptoms to better markers of cardiovascular health such as blood pressure and lipid measures. Researchers have found no increase in blood pressure or heart rate among subjects trying e-cigarettes for the first time.