Rainbow Health Initiative comes out against e-cigs

rainbowhealth560.jpg
RHI supports Hennepin County's move to crack down on e-cigs.
After we published our post about Hennepin County's move to ban e-cigarettes from county property yesterday, Tiffany Paulson, communications and marketing manager for the Rainbow Health Initiative, passed along a letter to the editor penned by her organization, which is devoted to "improving the health of LGBTQ communities" by "expanding access to and availability of culturally competent care."

SEE ALSO: Lynden's Soda Fountain busted for selling candy cigarettes

The letter succinctly makes the type of anti-e-cig argument businesses and public officials are using to justify cracking down on where "vaping" can lawfully occur.

Here it is:
Rainbow Health Initiative is a community-based non-profit organization committed to advancing the health and wellness of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) communities through research, education and advocacy. Working with these communities, whom have been targeted by tobacco companies, we see the subsequent higher rates of tobacco use and health disparities that result from this use...

E-cigarettes are frequently advertised as safer alternatives to traditional cigarettes, or as smoking cessation tools. While e-cigarettes contain fewer chemicals than traditional cigarettes, users still inhale nicotine which has health risks of increased blood pressure and heart rate. E-cigarette cartridges both with and without nicotine have been found to have harmful chemicals, metals, and silicates in the vapor, and the nanoparticles emitted by e-cigarettes can penetrate deeply into the lungs, affecting non-users through second-hand exposure to vapor. E-cigarettes are currently unregulated products, leaving a great deal unknown about not only the health risks, but also about product manufacturing and safety.

There isn't sufficient scientific research that definitively concludes electronic cigarettes are effective tools to quit smoking. They haven't been authorized as stop smoking devices by the FDA. If anything, some early research shows people trying to quit who have used e-cigarettes are less likely to stay quit than people who used other cessation methods. [A recent Star Tribune] article cites an Italian study that claims e-cigarettes can help quit smoking. However, there have been serious concerns raised about the study design and statistical analysis, casting doubt on the claim that e-cigarettes are effective cessation tools.

The most current and comprehensive overview of e-cigarettes states "to date, there is not a single study available based on reliable methods (randomized controlled study) with a large number of participants and sufficiently long observation period to provide evidence of the efficacy of the electronic cigarette as a cessation device." E-cigarettes are new and potentially less harmful than traditional cigarettes, but they still achieve big tobacco's goal of hooking consumers on nicotine in order to turn a profit.

Like traditional cigarettes, e-cigarettes should be banned in public spaces. There isn't enough information to ensure there aren't public health risks, and seeing people using an e-cigarette in non-smoking areas undermines the importance of smoke-free zones. Rainbow Health Initiative applauds Parasole for taking action to ban e-cigarettes from their establishments. Any other restaurants, organizations, or venues looking for assistance in creating and implementing a policy relating to tobacco and/or e-cigarette use are welcome to contact Rainbow Health Initiative at 612-206-3180.
On the other side of the issue, e-cig supporters argue crackdowns like the one announced by Hennepin County don't provide any sort of public health benefit while needlessly making life more difficult for those trying to quit smoking.

"People smoke for the nicotine, they die from the smoke," David Sweanor, a law professor at the University of Ottawa who works on tobacco and health issues, told the CBC.

Likewise, Dr. Peter Selby, chief of the addictions division at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto, argues government shouldn't get in the way of people who want to inhale smokeless tobacco unless e-cigs are demonstrated to have some sort of negative health consequence.

While acknowledging "we need a framework to study [e-cigs and their health implications] and understand it so we can actually tell smokers it is a safer option," Selby said, "Right now, it looks like we've got our head in the sand. If you take the nicotine out of the tobacco and only give people nicotine, the potential harm is likely very, very small."

-- Follow Aaron Rupar on Twitter at @atrupar. Got a tip? Drop him a line at arupar@citypages.com.

My Voice Nation Help
32 comments
mattzuke
mattzuke

"Users still inhale nicotine which has health risks of increased blood pressure and heart rate"

Users of NRPs, just like coffee drinkers, also have increased blood pressure and heart rate.  And 12 week programs have a 95% failure rate which is why the FDA lifted the restriction on 12 week programs.  And there is no long term evidence that this is safe, no clinical trials, but conjecture it beats smoking by a long shot.  I happen to agree.  But it's silly to spend extra for limited clinical trials that demonstrate the product is ineffective as tested when it's use is untested.  

Now we have the Nirvana fallacy.  Would be be better if someone quit nicotine?  Hypothetically as it would be heavier to not drink coffee, but only if cigarette cessation happens in 4 months presuming a 98% difference in harm, which would be switching to oral tobacco.  Doing it right is not worth a person's life, sorry, that's just amoral.  

Look, big tobacco specifically targeted LGBTQs in exactly the same way techno bands did in the 1980s.  Erasure gets the party going but cigarettes kill roughly 1% of users per year.  If it was heroin, you'd have no issue with methadone, and methadone is far from safe.  It in fact gets you high, but not so high you can't keep a job.  I'd love to see you folk celebrate the day where adoption is no big thing and traditional cessation methods fail most of the time.  It's insanity to continue doing something that doesn't work and expect it to suddenly do some good.  There is no right way to quit smoking, and if you value lives, you'll get people off cigarettes, as many as possible, and quickly as possible, for as little public cost as possible.  

kristinnm
kristinnm

Apparently, the Rainbow Health Initiative would rather their community just keep smoking and die. Because e-cigarettes aren't intended to be used by people wishing to quit. They are intended to be a safer alternative for smokers who have no intention of quitting. As someone with both gay and lesbian family members, who smoke and have no intention of quitting any time soon, I wish I could convert them to a smoke-free alternative!

When I bought my first e-cigarette, I had no intention of quitting smoking either. I just thought I'd give them a try because my state was about to ban indoor smoking and they were less expensive. Four years later and I haven't smoked a cigarette since that day. Do I still use the e-cigarette? Yes, but only 0.06% nicotine solution and if I wasn't using the e-cigarette, I'd be back to smoking. My doctor no longer considers me to be a smoker. I can exercise without getting winded so quickly and my blood pressure was excellent at my last checkup. You could call that a fluke, but the same is true for my family members who have also switched - my mother-in-law (who also quit the e-cigarettes after a few months), my brother, his wife and my husband. All smoke-free and feeling good. If it wasn't for e-cigarettes, all 5 of us would definitely still be smoking.

Only 6.5% of smokers quit every year. The other 93.5% should have more options than "quit or die." If they cannot or will not quit, they should have safer alternatives available to them and be given incentives (like not having to go outside) to encourage them to switch. The Rainbow Health Initiative should be very familiar with the concept of "harm reduction" for risky behavior ,after the "safe sex" campaigns of the 80's and 90's. If you cannot or won't stop doing a risky behavior, at least use a safer alternative. It shocks me that an organization like Rainbow Health Initiative doesn't understand how that concept can apply to its smoking members.

Visit CASAA's web site for more information about tobacco harm reduction policies.

DaveTheDopeFiend
DaveTheDopeFiend

Serious question: I'm wondering if all the pearl-clutching about e-cigs has less to do with the tobacco itself and more to do with the vaporizer devices, if only because I know vaporizers are becoming increasingly popular among marijuana smokers since they don't emit any odor associated with weed, thus making law enforcement's job harder. I just find it baffling that this type of cigarette is causing such an uproar but plain ol' nasty regular cancer-causing cigarettes are a-okay!

Tasha Rose
Tasha Rose

Interestingly related they are discussing on NPR the restoration of the pursuit of the common good. Take a listen, those who feel their right to pollute their bodies and those around them are more important than having a healthy experience when in the public sphere. There are so many here who are filled with hateful vitriol and for what? It's silly really. Your reactions (those not in support of this measure) are childish at best. Clearly your interest in the common good needs a little work. That's all I am saying on the matter any further.

Justin Falken
Justin Falken

It's the pigs being themselves. Totally be a total fucker as usual.

dhillmsp
dhillmsp

"While e-cigarettes contain fewer chemicals than traditional cigarettes, users still inhale nicotine which has health risks of increased blood pressure and heart rate."

By that reasoning, they'll be after my Diet Coke next.  Caffeine, anyone?

In any case, not all vapers use nicotine.  I'm sure the majority, perhaps even the vast majority, do, as most use it as a cessation aid, like I do, or simply as a substitute. There is, however, no requirement that someone using an e-cigarette actually take in nicotine. I can order 0mg refills for my e-cig right now.

"
E-cigarettes are currently unregulated products, leaving a great deal unknown about not only the health risks, but also about product manufacturing and safety."

Actually, the FDA will be releasing regulations in October for review - it'll take 12 to 18 months after that.  Why not wait until, you know, _scientists_ have had a good crack at figuring this one out before you go taking a stand?

"
There isn't sufficient scientific research that definitively concludes electronic cigarettes are effective tools to quit smoking."

You're right. There isn't. There also isn't any concluding they aren't.  So why are you jumping the gun before some real studies have been done? And since when is the electronic cigarette's only purpose to quit smoking?  Not everyone who uses them did or does smoke.

"
E-cigarettes are new and potentially less harmful than traditional cigarettes, but they still achieve big tobacco's goal of hooking consumers on nicotine in order to turn a profit."

Um..."big tobacco" (the RJR's, Philip Morrises and Altrias of the world) is just getting into this segment of the industry, if you follow news on the topic.  So right now, I'm pretty sure you're just talking about the farmers in the Southeast and mid-Atlantic states who have been pummeled for years by the push for a smoke-free world.  Not that tobacco is the only way to get nicotine...and not that all vapers use nicotine...but I digress.  You've decided to trot out the Boogie Man and nothing is seemingly going to stop you.

"
Like traditional cigarettes, e-cigarettes should be banned in public spaces."

This strikes me as a staggering leap of logic. I guess it's because you decided to trot out the Boogie Man. You cannot definitively prove a single death, much less ill health effect, from primary exposure, much less secondary - you certainly don't mention one in your letter - and yet you jump to immediately ban.

"There isn't enough information to ensure there aren't public health risks..."

By this reasoning, I expect to see your letter suggesting the reinstitution of prohibition in the near future. Good luck with that - it worked so well the first time.

*sigh*  It's maneuvers like these that remind me that while I am proud to call myself a liberal, there's a big space to the left of me that makes me want to crawl under a rock because they give me a bad name.

Jeanne Griffin
Jeanne Griffin

The amount of uneducated naysayers is making my brain hurt.

SmokeyBear
SmokeyBear

BUT, BUT, BUT, RESEARCH SAYS THEY'RE PERFECTLY SAFE.... AND IF RESEARCH ON THE INTERNET SAYS THEY'RE SAFE, IT HAS TO BE TRUE. PERIOD. 


Never mind nobody is trying to ban or outlaw them, they're simply being prohibited in public spaces, much like cigarettes. If you need nicotine, via tobacco or vapor, you cannot suck it up in public buildings, even if you believe the vapor is harmless. I've sat with a "vaper," the exhaled crap may not linger in the air, it may not cling to my clothes, but it stinks. I watched a dude exhale it to the side of his table at a bar and the cloud floated to the next table. I don't want to sit at a table in a bar and have your exhaled vapor floating in front of my eyes, even if it dissipates with no noticeable effect. 


I fully support restricting their use just the same as cigarettes. Vape all you want in your home, garage, backyard, car or while walking down the sidewalk. Don't expect the rest of us to have to put up with your use of them in an enclosed space.

Jeffrey Stager
Jeffrey Stager

There's dangerous dihydrogen monoxyde in those things!

Daniel Maurer
Daniel Maurer

Ridiculous. If every smoker switched to e-cigs we'd save thousands of lives and millions in healthcare costs. Nicotine by itself is no worse than caffeine. This is proven science.

CinBlueland
CinBlueland topcommenter

What? How does this have any influence on the LBGT community as a whole?

I'll leave the snarky comments to others.

mattzuke
mattzuke

@DaveTheDopeFiend 

The whole dope thing is a bit of a canard.  There are claims you can put anything in an e-cigarette, and I try to explain they're freaking useless on anything you need a blow torch for as they only reach at best the boiling point of water.  

From my limited understanding, you have to go through inordinate bother and effort extracting THC oil in order to put into an nicotine vaporizer, even then, it's highly impractical.  You might as well make brownies.  Dispensaries have the equipment and have special units expressly for that purpose, which are reserved for people with chronic disease such as stage 4 cancer.  

mattzuke
mattzuke

@Tasha Rose Because you can't morally resolve what serves the public good.  

What's being promoted here is prohibition, and prohibition has NEVER been a solid health policy.  Just look at, well, prohibition.  More alcohol was consumed with prohibition, and there was no regard to age restrictions, quality control, and tons of other drugs were offered.  So while an alcohol free state would be healthier, prohibiting it made the problem worse.  Harm reduction was accepted, regulating alcohol, putting restrictions on age and distribution.  

The same applies to safe sex.  Abstinence for teens would be no doubt healthier, but telling teens to not have sex doesn't result in less teen sex.  It just results in more pregnancies for the breeders, and more STDs all around.  Harm reduction is accepted.  Condoms are given out like hot cakes and kids are told exactly how to use them.  This saves lives.  

The tobacco prohibitionist philosophy is an identical case.  The past 12 years have represented no increase in cessation, no statistical change in the smoking rate, which it's important to note that roughly 1% of smokers die each year.  For every corpse two teens take their place, which 50% continue smoking until death.  Harm reduction should be accepted as prohibition failed.  This means discouraging smokers from relapsing to cigarettes.  If they relapse to an NRP, smokeless tobacco, or an e-cigarette this is a net win.  If you want to harp on them about quitting nicotine, you could, or focus on other smokers who are really in danger of getting cancer.  

And I'm hardly childish for pointing out the pragmatic reality of the situation.  Heroin users get clean needles to prevent the spread of AIDS, and they get methadone to mitigate a heroin addiction.  Yet smokers are somehow expected to quit or die?  Something is wrong with this picture.


mingtran
mingtran topcommenter

Obviously your "public good" is perverted. You are fascist swine.

mattzuke
mattzuke

@dhillmsp 
"
I can order 0mg refills for my e-cig right now."

I have a big jug of vegetable glycerin.  Not only is it tasty in espresso, but it make a fine base for e-cigarettes at 70%.  Just at 15% water and 15% flavoring such as Lorann oils, Capella, Flavor Art, Perfumer's Apprentice, others, and go to town.

It's like $14/quart on amazon.com.  That should cover a heavy user for 1.68 years :D

SmokeyBear
SmokeyBear

@Jeanne Griffin my head hurts from the uneducated supporters even more.

mattzuke
mattzuke

@Jim Creston Poet 

Lies, lies, and more lies.  The formaldehyde tested actually came from the user, as in your natural biological process.  Humans produce formaldehyde, we exhale a modest amount, and excrete the rest.  I don't see a ban on breathing any time soon.  Everything else is found in the Nicotrol Inhaler, at higher quantities.  

In objective terms e-cigarettes fall into HMIS 1 guidelines, this would include the nicotine which has been in use in a spray at 40% concentration for over 200 years.  In perspective this poses less of a health impact than burning a paraffin candle or using a Glade Plugin, both HMIS 2, moderate health risk, both produce tons more vapor.

 

kristinnm
kristinnm

@Jim Creston Poet I actually read the study this article mentions (and the opinion of experts who reviewed it) and the study in no way showed that e-cigarettes are "toxic to secondary smokers." The headline is a lie. It didn't even show that e-cigarettes are toxic to actual users! The dose makes the poison and the "dose" of the chemicals they found weren't anywhere near enough to be toxic. In fact, one scientific reviewer noted that the amount of "formaldehyde" the study detected is similar to that found in an average human's own breath! And stating that the "study showed that these ultrafine liquid particles of less than 2.5 micrometer in diameter may penetrate deeply into the lungs" is meaningless. They give no evidence that the "deep penetration of the lungs" by this mist is even a health hazard. It's a non-toxic mist, so what does it matter if it "penetrates deeply?" Pure scaremongering.

mattzuke
mattzuke

@SmokeyBear 

"I've sat with a "vaper," the exhaled crap may not linger in the air, it may not cling to my clothes, but it stinks."

That's another lie.  There is virtually no odor with a few exceptions, that would be watermelon  blueberry, and pomegranate.  They're among the most pungent.  Now which would you rather smell, someone who has been smoking outside or blueberry?  

And before you wig out, blueberry sodas are allowed indoors, and Grape Nehi smells more than an e-cigarette.  

"I watched a dude exhale it to the side of his table at a bar and the cloud floated to the next table. I don't want to sit at a table in a bar and have your exhaled vapor floating in front of my eyes, even if it dissipates with no noticeable effect. "

Oddly enough here in Tacoma they're expressly allowed in bars at the property owner's discretion.  Oddly enough one bar that didn't allow them indoors allowed smoking next to the doors and a big ass fog machine.

The fact of the matter is a human is going to spew roughly 4000+ chemicals out their mouth breathing.  It's unlikely you're Monkish about this.  At present e-cigarettes don't fall under any clean indoor air act because they have no impact on air quality.  It's up to the property owners discretion.  The advantage to allowing it indoors is it encourages smokers to not smoke ourdoors, which is fantastic for people with asthma.   It's the same base as in inhalers, and they have been observed to be tolerated even when the vaper count reaches over 1000 over having to deal with smokers outside.  Somehow I don't think you're more important than someone with a chronic health condition who risks death thanks to second hand smoke, do you?

mattzuke
mattzuke

@SmokeyBear 
"
RESEARCH SAYS THEY'RE PERFECTLY SAFE"

This is a strawman argument.  NOTHING is perfectly safe, not even water.  Water is toxic at a certain dose, and there are deaths attributed to drinking too much.  However it's well established that e-cigarettes pose no risk to bystanders, no more than anything else expressly allowed.  Hairspray is more toxic, candles are more toxic, bug spray is more toxic.  

"
 If you need nicotine, via tobacco or vapor, you cannot suck it up in public buildings"

The EPA allows nicotine to be sprayed anywhere without license or restriction at 40% concentration.  You're telling me you wouldn't allow a sub 2% concentration used at a rate of a tablespoon a day, knowing full well that even cigarettes with sidestream smoke would only expose a bystander to as much nicotine as in an egg plant?  

Let's try something else, nicotine sprays and the inhaler are FDA approved, and they're allowed.  They tell you point blank for the spray to shot it away from you first so you are sure to get the full load in your mouth.  I'm sorry but that's just crazy to allow MORE nicotine to bystanders, but not less. 


"
Never mind nobody is trying to ban or outlaw them"

This would be a lie.  There was a big court case ruled over by Judge Leon which was a defacto ban.  

digitalprotocol
digitalprotocol topcommenter

@Daniel Maurer but the metal particulates....

mattzuke
mattzuke

@digitalprotocol Which are found in the nicotrol inhaler, which is deemed to be safe by the FDA at those levels.  

I can tell you there's 5000 nanograms of formaldehyde in a vaccine.  This might cause you to be scared, until you find out there's 50,000 in a pear, and even more in your body at a given time.


mingtran
mingtran topcommenter

...which are also found in many "organic" fruits and vegetables

Now Trending

From the Vault

 

Loading...