Utah Politician Slammed For Claiming E-Cigarettes Cause Cancer

T-shirts on display at the Vape Summit 3 in Las Vegas, Nevada May 2, 2015. New research provided to Reuters has found that performing tricks is one of the top two reasons young users say they consider the devices cool.   REUTERS/David Becker - RTX1BACL

A Utah Statehouse representative is under fire for claiming e-cigarettes are just as dangerous as regular cigarettes and that vapers face the same debilitating cancers as smokers.

A long-standing opponent of e-cigarettes, Republican Rep. Paul Ray of Clearfield,  is advocating an 86 percent tax increase on e-cigarettes, in the hope of deterring young people from vaping. (RELATED: Children Bused In To Lobby Capitol For 86 Percent E-Cigarette Tax)

He does give credit to smokers who have switched to vaping and assures them e-cigarettes will still be cheaper than regular smokes. H said he sees no contradiction between being a low-tax Republican and advocating a massive tax increase.

As well as being a Republican, Ray told The Daily Caller News Foundation he is also a father and has a responsibility to the health of children. He argues that smokers should pay for the costs of their own healthcare and taxes such as the one he is proposing, go some way to solving that problem.

Ray disregarded the fact that vapers have as yet not come down with any of the illnesses related to smoking.

“Vapers will have lung cancer and a whole lot of other things because they’re puffing formaldehyde,” Ray said. “Formaldehyde is five to 15 times more likely to cause cancer than a cigarette. In five to 10 years from now you guys are gonna be turning around trying to sue these companies because of the health issues.”

Ray’s views on the risks of e-cigarettes are way outside the medical mainstream, saying he “absolutely” believes e-cigarettes are just as dangerous as their tobacco-filled rivals.

In August 2015, Public Health England released a report concluding that e-cigarettes are 95 percent safer than e-cigarettes. Ray’s comments inflamed vaping groups.

“Over the last decade, there have been hundreds of scientific studies performed by the world’s foremost experts on tobacco control showing little to no risk of long-term harm clearly demonstrating no risk of cancer or any other serious harms when used as designed,” said Aaron Frazier, director of The Utah Smoke-Free Association.

“Representative Ray has been provided with copies of many of these over the last 5 years yet he fully dismisses every fact. He instead chooses to create moral panic and spread rhetoric to his constituents and the public. If you have influence over others, as with health agencies and most importantly elected officials, then being wrong becomes being harmful to the health of our citizenry,” he added.

“We encourage Representative Ray to open his eyes and mind to the scientific facts. There are a billion lives at stake in getting this right and we choose to stand with them fighting rather than regulating.”

President of the American Vaping Association Gregory Conley was just as scornful. “This claim is about as fanciful and unsubstantiated as others made by the sponsor in the half-decade that he has spent demonizing vapor products,” Conley told The Daily Caller New Foundation.

“There are ex-smokers in the United States who have been using vapor products for nearly ten years with no major side effects being reported. We remain hopeful that Utah legislators will listen to the science instead of allowing ideology and wild predictions to obscure their voting decisions.”

Ray’s claims about the harms of e-cigarettes are so extreme that they could, in fact, be harming public health, according to Jeff Stier, head of the risk analysis division at the National Center for Public Policy Research.

“As an elected official assemblyman Ray should recognize he has a responsibility to speak accurately to the public. His comments, which are both unscientific and inaccurate, are reckless and will undermine public health by causing people not to make the effort to switch,” said Stier.


mayo clinic e cigarettes mitigate risks of smoking before and after operations

E-Cigarettes slashed smokers’ tobacco use both before and after elective surgery, according to a study from the Mayo clinic.

Regular cigarette smoking can often cause post-operative complications in smokers, and health professionals have long argued that “quitting or cutting down” smoking close to the time of operation can lessen these risks.

In hopes of achieving this, researchers examined adult smokers that were scheduled for operations at the Mayo Clinic Rochester, one of the nation’s leading medical practices and research groups, between December 2014 and June 2015.

In the two weeks before and after surgery, patients were asked to use e-cigarettes to get their nicotine hit instead of regular smokes. All the patients had their use of e-cigarettes recorded on a daily basis and were quizzed about their smoking behavior at 14 and 30 days.

Of the 75 patients who took part in the study, 87 percent tried an e-cigarette over the trial period. After 30 days, a little more than half — 51 percent — said they would continue vaping.

The average number of cigarettes consumed fell sharply from 15.6 per person to 7.6 — a 51.3 percent decrease. “ENDS (Electronic Nicotine Delivery Device) use is feasible in adult smokers scheduled for elective surgery and is associated with a reduction in perioperative cigarette consumption.”
“These results support further exploration of ENDS as a means to help surgical patients reduce or eliminate their cigarette consumption around the time of surgery,” the study said.

“These pilot data suggest that ENDS use is feasible and well-accepted in surgical patients, and worthy of exploration as a harm reduction strategy in these patients. The major finding of this feasibility study was that when cigarette smokers scheduled for elective surgery were offered free ENDS at the time of pre-anesthesia evaluation, a high proportion utilized them in the perioperative period, with an associated reduction in cigarette consumption.”

The study will add weight to the arguments made by some public health professionals that e-cigarettes, while not 100 percent safe, can serve as a critical tool to reduce the harms and hazards associated with regular smoking, particularly after Public Health England’s report concluded e-cigarettes are 95 percent safer than regular cigarettes. (RELATED: Study: E-Cigarettes Are 95% Safer Than Tobacco)
The study’s authors caution more work needs to be done in the field, adding “to our knowledge, there are no prior comparable studies reporting uptake of ENDS when their use is encouraged by healthcare professionals in a medical population.”