NASHVILLE, T.N. – Today, the consumer advocacy and trade group Tennessee Smoke Free Association, joined with the American Vaping Association, a leading advocate for the benefits of vapor products such as electronic cigarettes, to issue a response to a recent advisory about vapor products issued by the Tennessee Department of Health.
In the advisory, the TN Department Of Health Commissioner John Dreyzehner discourages Tennessee’s 1,000,000-plus adult smokers from using vapor products, which have grown in popularity among smokers searching for smarter alternatives. Instead, Dreyzehner recommends that smokers only using FDA-approved cessation products like the nicotine patch and gum.
Dimitris Agrafiotis, Executive Director of the Tennessee Smoke Free Association (TSFA), issued the following statement:
“With Tennessee ranked 46th in the nation in smoking prevalence, we are disappointed that the Department of Health continues to dissuade adult smokers from switching to vaping. The body of scientific evidence on vapor products clearly demonstrates that these products present dramatically reduced risk versus combustible products like cigarettes.
“By inexplicably portraying nicotine as the primary risk factor in smoking — rather than the smoke and tar created by combustion — the Department of Health sends an irresponsible message to the over one million smokers in Tennessee. This deceit not only impacts adult smokers who may be scared away from using e-cigarettes, but also could result in smokers believing that FDA-approved quit methods like the nicotine patch and gum are harmful due to presence of nicotine.
“The TSFA and its member stores are proud to have helped thousands of Tennesseans stop using combustible tobacco products. We urge the Department of Health to review the current body of research and work with us to reduce smoking rates statewide.”
Gregory Conley, President of the American Vaping Association, issued the following statement:
“Tennessee smokers have a right to truthful and accurate information about the relative risks of different tobacco and nicotine products. And the Tennessee Department of Health has the responsibility and obligation to provide it. Regrettably, the agency is refusing to even admit that vaping is a smarter option for adult smokers who cannot or will not quit using traditional means.
“Instead of trying vaping, the Department of Health recommends smokers attempt to quit using nicotine replacement therapy products like the nicotine gum and patch. What advice does the Department of Health have for the over 95% of smokers that fail to succeed with these products? It appears they have no guidance other than, ‘Try again.’
“In the United Kingdom, where public health officials have taken a balanced approach to harm reduction, British smokers have felt comfortable switching to vaping. This has been an enormous public health success, asas quit attempts and quit successes have both steadily risen in the country since vaping took off in early-2013.
“To solve the public health crisis of smoking, it is not necessary that state health authorities explicitly endorse vaping by adult smokers. However, there is no justification for virulently opposing vaping by inveterate adult smokers, as the Department of Health has done and continues to do.”
You can learn more about AVA by visiting the AVA website.
About the American Vaping Association
The American Vaping Association is a nonprofit organization that advocates for fair and sensible regulation of vapor products, otherwise known as electronic cigarettes, with the goal of maximizing the number of adult smokers who use these products to quit smoking. The AVA was founded by Gregory Conley, a consumer and industry advocate with a long track record of advocating for vapor products dating back to 2010.
We are dedicated to educating the public and government officials about public health benefits offered by vapor products, which are battery-powered devices that heat a liquid nicotine or nicotine-free solution and create an inhalable vapor. The AVA is not a trade group and does not speak for any particular businesses, including our industry sponsors.