Updated: Dec 3, 2019
The Truth Initiative who have been strong campaigners against the use of e-cigarettes and vaping, released a white paper they had commissioned on the harmful effects of nicotine about a month ago. The white paper actually touted the potential benefits and harm reduction which is a complete contradiction of their public policy. In a swift move by the Truth Initiative, it was taken down moments later after people on Twitter noticed the hypocrisy. One of those users was Edward Hubert, who publicly called out @truthinitiative's tweet moments later.
@TruthInitiative: "Beating a nicotine addiction and giving up e-cigarettes is tough, as this video clearly shows. That's why we created our own text-based program to help people quit. (link: https://truthinitiative.org/quitecigarettes)"
@EdwardHubert4: "Wait is this your article, where you clearly state the little harm that nicotine has on the body?"
The link that The Truth Initiative had posted has since been removed. However not before people across the internet had made copies of the blunder. A summary of the article is below:
Re-thinking nicotine and its effects By Raymond S. Niaura - Director, Science and Training
Nicotine removed from tobacco smoke is not as harmful as was once thought, a recent Truth Initiative white paper reminds us. Nicotine by itself does not cause cancer. While it may contribute to heart disease and other health problems, nicotine is certainly much less harmful than tobacco smoke. In fact, nicotine can actually provide some benefits, such as improving attention and memory.
“We need to rethink nicotine and its effects,” said Raymond Niaura, director of Science and Training at Truth Initiative’s Schroeder Institute, and author of the article. “Although nicotine is addictive, its impact varies greatly depending on the product.” The most addictive form of nicotine is inhaled in tobacco smoke. In contrast, nicotine replacement therapies that help smokers quit, such as nicotine gum and the patch, do not pose a significant risk of abuse. New nicotine products—such as electronic cigarettes—likely fall somewhere in the middle, Niaura explains.
Given the devastating health consequences of smoking, Niaura argues policymakers should continue to encourage youth to abstain from tobacco and nicotine. At the same time, they should encourage adult smokers who cannot or will not quit tobacco to move to less harmful products. He notes that the FDA has found Swedish snus smokeless tobacco to be less harmful than other tobacco products. Early studies suggest electronic cigarettes also have fewer toxic effects than traditional cigarettes.
“The worst thing about nicotine is that it drives people to smoke.” said Niaura. “If we can move smokers to less harmful nicotine products, we can save thousands of lives.”
This isn't the end of it either. Those fighting current vaping propaganda, also took it up to Truth Initiative who claim to be "Speaking, seeking and spreading the truth about tobacco through education, tobacco control research and policy studies, and community activism and engagement." "There are many contradictions between the public rhetoric of the Truth Initiative and the evidence presented in this report. Please take a moment and read the report, and learn from their own science how they are manipulating the data. Then, decide for yourself where you stand on the so-called “worst public health crisis of our decade.” - The Arizona Smoke Free Association. Most of the physiological harm attributable to cigarette smoking derives from the toxicants in tobacco and combustion products. Preventable morbidity and mortality has overwhelmingly been related to combusted tobacco smoking, not to nicotine itself. Decoupled from combustion or other toxic modes of delivery, nicotine, by itself, is much less harmful. Nicotine is not known to cause cancer. Epidemiological evidence in human populations does not support the basic science concern from laboratory studies that nicotine promotes some cancer pathway activation. There is no evidence that nicotine, by itself, is a carcinogen. More research is required to demonstrate if, and to what degree, there may be a concern about nicotine’s role as a cancer promoter. At very high doses, higher than those experienced by the vast majority of nicotine and tobacco product users, nicotine can cause serious acute toxicity.
Nicotine use causes neuroadaptive changes in the adult brain that may contribute to the risk of developing dependence, but many of these changes are largely reversible and not known to be harmful. Some animal model studies show that nicotine exposure in adolescence can induce neuroadaptive changes that persist into the adulthood of the animal. While animal models suggest possible concerns for humans, more research is required to demonstrate if, and at what dosage and duration of exposure, nicotine might have possible adverse effects during adolescent and young adult brain development. Nicotine is used for a number of reasons. In human studies, acute administration of nicotine can have positive effects on cognitive processes, such as improving attention, fine motor coordination, concentration, memory, speed of information processing, and alleviation of boredom or drowsiness. Some nicotine users benefit from self-medication effects for alleviation of stress, anxiety, depression, and other mental health and medical conditions, including schizophrenia and Parkinson’s Disease. Nicotine also reverses cognitive deficits caused by withdrawal. It is not clear if chronic use of nicotine enhances cognitive function. "The report was made available to ASFA staff, that was originally put together by Raymond Niaura, PhD, Director of Science and Training at the Steve A Schroeder National Institute for Tobacco Research and Policy Studies at Truth Initiative. For those who aren't familiar, Truth Initiative has been one of the largest opponents of vaping, and are a well funded NGO with a mission to “inspire tobacco-free lives”.
If there's a few lessons to be learnt here, it's that there is a serious propaganda war on vaping and it is only gaining momentum. This willingness to extrapolate data and use it incorrectly and out of context, is a major reason why countries and lawmakers are becoming more stricter on the use and sales of e-cigarettes. At the very least it sways public opinion away from the truth, which is that e-cigs and vapes have and will continue to help save lives. It aids people in giving up conventional cigarette smoking, which is costing the planet so much in public spending, human life and unnecessary waste.