This is my open letter to Dr Sahar Halabi of Chicago Illinois in response to the following statement she made recently with the American Lung Association (ALA).
Hello Dr Halabi.
I am writing you today because of a news article I read quoting you on the harm of electronic cigarettes. I thought you might be interested to know that I am a former smoker of 3-packs a day, and I used e-cigs to help quit almost 3 years ago. As a pulmonary physician, I’m sure you can realize the benefit of me no longer smoking that many traditional tobacco cigarettes. Since quitting, I have noticed increased respiratory health, in that I am not wheezing all the time, my seasonal allergies have subsided and I havent been sick in 2 years.
I sincerely believe your statement misrepresents the benefit-risk profile of electronic cigarette use. In your statement, you are telling all smokers that the risks of trying e-cigarettes outweighs the potential benefits. But this is not at all consistent with the actual science. The science unequivocally demonstrates that there are tremendous medical benefits to patients who are able to quit or cut down substantially on smoking tobacco cigarettes using e-cigarettes. And there is essentially no harm in allowing these patients to try to quit using e-cigarettes because smokers who use e-cigarettes are precisely those who believe they are unable to quit using any other methods.
I was one of them and as a business owner, I see hundreds of people each month who have been successful quitting smoking using e-cigarettes after failing in every other attempt. Many of my customers, once getting off traditional tobacco cigarettes actually lower their nicotine as well. I personally started with 24mg and now I vape 0-3mg. This rings true to just about everyone I have met throughout this industry.
I know you are trying to be responsible and you have your own beliefs, but as a physician, I strongly feel that your statements in this article are a complete distortion of the risk-benefit ratio for the individual patient, and it therefore constitutes negligent medical advice. I encourage you to do more of your own research and discover the actual truth that e-cigarettes could actually save lives.
We are not saying vaping and e-cigarettes are 100% safe, but they are better than smoking in every single way. We can both agree, we know without a shadow of a doubt that smoking cigarettes kills. I also agree that there needs to be more research on e-cigarettes, but right now, let’s get people to quit smoking. Let’s save a life, like e-cigs have saved mine.
I would be happy to further this conversation over the phone or skype if you’re interested.