According to the Centers for Disease Control, during 2000-2004, "An estimated 443,000 persons in the United States died prematurely each year from smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke. During 2001-2004, the average annual smoking-attributable health-care expenditures nationwide were approximately $96 billion. When combined with productivity losses of $97 billion, the total economic burden of smoking is approximately $193 billion per year."
Comparing the health risks of tobacco smoking to the Swine Flu brings out some interesting and thought provoking statistics. According to President Obama's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology on H1N1, "A plausible scenario is that the epidemic could cause between 30,000 and 90,000 deaths in the United States." That puts the comparison of real deaths of 443,000 smokers to a "war games guess" of 30,000 to 90,000 for the H1N1 influenza for which the government recently declared a Health Emergency. That declaration and the shortage of the H1N1 vaccine has caused a panic in the U.S.
No study or statistic has been offered that points to the Swine Flu as being more deadly than tobacco cigarettes in causing death, yet a disproportional effort in preventative measures are currently being channeled to defend against a lower risk health issue. Toxic tobacco smoke contains many additional chemicals, including carbon monoxide and tar which is a sticky substance that accumulates in the lungs, causing lung cancer and respiratory distress. Tobacco is the leading cause of preventable death in the world and is responsible for more than 5 million deaths each year.
What the flu vaccine is to H1N1 as a preventative, the electronic cigarette may be for the tobacco smoker. An electronic cigarette is a futuristic advancement in science that makes it look, feel, and taste like a tobacco cigarette, as the user duplicates the mechanical motions. It expels an almost odorless water vapor that looks like smoke, but isn't. The e cigarettes are battery-powered with a cartridge that typically contains nicotine in various levels (or none), propylene glycol and tobacco flavoring. In their October briefing, Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) in the United Kingdom released a favorable position on electronic cigarettes.