Tampa hospital allows use of electronic cigarettes

As special interest groups and politicians continue to make weak claims against the electric cigarette, another hospital in Tampa, Florida made the decision last week to allow the use of electronic cigarettes within their facility. Smoking is a recreational privilege that while banned in most public places, can be done with the alternative E-cigarette without offending others. This new invention allows the smoker to get their nicotine fix just like the coffee or soda drinkers get their caffeine fix. The benefits to management comes in the form of increased productivity in the workplace since the employees do not have to waste time traveling to designated smoking places; they no longer smell like a smoker and their employees health is not adversely affected by tobacco smoke. This translates into a big plus for the company bottom line in rough economic times.

Last July, the FDA issued a warning regarding the electric cigarette and it appears the public and medical industry just aren't buying the story at a time when the public distrusts the government more than at any other time in history. On the heels of that announcement, Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) in the United Kingdom released a favorable position on E-cigarettes stating; "E-cigarettes, which deliver nicotine without the harmful toxins found in tobacco smoke, are likely to be a safer alternative to smoking. In addition, E-cigarettes reduce secondhand smoke exposure since they do not produce smoke."

Prominent doctors and tobacco researchers, including Dr. Michael Siegel at the Boston University School of Public Health, Dr. Joel Nitzkin of the AAPHP Tobacco Control Task Force, and Dr. Brad Rodu, Endowed Chair, Tobacco Harm Reduction Research University of Louisville continue to publish the scientific benefits of the e-cigarettes that counter the misleading information regarding their safety.

A report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finds that one-fifth of Americans -- about 46 million -- are still smoking. That number actually increased slightly from 2007 to 2008. The report appears in the Nov. 13 edition of the CDC's Morbidity and Morality Weekly Report. Currently it is estimated that 1 in 40 smokers are now using the e-cigarette as an alternative and the trend is growing at a phenomenal speed. One brand of e-cigarette that was offered to the hospital during the review process was from the Texas retail and wholesale e-cigarette distributor No7ecigarettes.com.

The real opposition to E-cigarettes may be due to political fears from the loss of a portion of billions of dollars in tax revenue that tobacco cigarettes generate which can't be justified against the E-cigarette. Tobacco cigarettes are heavily taxed under the guise of reimbursing the medical expense of treating smokers. As little as 3% of the money is actually used for that purpose while the rest is spent on projects considered to be more vital. Since E-cigarettes have not been proven to cause the type of health issues created by tobacco, they can only be taxed like any other consumer product.


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