As a practicing physician, and as a former small business owner of a vapor shop, Dr Robert Cranfield may have a unique perspective on the issues facing long-term smokers, as well as some misinformation and regulations facing the rapidly growing vaping industry. Here, he shares his thoughts on this at times, controversial topic.
In 2014, I opened the Smoke & Mirrors Vapor House in Murfreesboro after first being introduced to vapor products by my patients when talking to them about less harmful alternatives to smoking cigarettes.
Although I no longer operate the shop, I continue to support the vaping community, while serving full-time as the Medical Director for a large national chain of Urgent Care Centers in Nashville and surrounding communities.
As a physician, we are always looking for ways to help more of our patients live a healthier lifestyle. That means we regularly share with them the dangers of tobacco products and encourage ways to help them stop smoking.
Science shows that vapor products can be a much safer alternative to cigarettes, and a new and powerful tool to help smokers cut down their tobacco use or to quit altogether.
Vaping does not involve burning and it does not contain tobacco. No burning means no smoke. Because there is no smoke, vaping—or e-cigarette usage— also doesn’t produce the most lethal chemicals found in cigarette smoke. Instead, vaping heats a liquid, turning it into a vapor. This liquid often includes nicotine—which is why smokers turn to vapor products as a replacement to traditional cigarettes.
In 2017, the Tennessee Department of Health released study showing that adult e-cigarettes users in Tennessee are 3.7 times more likely to report trying to quit smoking than non-e- cigarette users.
Moreover, in the United Kingdom, medical professionals are now proactively calling on smokers to switch to vaping because of the significant harm reduction to their health. Earlier this year Public Health England (PHE) released an independent study showing the use of vapor products is 95 percent less harmful than smoking traditional tobacco.
The same study also showed vaping could potentially help 20,000 tobacco users in the UK successfully quit smoking each year. Not only does that mean 20,000 fewer people inhaling the toxic mix of tar, carcinogenic chemicals, and carbon dioxide, but it also means they are no longer subjecting family, friends and pets to second-hand smoke from tobacco.
But even with this news, there continued to be skeptics, so when the PHE discovered that many people still believed vaping to be just as harmful as traditional cigarette use, the health agencies went to work to correct the misinformation – not perpetuate it.
The United States should also be working toward sharing this public health information. Instead, some poorly conducted studies have been published and promoted to demonize vaping, which in turn has created misguided attempts by some legislators and regulators to treat vaping like other tobacco products.
As a physician who has practiced for 38 years, we should be providing Tennessee smokers with more information about innovative products that can help them quit smoking. We need to get the facts out about vaping versus cigarettes. All of us want Tennessee to be a healthier place to live. This should be something we can all support.
Dr. Robert Cranfield is Medical Director for a large national chain of Urgent Care Centers in Nashville, and the former owner of Smoke and Mirrors Vape Shop in Murfreesboro.