Interview with Elaine Keller (CASAA)

CASAA SealI received this interview transcript from a media marketing company representing Totally Wicked and thought it was interesting and share it here. The opinions expressed aren’t necessarily mine, and obviously they are a bit US-centric (hence the continual misspelling of vapour and overuse of the letter z … ;) ) , but it’s an interesting read all the same!

I’ve not reformatted or tinkered with the original text at all, even though my spell-checker was itching……

thv

In this interview with Totally Wicked, Elaine Keller, Vice President of the Consumer Advocates for Smoke-free Alternatives Association(CASAA) explains how she believes electronic nicotine imitation cigarettes have improved her health and proved an “answer to a prayer”.

The opinions expressed in this interview are those solely of Elaine Keller and not the opinions of Totally Wicked or anyone associated with Totally Wicked.

What is casaa?

It stands for the Consumer Advocates for Smoke-free Alternatives Association.  We are a non-profit organization that works to ensure the availability of reduced harm alternatives to smoking and to provide smokers and non-smokers alike with truthful information about such alternatives.

…can be used to save the lives of millions of smokers who cannot or will not stop using nicotine. Nicotine does not cause lung disease, heart disease or cancer.

What is your opinion of the electronic nicotine imitation cigarette (e-cigarette)?

It’s too bad the popular press has stuck the name “electronic cigarette” on the products because of the negative connotations associated with cigarettes.

Many consumers prefer the term “personal vaporizer” or PV, but in my writing I tend to stick to the terminology that the public recognizes. I believe e-cigarettes will prove to be a very important tool in an arsenal of “Smoking Replacement Products” that can be used to save the lives of millions of smokers who cannot or will not stop using nicotine.  Nicotine does not cause lung disease, heart disease or cancer.

There are people who are never going to be able to stop smoking nicotine and there are safer ways than smoking to take nicotine in.

Do you personally think it is less harmful than a “traditional” cigarette?

There is no question.  Traditional cigarettes are burned to produce smoke.  Smoke contains tar, carbon monoxide, particulates, and thousands of chemicals created by the process of combustion.  Since nothing is burned in an e-cigarette, it does not contain any of these elements that cause the lung disease, cardiovascular disease, and cancers associated with smoking.

If e-cigarettes were as harmful as traditional cigarettes, we should see no change in health or a worsening in health among those who switch from smoking to vapor.  Instead, 90% of consumers report that their health has improved.  Dr. Murray Laugesen of Health New Zealand has stated that these are “…very safe relative to cigarettes, and also safe in absolute terms on all measurements we have applied.”

I wouldn’t be surprised if there were at least half a million e-cigarette consumers who have been smoke-free for over a year.

Do you use the smokeless alternative?

Yes, I switched on March 27, 2009, so I have been smoke-free for over a year and a half.  I wouldn’t be surprised if there were at least half a million e-cigarette consumers who have been smoke-free for over a year.

What is your personal opinion as someone who uses them? Do you think they’ve helped you?

Absolutely, I smoked for decades and I tried everything you could imagine to stop but every time I stopped using nicotine I became very ill. For me this[the e-cigarette] is a life safer, it’s an answer to a prayer.

Like a lot of folks who smoked for decades and tried dozens of times to quit without success, using every method imaginable, I see this invention as a life-saver.  I used to be kept awake at night by the sound of my own wheezing.  I used to cough up nasty stuff every morning.  Now, the wheezing is gone and so is the cough.  The best part is that I can laugh out loud without going into a fit of coughing.

Do you feel they should not be demonised in the way they sometimes are?

Very strongly yes, I just don’t understand why more people can’t see what a lifesaver these can be.

Why do you think they do garner some negativity?

Well, I hate to sound like a conspiracy theorist but it does seem that most of the false accusations that they’re aimed at children etc etc are coming from non profit organizations such as The American Heart Association, the American Cancer Society who get very large donations from pharmaceutical companies.

What research into the effects of the e-cigarettes are currently on going in the US?

Virginia Commonwealth University is continuing its research on e-cigarettes.  They have recruited experienced vapers to spend a day in the laboratory using their own equipment and their favorite brand of liquid.  Although the details of what they will be measuring have not been published, I would imagine that they would be looking at how much nicotine makes it into the blood stream and effects on such things as heart rate and blood pressure.

The National Vapers Club is raising money for the IVAQS project.  IVAQS stands for Indoor Vapor Air Quality Study.  A lab that is experienced in researching second-hand smoke will study vapor to determine whether there are any chemicals present that might harm bystanders.

There are also three studies underway at the University of Catania in Italy to determine effects on smoking reduction and abstinence.  They are using a very small nicotine dose in two of the studies:  5.2 mg and 7.2mg.  In the third study they are using zero nicotine cartridges.

The more people see these the more people will use them and the more people who use them the more difficult it’s going to be for people to say ‘these are really dangerous take them off the market’.

They are becoming more popular. In the US a few film stars and David Letterman have been seen trying out the e-cigarette.

Yes and that’s very, very helpful. The more people see these the more people will use them and the more people who use them the more difficult it’s going to be for people to say ‘these are really dangerous take them off the market’. Well, nobody’s been injured by them so as more and more people use them it’s going to be more and more difficult to get rid of them.

What are your feelings on legislation? Should the e-cigarettes be seen as recreational?

Absolutely recreational…they’re not treating nicotine addiction. What they’re doing is being used as a substitute for smoking which is obviously less harmful if you just look at what’s happened with my own health.

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The opinions expressed in this interview are those solely of Elaine Keller and not the opinions of Totally Wicked or anyone associated with Totally Wicked.