Big Pharm Funding Anti-E-Cigarette Campaigners
A coalition of public health campaigners are asking the FDA to remove the Electronic Cigarette from US shop shelves.
They all have one thing in common - funding from the big drug companies whose nicotine replacement therapies, with their side effects and low success rates, are under threat from the new drug.
Senator Lautenberg, who wrote to the FDA demanding that the device be removed from shelves, received $126,000 in funding from the pharmecutical companies during his election campaign.
And members of an anti e-smoking coalition who have issued a press release in support of the senator have also received millions in funds from the pharmecutical industry, much of it from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, a foundation with shares in Johnson and Johnson worth over 700 million dollars.
The money was originally paid to the organisations such as the American Lung Association to lobby against smoking and smokers and for a smoking ban, and it is not clear if there is also pressure to lobby against the electronic cigarette.
What is clear is that the industry is watching the electronic cigarette closely, with a section in one industry report entitled: E-Cigarettes Will Revolutionise the Face of Tobacco Smoking and Could Pose a Threat to the Smoking Cessation Market.
As most attempts to quit using cessation aids fail - according to Michael Siegel, proffessor of professor in the Social and Behavioral Sciences Department, Boston University School of Public Health, the success rate is less than ten percent - the $3 billion market in cessation aids is vulnerable to new and safer smoking alternatives.
And with those who claim to care about smokers' health lobbying against a safer alternative to a habit that kills 1 in 2 of long term smokers, the motivation of public health campaigners is bound to fall under suspicion.