SOURCE: GreenNicotine

September 16, 2010 12:40 ET

New Military Bans on E-Cigarettes Ricochet Back on Service Members, According to GreenNicotine

E-Cigs Now Prohibited in Most Air Force Facilities While the Sale of Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Continues

TUCSON, AZ--(Marketwire - September 16, 2010) -  GreenNicotine, a Tucson-based maker of high-quality e-cigarettes, is addressing a recent memo from the Air Force Surgeon General on e-cigarettes. The memo uses information which draws certain conclusions from an FDA report to raise health concerns and ban their use on bases. The Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Arizona has now cited the memo to have GreenNicotine e-cigarette products removed from the base, for example. Yet this same Air Force policy leaves cigarettes and other tobacco products available for sale on bases. And these developments are not limited to the Air Force: Stars and Stripes magazine writes that "leaders at Marine Corps Base Quantico banned (e-cigarettes) in their facilities."

"These developments really make no sense to me," states Sean Schoepflin, CEO and Founder of GreenNicotine. "If the military wants to rely on the FDA analysis to classify e-cigarettes as a tobacco product, so be it. But then why would the military have them removed from bases while letting real tobacco products remain? That is illogical to me, even negligent. Still, GreenNicotine wants to work with the FDA to keep safe e-cigarettes available."

The FDA report in question is actually a "preliminary analysis" issued on May 4, 2009. It tested only two brands of e-cigarettes and found potentially harmful substances -- but only at levels comparable to those found in nicotine gum and patches approved as smoking cessation aids. The FDA report itself states that because of "variability among products, this analysis should not be used to draw conclusions about what substances are or are not present in particular cigarettes." And in a technical memorandum issued on July 30, 2009, respected scientific consulting firm Exponent, Inc. cited flaws in the FDA analysis and concluded that it did not support conclusive claims of adverse health effects from electronic cigarettes.

Yet, in the memo dated August 17, 2010, Air Force Surgeon General Lt. Gen. Charles B. Green cites the FDA report to "alert all Airmen about the safety concerns regarding a new type of tobacco product." Lt. Gen. Green then concludes that "due to the nature, appearance and safety concerns of electronic cigarettes" they will henceforth "be in the same category" as tobacco products. E-cigarettes are in fact not new but have been in existence since at least 2004.

According to the U.S. Surgeon General, cigarette smoking causes approximately 450,000 premature deaths and $193 billion in direct health-care expenditures and lost productivity in the U.S. annually. Cigarettes contain thousands of chemicals, including dozens of known carcinogens. Meanwhile, The American Association of Public Health Physicians states that their organization has become "a major advocate for the widespread use of electronic cigarettes," citing their relative safety compared to cigarettes, including the fact that they produce no second hand smoke.

"GreenNicotine has worked diligently for years to create and provide people with the highest quality e-cigarette, free of contaminants," states GreenNicotine's Schoepflin. "We are the only company to use antibacterial tips, for example, and our products contain no tar or known carcinogens. We do not produce 'flavored' products and avoid selling to non-smokers. We even cost less than a third of what people pay for cigarettes. Yet we still get banned by the military -- in favor of cigarettes."

In fact, Dr. Michael Siegel, a professor at the Boston University School of Public Health, was quoted in a September 1, 2010 Associated Press article that "It's kind of deceptive to say, 'Oh, my God, there's carcinogens in there.' The importance is what level of carcinogens. It turns out that the levels are so low that they are 1,400 times lower than in (regular) cigarettes."

And on the Stars and Stripes web site following their article on the banning of e-cigarettes, a writer identified as "drewsiff" posted the following statement on September 6, 2010, one of many such posts in favor of e-cigarettes: "The 'harmful toxic chemical' they are referring to is propylene glycol, which is in fact found in antifreeze, is a food grade ingredient. It's also found in the flavoring for SNOW CONES!! Food grade, which means it is SAFE for the body to consume... So, I cannot agree with the military's decision to ban these devices from the workplace. Furthermore, cigarettes are 300 times more deadly than their electronic counterparts, and yet they are still being sold in hundreds of PX's worldwide. If you ask me, I think the tobacco industry has definitely got the military 'by the lungs...'"

"Where this whole debate on e-cigarettes goes is anyone's guess at this point," states Schoepflin, "but I know a couple of things for sure: cigarettes are killing millions of Americans and e-cigarettes offer a far, far better alternative. I hold out hope that the FDA is sincere in wanting to work with companies committed to keeping safe e-cigarettes available."

Green Nicotine products are available across the country, including online at The company offers discounts to military personnel.

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