CDC director explains what he hates about electronic cigarettes
All the threats to Americans’ health -- a list that includes bird flu, measles and West Nile virus -- few get Dr. Tom Frieden as riled up as electronic cigarettes.
As director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Frieden has a ready-made platform for spreading his views about the dangers of vaping. During a visit to the Los Angeles Times on Monday, we asked him why he is so passionate about e-cigarettes.
Electronic cigarettes can encourage young people to start smoking regular cigarettes, and they may make it more difficult for smokers to quit, says CDC Director Tom Frieden.
Electronic cigarettes can encourage young people to start smoking regular cigarettes, and they may make it more difficult for smokers to quit, says CDC Director Tom Frieden. (Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
“I’ve treated so many adults who are desperate -- desperate -- to get off tobacco. They all started as kids,” Frieden said. “I see the industry getting another generation of our kids addicted. To me, as a physician, when 1.78 million of our high school kids have tried an e-cigarette and a lot of them are using them regularly … that’s like watching someone harm hundreds of thousands of children.”
In addition, he said, “people have a misconception that the tobacco epidemic is a thing of the past. Tobacco still kills more Americans than any other cause. It still kills more than 1,000 people a day. As a doctor, I can tell you it kills them in really unpleasant ways -- gasping for breath with emphysema, with cancer, with heart disease.”