A close colleague of mine has insinuated to others that my opinions against the prohibition of electronic cigarettes may be motivated by payoffs I am receiving from electronic cigarette companies.
The colleague has raised this question to other close colleagues of mine, but importantly, provided absolutely no evidence that I am being funded by electronic cigarette companies.
The Rest of the Story
This is an important story, not because of the actual implications for me on a personal level, but because it demonstrates an aspect of the anti-smoking movement's mentality. In the tobacco control movement's view, it is apparently not possible for someone to hold the opinion that electronic cigarettes could be a safer alternative to cigarette smoking and could therefore be saving lives. The mere fact that someone expresses such an opinion immediately raises the specter that the individual is being paid off by electronic cigarette companies.
It also demonstrates that many anti-smoking advocates are willing to make personal attacks, accusations, and insinuations -- even against their own colleagues -- without any evidence whatsoever to support these insinuations. The colleague in question has provided not a shred of evidence of my funding by electronic cigarette companies. He has provided no documentation that I have received payments from the electronic cigarette industry and that these payments have influenced my opinions about the issue of the relative safety of vaping versus smoking.
This adds to a long and ugly history of unfounded accusations that anti-smoking groups and advocates have made about those who disagree with the dogma of the movement. What is odd here, and perhaps surprising, is that these accusations are being made not against an opponent, but against a tobacco control advocate himself.
If you oppose any aspect of the dogma of the movement, you in essence become an enemy, even if you are actually a vehement anti-smoking advocate and a close colleague.
This is truly fascinating to me.