Friday, December 07, 2012

Blinded by Ideology, Anti-Smoking Advocates are Widely Misleading the Public into Thinking that Electronic Cigarette Use is a Form of Smoking

In BBC News article about electronic cigarettes, anti-smoking advocates from three leading national tobacco control organizations are misleading the public into thinking that vaping is a form of smoking and that electronic cigarette use is essentially the acceptance of, and adoption of smoking.

According to the article, here are the reactions of three of the leading national tobacco control organizations to the emergence and skyrocketing growth of the electronic cigarette market:

The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids

"Since their emergence onto the US market, US sales have risen from $5m (£3.1m) to an estimated $250m, according to UBS estimates. Amid the explosive growth, smoking opponents are eyeing the devices warily. 'We know that smoke-free laws encourage smokers to try to quit,' says Danny McGoldrick, vice-president of research at Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. If electronic cigarettes keep people smoking who would otherwise quit, that is harmful, he says." ...

Americans for Nonsmokers' Rights

"'It feels like what they're trying to do is re-establish a norm that smoking is okay, that smoking is glamorous and acceptable,' says Cynthia Hallett, executive director of Americans for Non-Smokers' Rights."

American Legacy Foundation

"The blu advert stokes the spirit of rebellion that appealed to smokers when they first started as adolescents, says David Abrams, executive director of the Schroeder Institute for Tobacco Research and Policy Studies at Legacy, an anti-tobacco organisation. This time around, instead of defying parents and teachers, the ad encourages smokers to rebel against more recent anti-smoking social norms. 'They're capitalising on that with adult smokers by basically saying 'don't let society tell you what to do',' Abrams says. 'You have the freedom to smoke. Thumb your nose at the anti-smoking policies and the FDA.'"

The Rest of the Story

What all three of these national tobacco control organizations apparently fail to understand is that using electronic cigarettes is not smoking. On the contrary, it is avoiding the use of cigarettes. The overwhelming reason why smokers are turning to electronic cigarettes is because they want to reduce or eliminate the number of cigarettes that they smoke. Every time a vaper uses an electronic cigarette, he or she is passing up an opportunity to smoke. By definition, using electronic cigarette use reduces cigarette use. Far from promoting smoking, advertisements that promote electronic cigarette use are urging smokers not to smoke -- but to switch to electronic cigarettes instead.

In fact, the emergence and growth of electronic cigarettes is not a boon to cigarette smoking, it is a serious threat. To successfully market electronic cigarettes, companies need to get smokers to switch away from smoking and towards vaping. Electronic cigarettes are primarily designed for smoking cessation or cigarette use reduction. In the first clinical trial of these products, 54% of smokers who were unmotivated to quit were successful in either quitting smoking completely or cutting down on their smoking by more than half.

In exactly what way does the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Americans for Nonsmokers' Rights, and American Legacy Foundation consider this tremendous reduction in smoking to be a rebellion against the idea of not smoking and an encouragement of smokers to continue to smoke.

Nothing could be further from the truth. It's exactly the opposite of what each of these three organizations is saying.

How could these organizations be lying to the public in such a blatant manner?

The answer appears to be ideology.

Each of these three anti-smoking organizations appears to be blinded by an ideology that defines smoking as going through the hand motions associated with holding and smoking a cigarette, regardless of whether the person is actually smoking. Apparently, even if the person has quit smoking completely, she is still smoking if she goes through the hand motions.

Are these organizations really committed to saving lives, or are they just trying to prevent hand motions? Sadly, it appears that it is the hand motions that are bothering them. We can't have those hand motions going on that look like smoking. Even if those hand motions are saving hundreds of lives by getting smokers off of a product that may well kill them.

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