According to an article in the Arizona Daily Star, a youth tobacco control advocate is going around telling other youth that vaping can kill you. He is quoted as stating:
“Many think it’s just water vapor when really there’s nicotine, and
nicotine is known to be an addictive chemical — it’s a natural pesticide
and if your body takes in enough of it, it can kill you.”
The Rest of the Story
The story of a random youth from Arizona spreading false information about the risks of vaping would not ordinarily make headlines at the Rest of the Story. But when I first started reading this article, something struck me as odd. It seemed unbelievable that an intelligent 16-year-old high school student would, on his own, come to the conclusion that vaping can be fatal because nicotine is a "pesticide" and inhaling too much nicotine could cause death. It seemed especially odd when I reasoned that this youth is not exactly seeing his peers drop dead left and right from too much vaping. Also, the line about e-cigarettes delivering more than just water vapor sounded a bit too familiar. Without reading any further in the article, I came to the immediate conclusion that this must be a youth who was indoctrinated by an anti-smoking group.
Sure enough, when I continued reading the article, the rest of the story became clear. Indeed, this youth was literally indoctrinated by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids after attending a youth advocacy symposium:
"Duarte, a member of the Cochise County
Youth Health Coalition, recently returned from a trip to Washington,
D.C., where he was advocating for the need for action to protect kids
from newer tobacco products like electronic cigarettes and flavored
cigars, which also have become popular. He
was one of 21 youths from across the country participating in the
Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids’ Youth Advocacy Symposium, where he met
with Arizona Rep. Martha McSally and the staffs of Sens. Jeff Flake and
Now it all makes sense. It appears that in fact this youth did not come to this conclusion himself but was taught this false information during his indoctrination by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. Now he is spouting their propaganda word-for-word.
It is sad to observe that the Campaign is using youth to spread its propaganda designed to demonize electronic cigarettes and obscure the public's appreciation of the severe hazards of smoking by equating its risks only with those of using a product which is "not just water vapor."
While I completely support youth advocacy, it is essential that we be honest with youth and tell them the complete story, not just partial truths, or in the case of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids - complete lies.