Friday, July 12, 2013

Blind Ideology of Anti-Smoking is Revealed

According to an article in the Berkeley Independent (South Carolina), some anti-smoking advocates in the state are opposed to electronic cigarette use for smoking cessation because users may quit smoking and improve their health, but they are still going through motions that look like smoking.

According to the article: "Lowcountry resident Ron Sena saw his first electronic cigarette while on a cruise with his wife. A smoker for 40 years, ... Sena’s interest in e-cigarettes was sparked. ... Sena said that since quitting traditional smoking and picking up the electronic version, his lung function and senses of taste and smell have improved dramatically. He felt so strongly about the health benefits of the products that he started his own business making refill cartridges for the devices. Many people feel the way Sena does about the health benefits of e-cigarettes, claiming they can notice the difference in their personal health. However, e-cigarettes face critics."

"Melissa Watson, a Columbia health counselor, has witnessed different results when others pick up e-cigarettes. Watson, who works with smoking cessation courses at Palmetto Health Baptist, has dedicated a good portion of her career to helping people quit smoking. In her opinion, e-cigarettes might not be as helpful in the quitting process as some claim. “Quitting isn’t the hard part,” she said.  “The hard part is staying quit.” Watson believes e-cigarettes, while potentially helpful from solely a harm reduction standpoint, are not useful in actually kicking the habit. She said the problem with e-cigarettes is they are designed to simulate smoking, while the commonly used nicotine gums and patches are not. “What’s the end goal?” she asked.  If the patient intends to fully quit tobacco use, she said, e-cigarettes are not the way to go."

"Dr. Scott Strayer of the University of South Carolina Medical School, shares a similar opinion. He noted that no studies yet prove that e-cigarettes are healthier or helpful in quitting. A former smoker of 15 years, Strayer said quitting is about “behavior change.” This can be difficult to achieve when still reliant on smoking something, even if it is electronic."

The Rest of the Story

It certainly appears that when Watson says that e-cigarettes are helpful from a harm reduction standpoint but not helpful in "kicking the habit," the habit she is talking about is not smoking cigarettes, but the behavior of holding a device and putting it to your mouth and inhaling from it. After all, she apparently does not consider someone who has switched from smoking to e-cigarettes as having "kicked the habit."

It also is apparent that she doesn't consider someone who has switched from tobacco cigarettes to e-cigarettes as having "fully" quit tobacco use. Apparently, if you are vaping, even though you are not using tobacco, you have not "fully" quit tobacco use because it "looks like" you are still smoking.

Dr. Strayer offers a similar viewpoint. Apparently, switching from smoking to electronic cigarettes doesn't qualify as "behavior change." It is not the behavior of smoking that he is talking about. It is the behavior of "looking like" you are smoking.

Today's story is a fine revelation of the blind ideology of the anti-smoking movement that I have been discussing for the past several months.

These advocates view nicotine as the problem, not disease and death. It is the addiction to nicotine that seems to bother these health officials, rather than the actual health effects of smoking. If research subsequently showed that nicotine has no serious long-term health effects, these advocates would still consider electronic cigarette use to be an evil and to consider it to simply be a "smoking behavior" because it involves nicotine use.

And it's possible that they would also consider vaping to be "smoking" or "partial" tobacco use even if a vaper was using a zero nicotine cartridge. Because when it really comes down to it, it is the act of going through the motions that look like smoking which is the problem, not the inhalation of toxic chemicals that cause disease and death.

How ludicrous for a health practitioner to argue that if a smoker quits smoking using e-cigarettes, that ex-smoker is still "engaging in smoking behaviors." No the person is not. What the person is doing is saving his or her life.

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