Contributed by Paul Johnson
I see Alaska Quite Line imitated the format I used in my response to Ms. Hample. If imitation is the highest form of flattery, then color me flattered! It won’t get them anywhere though. I see right through their half-truths and innuendo, and I hope you are starting to as well.
Last month’s ad was a very lame attempt to vilify vapers and the industry by implying that somehow, in some convoluted way, we are responsible for Alaska’s youth vaping rate that we are all horrible child abusers, more deplorable than even cigarette smokers.
Nothing could be further from “the truth,” but the ad’s tagline implies that. Vapers of legal age, the industry in general and anyone with a shred of decency knows a minor who drinks alcohol, does drugs, smokes cigarettes or even vapes, surrenders their innocence from that moment on. That’s AQL’s modus operandi though, to use half-truths and innuendo to scare you away from vaping. Something that could potentially save 10 to 15 million lives in the U.S. alone and they are hiding behind “the children” to do it!
Lack of enforcement of the laws that already exist and too weak penalties are part of the issue, and you can’t blame that on vapers or the industry. That’s failed enforcement plain and simple. If the penalties were stiffer and affected the minors and the parents of those minors (ex. - community service for the child, after school of course, and a $500 fine to the parents, progressively), it wouldn’t take long to get the message out. No one wants our youth to grow up too fast.
The figures stated in the ad are also questionable. AQL claims, “Nearly 1,500 students were surveyed.” The number is actually 1,418 from 41 high schools across the entire state and by the survey’s own admission, 910 of those students were “high risk”. Compare these figures to West High’s most recent enrollment figures of 1,842 (Wikipedia) and you can begin to see just how slanted this Alaska Youth Risk Behavior Survey is.
Iowa’s nine terms - 34 year, Attorney General, Tom Miller discussed these exact manipulations of the figures in a speech he gave at the Food and Drug Law Enforcement Tobacco Conference, Oct. 27 2016. He stated, “Overall, once in the last 30-day use, has been in a range of 13 to 16 percent. (Re: the national survey) A significant number, obviously. But, it’s overwhelmingly experimental. And, the reason I say that is that the kid-use of e-cigarettes on a daily basis is 1 percent. The kid-use of e-cigarettes on a 20-to-29 day basis out of 30 is 1 percent. So, for regular use or semi-regular use you have 2 percent, for experimental use you have 14 percent. So that’s the first thing to really recognize. And you really shouldn’t talk about one figure without talking about the other, because to say that there’s 16 percent of kids who use e-cigarettes really is misleading because so much of that is experimental, without mentioning that. And to say that only 2 percent use it regularly or semi-regularly without recognizing the experimental use is deceptive as well.
The Truth Initiative, in one of its surveys, found out that of kids that use e-cigarettes, more than half of them don’t buy e-cigarettes. They only use them when they’re shared by their friends. There have been some surveys and some information that at first I didn’t really believe much of it. But I think it should be explored, that is the number of the percentage of kids that use e-cigarettes without nicotine. We need to find out more there. And on the plus side – and it’s been alluded to some extent – on the plus side of e-cigarettes and kids, there’s at least one survey – and we need to get more information on this – but 1 percent of kids are using e-cigarettes to get off combustibles.”
He goes on to say that 10 to 15 million lives across the U.S. could be saved if the FDA and health orgs would embrace the potential tobacco harm reduction of e-cigs, rather than demonize them. (See entire speech here: http://www.clivebates.com/?p=4483)
Sadly, one of the things to consider is the fact that there will always be a certain percentage of youth all too eager to grow up too fast. That my friend, is the whole truth.
If you are a tobacco smoker, I implore you to at least try modern vapor products. Like A.G. Miller, saving lives is my sole motivation for submitting these articles. I do not represent any manufacturer, retailer or organization. Unlike Ms. Hample and her cohorts, I don’t get paid one penny for doing this. They are state employees and you are paying them as much as 70K a year to be misled!