Contributed by Paul Johnson
I’m old enough to remember the tactics used to ban cigarette smoking from hospitals, grocery stores, airplanes and eventually restaurants and bars. That’s why Alaska Quit Line/Breathe Free Mat Su’s attack on vaping looks so familiar; they are the same tactics, “Not Safe! - Dangerous Chemicals! - Harm to Others! - Save the Children!” The problem is that AQL/BFMS are wrong on every account. I’ve covered that ground in previous articles. Vaping is not smoking, period.
It may look like smoking, particularly if the vaper is using a “cig-a-like”, a personal vaporizer that looks like a traditional cigarette. That’s the perception. The majority of vapers abandon these early on or never uses them to begin with. It’s old, unsatisfying technology. How old? In 1963, Herbert A. Gilbert filed for a U.S. patent (US3200819 A) for a smokeless non tobacco cigarette and was granted that patent two years later on Aug. 17, 1965. When Mr. Gilbert was asked in a 2013 interview why the design wasn’t put into production, his reply was, “Those I showed it to could have done it, but they chose to wait for the patent to expire and then filed their own versions. I showed it to chemical companies, pharmaceutical companies and tobacco companies and they did what they did to try to protect their markets.”
So, when AQL /BFMS and the FDA or Surgeon General tells you, “They haven’t been around long enough to understand the long term effects,” or “It’s not about protecting the status quo, our positions or the money,” consider these facts. Unfortunately, this is also where the term “E-Cig” originated adding to the perception that vaping is a cigarette and it is smoking. Modern vapor products bear little if any resemblance to a cigarette, but still satisfy the hand to mouth and vapor exhalation habit that reforming and reformed smokers enjoy. It’s also one reason P.V.s or mods are 60% more successful tobacco harm reduction products than OTC NRTs. (Public Health England 19 Aug. 2015)
I note this perception issue not only to demonstrate AQL/BFMS’s lack of understanding of the products they are trying to demonize, but to also point out to all of the anti-smoking people that they are taking advantage of your prejudice. It’s a “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.” approach, which is exactly why they are using the same tactics they did to eliminate virtually all public smoking. They are not just fear mongering smokers into not even giving vaping a chance to save their own lives, they are taking advantage of your prejudice to imply vaping is just as bad as or worse than smoking, even though many other countries around the world recognize the personal and public health benefits of tobacco harm reduction through vaping.
The persecution begins when the FDA, local health organizations and the enemies of their enemies’ team up to proclaim that their methods and ideology are the only solution, eliminating the American value of freedom of choice and condemning millions to tobacco related illness and death.
That brings me to AQL excitedly trotting out the Surgeon General’s press release in last month’s issue of this paper and the secondhand smoke ads that have shown up periodically. Like AQL and the anti-tobacco general public, the S.G. is being used as a shill by the FDA. The FDA in turn is primarily funded by big pharmaceutical companies. I draw your attention to this PBS article: (http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/prescription/hazard/independent.html)
Even President Trump noted in an interview on 1-11-17 that, “Big Pharma” has way too many lobbyists and representatives, and we need to rein them in.” As for the secondhand smoke issue, vaping is actually the solution. As you can see from the charts below, vapor has less volatile organic compounds (VOCs) than ambient indoor air and no carbon monoxide (CO) whatsoever.
The question becomes, why would the FDA, national and local HHS’ intentionally drive smokers away from something that is at least 95% less harmful than smoking tobacco, has a 60% higher success rate than their OTC NRTs, and poses no threat to bystanders, as proven by other enlightened countries around the world?
The answer is twofold. First, because it’s a way for reforming and reformed smokers to have their cake and eat it too, being able to enjoy their nicotine (the same nicotine that is in their “approved” NRTs) which has been proven to be no more addictive or harmful than the caffeine in your coffee or energy drink, without the harm of burning anything. Second and more importantly, the countries that do embrace the benefits of vaping aren’t in the pockets of Big Tobacco or Big Pharma. The FDA and state governments are, through the tobacco master settlement and funding from Big Pharma.