Heads up my vaping friends!
At the bottom of this post are the links to the American Heart Association's and World Health Organization's policy statements on e-cigarettes (or as they call them, ENDS) released this week, as well a couple of others in the last month.
I do love a good conspiracy theory. That all these 'reports' (and I use the term loosely) came out roughly back-to-back is probably suspicious. Naw . . . Pure coincidence, of course.
The AHA document is the more reasonable read but as you'll see in the video, the message is not so. These documents are full of perfectly reasonable regulatory statements such as not encouraging non-smokers to take up vaping (education) and advocating consistent quality control measures and product disclosures in the industry (regulation).
All of which actually do need to happen.
These reasonable statements, however, are designed to hide the radical anti-smoking agenda of these agencies. Which has nothing to do with vaping, except that they want it to. Things like stating that PVs may be a gateway drug to regular cigarette smoking for kids. 'PVs might, possibly, someday, eventually, according to prophesy get your kids to smoke cigarettes' is a scare tactic that is certain to get busy Moms and Dads all riled up.
I wonder if anyone at either of these organizations has ever actually met a teenager.
'That's against the rules, so don't do that!'
That'll work. Not.*
Whether you agree or disagree with WHO and the AHA on this issue, consider that when governments institute heavy handed regulation it is exceedingly difficult, if not impossible, to reverse those regulations even when new evidence proves they are unnecessary and unfounded. Look at the history of hemp in the U.S. as an example. Even today this completely benign and massively useful plant is largely outlawed because the argument "we don't know, so ban it" won out.
It is surprising, in some respect, that the public and political backlash against PVs is prevalent in this age of issues such as legalizing pot. A case could be made that smoking a joint is more detrimental to your body than puffing on a PV, so why no massive outcry from the anti-smoking lobby to ban joints? The reason is because marijuana advocates successfully disassociated the activity from tobacco smoking and largely convinced the public that burning weed on occasion is a harmless activity. They're doing an outstanding job of educating about their point of view.
An alternate explanation is that the anti-smoking crowd has been participating in a little 'harmless activity' themselves, but we won't speculate too far on that . . .
To combat these types of 'policy' statements, we vapors need to do the same and disassociate vaping from smoking in such a way that the public and policy makers understand that it is different. A tall task because vaping is a replacement for smoking. A change in perception, however, is necessary to combat these types of over the top and blatantly manipulative requests for regulation.
I've long held that using the term 'e-cigarette' in general is a mistake for vapers, for example. It's a mistake because it associates the activity with smoking cigarettes. Which, in most people's minds, is a Very Bad Thing.
I'm guilty of using the term myself, of course. I did so in the introduction to my latest book. As a teacher, I need to be able to put a subject into context efficiently and effectively. As an author, understanding Search Engine Optimization (SEO) techniques is important to my livelihood. Using the term 'cigarette' when talking about vaping is expedient and reaches more people. It's instantly recognizable and provides quick context. But here's the thing (and one of the main themes of Virgin Vaping)...
Vaping is NOT smoking.
They are considerably different. The term cigarette is irrevocably tied to the burning of tobacco leaves. By association, vaping is as well. This is wrong. Given that these two reports rely heavily on the connection between smoking cigarettes and vaping being similar, we vapers need to push harder to differentiate the two.
I urge all vapers, and our non-vaping supporters, to take any opportunity to educate your friends, families, and strangers about vaping and, in particular, to help dispel the myth that vaping is just another form of smoking cigarettes.
A great place to start is by signing up for CAASA.
I'm also preparing a new blog post to appear here on Vape Right about how to educate your friends, families, and the general public about vaping. I'll also add a chapter on the subject in the forthcoming book about society and vaping called, Vaping & You.
I welcome your thoughts and experiences!
Share your experiences below (or shoot me an email) about how you approach non-vapers, smokers, loved ones, and friends. What worked? What didn't? What preconceived notions did they have? What myths did you have to bust? What resources did you use? That sort of stuff.
I'll compile any responses and put them in the blog and the book.
Vaping can, and has, saved countless lives. We need to get that message out there, discourage knee jerk ignorance, and encourage responsible regulatory action.
I look forward to seeing your thoughts on the matter.
Here's the links:
Video of AHA CEO Nancy Brown announcing AHA policy on E-Cigarettes:
The AHA policy document:
The WHO policy statement document:
A press release from the CDC about youth and electronic cigarettes:
And this hamfisted letter from a pile of State District Attorney's begging the FDA to pound on vapers:
*Forgive the hyperbole. Must be done sometimes.