posted by Carl V Phillips
I and (almost all of) the rest of the CASAA board and many of our friends and most active members are at the VaperCon gathering in Virginia. This seems like an obvious time to respond to some of the common anti-THR lies about e-cigarettes and vaping that someone would know the truth about if they just showed up here.
Lie: Flavors are designed to entice children.
Contrary evidence: I have never before been in a group of people who were so interested in flavors. There were no children in sight. (Though there were a surprising number of puppies.)
Lie: Vaping will be mistaken for smoking, which is bad. (Never mind the question of why. Looking like smoking is just bad, mmmkay.)
Contrary evidence: It is true that some cheap mass-production products do look like cigarettes. But no one would mistake the more advanced products used by aficionados for cigarettes. Maybe those who are concerned about the appearance of the devices should try to educate vapers about the better products they can move up to. Even more so, no one nearby would ever mistake vapor for smoke. Some of my best friends are smokers and I am hardly smoke-phobic, but I have to say I would rather be in a room with 300 people vaping than with one person smoking. It is extremely noticeable, and downright strange, when a whiff of smoke drifts by anywhere around the hotel.
Lie: E-cigarette users have no idea how much nicotine they are getting.
Contrary evidence: While there is undoubtedly some unintended variation, I have spent the day watching people titrate their intake by the drop, by nicotine strength, and down to the last tenth of a volt. Once again, this is more an argument for making sure everyone knows more about optimizing their vaping. And it is another reason for encouraging switching from smoking, where the variation is almost certainly less well controlled.
Lie: They may have quit smoking, but they are still addicted.
Response: This is arguably true, depending on what someone means by “addicted”. But who cares? There are a lot of very happy people here whose lives are not being damaged. If this is addiction, then addiction appears to not be something that should be avoided, and definitely not something that warrants massive acts of governmental force against the people.
Lie: E-cigarettes are not a proven way for people to quit smoking.
Contrary evidence: I am already in the middle of writing about this topic, the claim that there is no evidence when there obviously is evidence. But someone would immediately see the evidence by talking to people — almost anyone — here. The stories may not fully substitute for formal studies of cessation, not being good for measuring the probability of success and such, but they certainly make it impossible to claim there is no evidence. And upon hearing them, no non-stupid non-evil person would continue to oppose THR.
On that note, though this post does not address specific liars, it does bring up an important observation about the anti-THR liars’ general way of dealing with the world. As far as I can tell, none of the supposed “researchers” and “experts” who attack THR ever attend gatherings like this, or even talk extensively to vapers (or smokers or users of other low-risk alternatives to smoking).
A couple of hundred years ago, we would expect that “studies” of women, poor people, people of other cultures, etc. would be done by “experts” who were all aristocratic white men. They would never seek the insights available from talking to the people they studied, mostly for the same reasons that researchers studying squirrels would not seek the insights of their subjects. Today such behavior by researchers would be considered utterly unacceptable.
Serious researchers reporting about heroin users, transvestite prostitutes, starving peasants, or even child soldiers would never get away with failing to introduce the insights of their subjects. Studies of tobacco and related product use seems to be the only area of research about a group of marginalized or oppressed people where someone can still claim to be an expert while never conferring with their subjects, merely looking down upon them from on high, and not get drummed out of the profession.
And besides, showing up and seeing the people and gadgets is fun and fascinating. No one working in the field who has the mind of a real scientist would pass up a chance to see it.