VaperCon vs. the Lies

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.

9 responses to “VaperCon vs. the Lies

  1. Pingback: VaperCon vs. the Lies | Tobacco Harm Reduction |

  2. Pingback: VaperCon vs. the Lies | vapeforlife

  3. “Lie: They may have quit smoking, but they are still addicted.”

    This particular lie is probably at the heart of anti-THR, and will always be the last resort for anti-THR activists. It is their last resport because of the moral nature of the argument.

    Firstly, have there been any comprehensive studies that have examined non-tobacco smoke nicotine addiction? Most extremely addictive drugs often cause an increase in cravings – the more you use it, the more you need it. From a personal experience, my ejuice nicotine concentration, as well as my ejuice daily volume usuage has remained fairly constant over the past 12 months (which also accounts to me knowing my exact daily nicotine intake to the milligram). Many others I have talked to on vaping related forums have also experienced a constant daily nicotine intake. This leads me to believe that there may be more components in tobacco smoke that contribute to cigarette addiction. I think nicotine may very well be less addictive than currently thought.

    I believe it’s due to nicotine’s effect on the human body. Excessive intake of nicotine is not pleasurable. You become fatigued, your heart pumps faster, and you begin to cold sweat. Unlike, for example alcohol, the negative physical effects of excessive nicotine intake override the pleasurable or psychological effects of excessive use. Furthermore, an excessive amount of nicotine in the actual vapor causes an overwhleming throat hit, which simply makes the activity of inhaling large amounts unpleasurable to begin with. Nicotine is also a very bitter tasting substance. The taste of non-atomised electronic cigarette liquid is very unappealing, even to those who vape it, so the claim that the liquids are designed to attract children is a moot point. Liquids should be kept away from children like most other household chemicals, and most vendor websites don’t even allow access to people under 18 yrs old.

    Putting aside the fallcies involving actual nicotine intake, those who claim that the addicitve properties ‘alone’ of a substance are justified grounds to ban it are merely imposing their own morality onto others. I find it ironic that these anti-nicotine activists such as Simon Chapman, sit at their computers drinking a cups of coffee whilst typing in propaganda against electroninc cigarette use. That scene deserves to be a cartoon in the NY Post.

    Not all addictions are harmful, destructive, unmanageable, or inherently bad or immoral. See :

    • Carl V Phillips

      There have not been such studies. It is our plan to start collecting testimonials of vapers (and ex-vapers), like yours that could provide the data for such a study. Reports like yours are useful, and it is on our to-do list to start collecting them.

  4. Fr. Jack Kearney

    Addiction is “persistent use despite negative consequences”,…so for most people vaping is not an addiction. At worst it is a “dependency” like caffeine. Unless you are robbing your local ecig store to keep your supply going then vaping does not fit the definition of addiciton.

    • Carl V Phillips

      Most colloquial notions of addiction definitely do include that “negative consequences” clause (though most also do not require use itself, but merely a desire to use — see, e.g., “recovering alcoholic”). But most attempts to create a scientific definition do not require it (those attempts fail, btw — there is no accepted definition, and thus the word should not be used in scientific contexts without being defined for that context). That is one of the classic anti-THR lying games that we will definitely cover in this blog later.

  5. Pingback: But You're still Addicted !!!!!!!

  6. Personally, I often give the response as regards “being addicted” of: “You betcha! I’m addicted to hot showers, too!”

    Hot showers are bad for my skin, my hair, are a wasteful use of resources, etc. Hot showers and vaping are a couple of my indulgences. Switching to cold showers might be ‘the responsible thing’ to do. However, switching back to cigarettes would be the Deadly thing to do. And, during my 28-year relationship with cigarettes, patches, gum, and cold-turkey, I learned my life without nicotine isn’t really Living according to my standards.

    So, yes, I’m addicted to all sorts of bad things: hot showers, nicotine, caffeine, fried foods, driving, …

  7. Pingback: Vapercon 2013: The Most Epic Vaping Party on the Planet - Aviator Club

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