Before the Internet...
Here’s how what would have happened to e-cigs if they had been invented 30 years ago.
Electronic Cigarette is invented.
- Large companies recognise the threat to tobacco and pharmaceutical industry.
- Anti-smoking groups funded by the pharmaceutical industry campaign against the device.
- Tobacco industry agrees that to admit the e-cigarette is safer would mean admitting tobacco is bad.
- Scare stories are planted in the media.
- Money changes hands.
- A few well-informed supporters of the e-cigarette are unable to get their point of view across. Anti-smoking groups point out that if there is a safe form of smoking there won’t be any reason to ban smoking.
1985: Electronic cigarette is banned worldwide.
In fact there are precedents for most of the above:
Money changing hands
A senator who campaigned to have the e-cigarette removed from the market was paid $128,000 by pharmaceutical groups.
Pharmaceutical companies paying anti-smoking groups that campaign against e-cigarette: Here is a list I put together some years ago showing funding of quit smoking groups by pharmaceutical groups. More recently Professer Siegel has pointed out funding worth millions of dollars in blog posts here and here.
All so smokers continue to buy these:
And not these:
Tobacco companies stamping on safer products:
Dr Mold spent 20 years developing a compound which would negate the cancerous effects of smoking.
When this compound was added to tobacco cancerous tumours on mice were eliminated.
Unfortunately, producing this product would have meant admitting that cigarettes were harmful, which tobacco companies refused to admit.
The project was shelved.
Dr Mold, who was also refused permission to publish his research, stated:
They felt that such a cigarette, if put on the market, would seriously indict them for having sold other types of cigarettes.
E-cigs banned on grounds they are safer:
One of the main arguments against the electronic cigarette is that they are safer.
Because they are so much safer, the quit or die approach loses it’s effectiveness.
The argument goes like this:
- e-cigarettes are safer
- if they are safer people will have no need to quit
- therefore e-cigs should be banned
- so smokers continue to follow a quit or die approach
That's why Ash Scotland complained:
“…e-cigarettes also look like real cigarettes and are able to be used in many places where smoking is banned... as a society we have a responsibility to protect young people by moving away from giving the impression that smoking is a desirable thing to do.’
And not just anti-smoking groups. The New Zealand government admitted that:
The risks to smokers of pure nicotine, delivered in doses seen with the e-cigarette and nicotine replacement therapy products, are extremely low...
But said that approving the devices would run counter to its policy of denormalisation.
And here's what the denormalisation campaign looks like:
Lots more of these images here!
At one moment the anti-ecig lobby argues that the very safety of the e-cigarette threatens the quit smoking campaign, and in the next they argue it is a danger to users and non-users alike.
One recent scare story was released by anti-nicotine fanatic Glantz, arguing that e-cigarettes contained acetic acid, acetone, isoprene, formaldehyde and acetaldehyde.
What he didn't mention was that these were at lower levels than those found in the average person's breath.
- scientists who have problems accessing mainstream media publish their thoughts on blogs, and have these thoughts quickly spread through the net. (Also see our interviews here.)
- users educate themselves about the science of e-cigarettes, and then educate others online
- bloggers educate themselves, and then their readers
- groups like CASAA use the internet to mobilize and organise opposition to bans
- the existence of millions of e-cigarette users, almost all with internet access, educated about the electronic cigarette and furious at the prospect of a ban which could lead to their deaths, makes it much, much more difficult to ban the device.
What YOU need to do:
I am convinced that the internet is the reason e-cigs haven’t been banned in the UK and the US.
But the e-cigarette is still under threat.
Most recently a leaked document showed that the EU, which rewrote a safety report on Snus to ban it despite decades of evidence that it is 100-1000 times safer than smoking, is considering an effective ban on e-cigarettes.
But you can help stop the e-cigarette ban by:
- blogging (and if you think that isn’t effective, check out the number of shares our blog posts have had) and creating YouTube videos
- sharing your own successes with the electronic cigarette
- educating other online users
- sharing studies and stories online - it only takes the click of a button!
- joining organisations like CASAA and ECCA
What else can WE do to help stop a ban?