How the Internet is Stopping a Ban on Electronic Cigarettes

Before the Internet…

A women with skin where her mouth should be.
Life before the internet…

Here’s how what would have happened to e-cigs if they had been invented 30 years ago.

1982:

Electronic Cigarette is invented.

1983:

  • Large companies recognise the threat to tobacco and pharmaceutical industry.
  • Anti-smoking groups funded by the pharmaceutical industry campaign against the device.

1984:

  • 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

Large pile of cash.

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:

Nicorette products.

And not these:

Gemma with a Smoker's Halo Tank 1.

Tobacco companies stamping on safer products:

Large foot coming down on small man.
Big tobacco stamped our safer cigarettes for smokers.

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.

Source: Sourcewatch and Tobacco Documents

Also see The History of the Electronic Cigarette

E-cigs banned on grounds they are safer:

Statement from the New Zealand government.
Issued statement from the New Zealand Ministry of Health.

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:

Disgusting image of a doll with the caption: "Kissing a smoker is just as gross."

Lots more of these images here!

Scare Stories

Scary mummy.

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.

What’s different?

Going viral
Now the truth can spread virally.

The Internet!

  • 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.

Below: A YouTube video by CASAA – 30 years ago there would have been no way for CASAA to get this information out.

What YOU need to do:

A woman points a finger out of the picture.

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 we had on this blog post) 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? 

Leave a comment:

23 thoughts on “How the Internet is Stopping a Ban on Electronic Cigarettes

  1. I spent many years smoking tobacco and enjoyed it. About three years ago, I decided to stop smoking. Managed to stay off tobacco for two years but then, because I’m currently living in a very stressful situation, the craving for a smoke was almost intolerable. I’d considered using gum and other cessation devices but then, found your site (Smokers Angels) and decided to have a go with the ecig as I really didn’t want smelly tobacco in here again! I don’t know what I’d do without my ecigs. I certainly wouldn’t go back to tobacco, I really do not like it.

  2. I am glad it has worked for you, Jen, I am sure you will still be able to get e-cigarettes in the future – where there’s demand there’s always a supply!

  3. Hey, James. I was wondering to what extent your observation traces back to my writing — the bit about them not wanting THR because it eliminates the motivation for abstinence. No objection implied either way! But I was the only one pushing that view for quite a while and now I see it becoming conventional wisdom. I like to try to track which ideas have ended up in the public domain because of my work.

  4. Hi Carl, that idea’s informed this blog for ages, I can’t remember where it originally came from. I have a feeling it came from some of Clive Bate’s writings on the ban on Snus.

  5. Excellent article and BEAUTIFULLY illustrated! I’ll have to use that pic of the tasty looking nicorette products the next time I see a reference to the “Plain Packs And Kids” YouTube clip being pushed by the Antis in the UK and NZ. Can you imagine doing the same “experiment” but with kids comparing the “prettiness” of the nicorette products to the grossly pic-ted cigarette packs?

    – MJM

  6. Good article. Other reasons, related to the internet, why a ban won’t work. First, ecig users don’t feel guilty. They are more likely to stand up for themselves than smokers, some of whom feel foolish for smoking. Second, a years supply of concentrated liquid (5.4%) for home mixing is about 400ml – less than a bottle of beer, so easy to transport. Third, it is so cheap that any attempt to put a tax on it, anything like tobacco tax, would result in a massive black market in possibly impure nicotine solution. Fourth, many ecig users are ex smokers who are hugely resentful about the destruction of their social lives and are determined not to be nailed by fraudulent science a second time. Finally, apart from a few fanatics, no smokers don’t care about ecig use. I smoke one in my office and visitors wouldn’t know. people are astonished when I tell them that ecigs are banned in several countries. I can see why the anti tobacco industry hates them. I now don’t need to stand outside in the cold and have the occasional real roll up as a treat – the anti tobacco industries worst nightmare.

    1. I agree – dedicated vapers will be able to get what they need somehow, probably from abroad. But there will be consequences, and I reckon they will be:

      – increased costs (for those ordering from abroad)
      – a decrease in quality and safety (if it’s illegal here, ECITA won’t be able to self regulate, and people may buy either on the black market or from dodgy companies abroad)
      – a slower uptake of vaping here, and perhaps some vapers who can’t be bothered with the increased hassle going back to cigarettes

  7. James, yes, I’d seen the story about the school giving out nicotine gum and the kid overdosing. I actually used that concept in my short story “TobakkoNacht” (available on Kindle and eventually coming out in hardcopy as part of a 400 page “toolbox supplement/expansion” to my Dissecting) back in the 1990s. Scary, but at least that particular incident turned out OK.

    While, aside from enjoyment (which Antismokers are loathe to admit exists), one of the benefits of traditional cigarettes was that it was difficult to actually “overdose” on them to an extent that put one in danger of death from nicotine poisoning. I think such a possibility is higher for most alternative forms of nicotine use — although it would still be quite rare (or I’m sure we would have seen the gory headlines splashed all over the world a zillion times by this point.) Traditionally manufactured cigarettes had the virtue of giving smokers a range of nicotine within fairly constrained and standard limits. Ever hear of anyone cheating the electric chair by “oversmoking” the day before an electrocution? (Of course we haven’t heard of anyone doing that with the NicoGummyPatchyProducts yet either, but I think it would be more easily done.)

    One of the antismoking bugaboo fakes that we see out on the net are heartstring/disgust -plucking stories about mothers on beaches taking their eyes off the toddler for ten seconds only to find that they’ve stuffed their mouths full of old cigarette butts. But if you check the Poison Control registries you’ll find that the main problem with “tobacco poisonings” seems to be brainwashed parents freaking out rather than overdosed kids actually being in danger: thousands of cases, but hard (impossible?) to find a death. Meanwhile of course there are hundreds/thousands of deaths from all sorts of other household products that kids get hold of.

    I hadn’t seen the nicorette “soothing” commercial, but it ties in with another theme I’ve played with a few times over the years: a NEW form of gum therapy:

    c*H*ick-o-lets!

    Heroin gum for those seeking to kick the comparatively mild habit of heroin! Available in candy flavors at your local pharmacy, and no prescription or age-limits involved! Buy a bagful now! Perfect for stocking stuffers! And, as Jessica Simpson might say, it’s “like a party in my mouth!”

    – MJM

  8. Thanks for the detailed reply. Like you, I have searched for instances of death from cigarette ingestion, and while many children have been hospitalised none seemed to have died. I believe there was an incident in the US where a child died after using too many nicotine patches obtained from the school nurse, but I can’t find the link now. Unfortunately, I think that given the sheer numbers of people involved, and also the fact that not all companies selling eliquid, are reputable, someone at some point is likely to suffer poisoning from eliquid, and then we’ll see those headlines you were talking about 🙁

  9. Re poisonings: I was reading something the other day about fluoride toothpaste poisonings. Dunno if there have been any deaths or serious cases though. As for the “tobacco ingestion” hospitalizations, I think I decided that it was difficult to tell how many were actually needed and how many were simply the result of an overblown reaction to the antismoking psychology.

    Heh, I’m reminded of a joke (??”) about a poison control call where the call-center person confidently reassured the mother that her child was not in any danger from having eaten a few ants. The mother, relieved, thanked the support person and noted that she’d given the child some ant poison to drink just to “play it safe.” Obviously the rest of the call took a somewhat different direction. Sheeeesh!

    – MJM

  10. This is very upsetting. Our government wants everyone to quit using tobacco because of the health risks/health costs and dangers to non-smokers. So eventually most of do quit for various reasons. The taxes they employ are reason enough for most people to give up cigarettes.

    But some of us still want our nicotine, which the government and scientists say is safe. So we choose to use a safe alternative (the ecig). And still governments are trying to ban it. But yet they push the nicotine gum on us which doesn’t prove to be a reliable quit smoking product. Sounds to me like the government is ok with us using nicotine as long as it is in their best monetary interest. They don’t give a crap about us as long as they get their tax dollars. That’s really the bottom line…money.

    The last time I checked, people in the free world have freedom of choice. But I think I was wrong. We only have freedom of choice as long as the government can tax it.

  11. I have smoked for 40 years, OMG did I just say that? We its true, I didn’t think about how long until I am finally able to quit! I bought my firs ePVD from a local owner operator of PVD’s on 9/08/12 and haven’t touched or wanted a cigarette since. I am at 18mg now and having no problems . Even when I have a lot of stress. I am type 2 diabetic and it does not interfere with my glucose tests. But it has helped me stop wheezing, I breath better and feel a lot better, and smell better too! I keep burning my mouth on hot Coffie though :o)
    Going for 0mg nic!!

  12. I’m so sick of this demoralising GB and backwards EU government telling is what they want us to do in there best interest. Well if they listened to there people that actually pay there money that they have actually squandered and wasted and made this world a difficult place to live a normal life without the worry of being rejected in sociaty for being a so called dirty smoker. Us smokers don’t love smoking as much as you think because of what has been injected into our poisoned minds of how bad we are and how much we cost our government in health care and so on rant rant. Take note we have made you billions of pounds for you to squander your lavesh lifestyles and make you feel bigger and better than us so you can point your finger at us and say you are going to ban e-cigs when you have know they will lose you your profits on the things that you rely on. Cigerettes.
    If you ban e-cigs you will have a fight on your hands so you can all get paid to have your pathetic opinion and waste more money that we don’t have to spend on a debate that should in any sane and strong minded great British just be let be.
    please feel free to criticise my opinion but at least someone will listen to me other than my own government.
    On a happy note I do love to vape more than smoke dirty ciggys all day

  13. If those dunb-asses in Govt legislate banning E-cigs, thereby forcing me either to become a criminal or die, aren’t my human rights being violated? At what point does my right to life, trump the criminalisation of my actions?

    There would be public outrage if it was proposed to persecute any other minority in this manner.

    As an aside; perhaps Vapers recruiting non-smoking friends and family as E-cig promoters might be a good idea. They can independently verify, the beneficial impact E-cigs have had on their previously smoking loved ones.

    Six months without a cig (or wanting one)after 35 years on 25 per day, has made me a bit of evangelist, but I guess I am in good company!

  14. The latest argument to hit out at e smoking or vaping is that it should be banned because it looks like smoking and could encourage people to take up smoking. It is not rocket science to understand this is poppycock, it as been long proven that children drinking coke or cola style drinks don?t then take up the use of cocaine. The same with those who drink shandy do not take up the use of alcohol or even become drinkers. There are many people that drink shandy but have never had a pint of beer. Hay, we even let kids have winegums, this don?t mean they all becomes winos.

  15. I first tried e cigs a few years ago. I’m afraid I allowed myself to be put off them by the media and others. At the time I wasn’t aware what lengths vested interests would go to keep people smoking and deny them safer alternatives like e cigs and snus.

    As a last resort they will use children to try and ban e cigs. Do they consider the children who are forced to live in poverty or when they make decisions to go to war. No of course they don’t. We should not let them get away with it. We should hold them to account. I will certainly hold them to account when they want me to vote for them.

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