Even the most positive social changes are often met with serious resistance, and the vaping movement is no exception.
There’s some wisdom to this, of course.
After all, isn’t it good to keep a healthy scepticism toward potentially harmful new products and trends?
Wait for the green light before jumping in?
Absolutely…to a point.
Why eCigs are a Moral Issue
The trouble is, when it comes to our public approach to e-cigarette technology and vaping culture, we’re seeing an overly aggressive “scepticism” that goes well beyond what’s healthy for any of us.
I’m talking about the scowling, raised-eyebrow reactions that you can now find nearly everywhere—and not just from the tobacco companies and tax revenue-dependent government bodies with obvious interests in the heavy regulation of e-cigs.
Even straight reporting on the topic by major, unaffiliated news outlets is full of the same strangely negative attitude.
Rather than identify vaping as a potentially world-changing trend that could dramatically improve a global smoking problem—which it is—far too many articles instead dive into the same bag of loaded words to describe every conceivable new obstacle or danger, real or imagined.
We read endless “myth-busting” reminders that e-cigarettes are addictive (no one said they weren’t).
That they’re not yet proven to be 100% safe (almost nothing we ingest is).
That vapers are trying to “get away with” something in public (yes, a much less invasive, more considerate way to exhale).
That vaping is “touted” by “believers” as an aid to smoking cessation (as if we’re a global cult already joined by over 2.5 million non-smoking frauds and crackpots in the U.S. alone).
Or, my personal favourite: that e-juice is some scary new concoction that’s been “nicotine-laced.”
That’s right, “laced.”
Suddenly, the same word we’ve been using for decades when discussing illegal drug labs and homicidal poisoning cases applies to e-juice makers and consumers as well.
Clearly, these aren’t the sounds of healthy scepticism.
They’re the angry noises of a (very selectively) health-obsessed culture whose demand for a “tobacco-free society” has blinded it to something hugely valuable: a non-tobacco alternative that could be the perfect bridge to the world they want to see.
True, it’s still an addictive bridge, but that’s life for now.
The inescapable truth
The inescapable truth, whether we’re comfortable with it or not, is that people are going to smoke, or vape, or something for a very long time to come.
Does vaping still carry risks? Very possibly.
Is further research necessary? Definitely.
Is protection of minors an issue? When has protecting minors ever not been an issue?
The point is, we will address all of these concerns along the road ahead, as we always have.
For now, we have a global smoking epidemic on our plate. For now, it makes zero sense to ban or effectively ban vaping with overly aggressive clampdowns.
Demonizing what so far appears to be a significantly less damaging, less socially divisive alternative to smoking is, at best, criminally incompetent public health policy.
At worst, it’s a spiteful and even immoral position to take when we’ve faced a beast this lethal to life and property, for this long, and we’re finally given the chance to take it down.
Resistance to new and better ways is expected. Rejection of them, with so much at stake, is inexcusable.
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