Can you tell a lie from a truth?
* Gregory Conley is head of the American Vaping Association
Where is all this leading?
A couple of interesting news items have emerged this last week, and they neatly dovetail into each other.
One is a discussion about flipping the script and asking the question – what if we sued the anti-tobacco lobby for lying to us? The article - Harry's Blog 64, is complete with a beautiful screen shot of one ‘emeritus’ (meaning retired) professor and ardent anti e cig hater, having to apologies for the lies he told about a speaker at a nicotine/ e cigarette convention.
The article is well thought out and ask the question, would you litigate, and if you did – who would you litigate?
Then we get an article about a very popular vaping company, that is being used as the poster boy by the FDA to regulate vaping. They are being sued for ‘misleading’ their customers. The allegation is that the claimants state they are now addicted to this product, not the tobacco cigarettes they were previously addicted to.
We must add that this company, (we have written about them before), use nicotine salts in their e-liquid, which is known to be more addictive than regular e-liquid.
And then we have the press conference by an Attorney General, from Massachusetts, and it’s difficult to describe, without becoming exasperated, what was said.
There were 270 comments on Facebook, almost all voicing various degrees of frustration.
The basic propaganda spread by the press conference was that the Vaping Industry is copying the Tobacco Industry and deliberately targeting kids. Listening to the press conference you would think that that was all the vaping industry does, all day every day, is target kids like some deranged child catcher. They stated that vaping leads to hard drug use, that is causes asthma, the kids are sold on the lifestyle (??) Juul are acting illegally, and that because vaping is cheap (JULL kits are over $40), readily available and offers sweet flavors, it’s aimed at the kids.
Cheap, readily available and sweet. That means mass marketing to kids, according to the Attorney General.
Which got us thinking and mulling things over, and doesn’t this come back to same old story that perhaps we are not being told the truth?
Are we really in a post truth era?
When googling the definition of post truth, we found this explanation on Quora:
Post-truth is, ironically, a term created to evoke an emotional response to the use of emotion to drive new political dynamics.
It suggests that there once was a truth, but we as a polity have abandoned it in favor of lies that appeal to our emotional biases.
Are they, or we to blame?
The company being sued is in a curious situation, because it appears, from a distance, (and after that press conference also close up!) to be a case of scapegoating by the FDA, which is then leading people to not take responsibility for their own behavior. We have people that smoked, buying the product and then complaining they are addicted to it. These people were already smokers, and we also seem to have a very troubled teen – that is out of control, and this too is being blamed on him vaping.
Are these emotional responses to the situation, or factual?
Tobacco companies have been made to pay through the nose, ad infinitum for the damage they have caused. They lied and withheld information regarding their products. Class action law suits were brought against them, and it is readily found in the public domain the harms of smoking.
What of the damage that the anti-tobacco lobby are now creating?
Are they operating out of a post truth mindset? Is this knee jerk more than reasoned thought?
Because from this side of the table they are lying, and they are withholding, or at the very least spinning information, and not being truthful with the results. A quick search on the internet will bring up research paper after research paper that is flawed yet paraded by anti-tobacco as proof of their argument.
This article discusses the fact that had snus not been banned in Europe, over 300, 000 lives per year would have been saved. Is this true or propaganda? Could those families sue the EU for the deaths of their loved ones because snus, a harm reduction product was not available for them? Look at the damage that all the media scare stories, that have been put out by anti-tobacco people have done and are still doing.
Could we sue the media, or the people behind the stories for harm?
Vaping is less harmful than smoking, there are multiple articles showing this, yet – one company in particular is being targeted. False stories as to the level of teen consumption of their singular product are everywhere, and now they are being sued for selling their product, that can be a replacement for smoking, and has nicotine in it, just like tobacco. If you state that it may help you switch from tobacco, and it does that, but you find that you are now habitually vaping – who is to blame? How much is down to personal responsibility?
And then – is all this because we live in a society that values legal/illegal over what is right v’s what is wrong? What we can get away with versus what is morally correct?
If we go down the road of right versus wrong, then no one should be lying to us – we should know the truth about nicotine, about the options available to us, we should know the truth about those options, and we should be able to exercise personal responsibility and face the consequences of it. Not a sexy thought, no post truth identity politics, no lobbying on the side, no emotional hysterics, just plain facts.
Now that could be a life changing and lifesaving paradigm.