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Propaganda. Many of us hear that word and cringe a little. It’s considered wrong and manipulative. When I hear the word images of old Soviet Union spies broadcasting over the radio and handing out pamphlets with fake news come to mind. But the truth is much different. Propaganda is practiced all around us on a regular basis, and it’s much more subtle than a suspicious looking character wearing a trenchcoat.
In the vaping industry propaganda usually takes the form of anti-vaping news. You’ll see articles that talk about how e juice manufacturers are specifically targeting youth by using fruit and custard flavors and colorful packaging; as though adults are only interested in vaping juice that tastes like dirt and asphalt and arrives in a plain brown paper bag. It may sound logical on the surface, but it breaks down when you look a little closer. The inconvenient truth is the alcohol industry has a massive segment dedicated to fruity flavored drinks and clever marketing and no one says a word.
Official sources such as The California Department of Health did their part by releasing a pamphlet with the subtle title of Protect Your Family from E-Cigarettes. They make statements such as “E-cigarettes pollute the air with tiny particles that get trapped in the lungs. Just like regular cigarettes, the pollution from e-cigarettes may hurt others.” By making the comparison of regular cigarettes they immediately cause people to associate e-cigarettes with regular ones. People already have bad feelings about regular cigarettes so they naturally start to associate those same bad feelings with e-cigarettes. It’s subtle, but enough of it over time adds end and shapes people’s opinions. The truth is researchers at the University of California conducted a study and found a 10-fold decrease in exposure to harmful particles from second hand e-cigarette vapor as opposed to that of second hand smoke from a cigarette.
Fake news, biased opinions and incorrectly cited statistics are just a few of the tactics we run into on a daily basis. The good news is, we don’t have to believe it. Slowly but surely we seeing that the truth is coming out more and more. Just two years ago we were routinely seeing articles that quoted doctors as saying vaping was literally 1000x worse for you than traditional cigarette smoking. That after 30 years of anti-smoking campaigns are youth were at risk and it would all be undone in one generation. All because of vaping. They wanted us to believe it was a scourge so great, a foe so sneaky and subversive, that it couldn’t be defeated unless it failed to exist. So they attempted to make it into a demon. No redeeming value, gateway to smoking and other drugs, it normalizes drug use in children’s minds and sets a bad precedent.
At the end of the day, it’s up to us to do research and make our own informed choices. We can’t depend on others to hand us the important bullet points on a topic without expecting them to slip in their personal opinion. Separate the fact from the fiction and determine what it is you want.