Public health leaders need to work with vaping advocates not against them

"@VAPESTICK: WHO report gives misleading view on e-cigarettes, experts argue via @reuters" This — Mike Barton (@Trellentor) September 5, 2014 Why is it that when hundreds and thousands of people feel strongly enough about something and state it openly in social media it is put down to so called Astroturf? Astroturf implies payment. I […]

Why is it that when hundreds and thousands of people feel strongly enough about something and state it openly in social media it is put down to so called Astroturf? Astroturf implies payment. I can state categorically I have never been offered anything to post my comments, nor have any of my friends.

Many of these so called public health campaigns are driven not by fact but by ideology. The number of times we as the vaping community (and yes we ARE a community of genuine people) have to debunk the junk science that is being put out there by so called public health ‘experts’ is quite frankly frightening.

If you want to see who is actually getting paid to make statements on twitter, try looking at the very organisations and some well known individuals who make false statements, cherry pick lines from research papers and fail miserably to back their statements up with anything remotely like scientific fact when challenged.

We are fortunate to be supported by real actual scientists and genuine health experts, many at the top of the field of both tobacco and nicotine science. The vast majority of which have no connection to tobacco, Ecig or pharmaceutical companies.

It is a real eye opener when you follow the money from Tobacco and pharmaceutical companies and find that almost everything that comes from the ‘anti Ecig’ brigade is funded either directly or indirectly by these two sources.

What you are actually seeing is not Astroturf. It is a young and relatively pint sized industry worth roughly 2 to 3 billion world wide and the consumers who use their products, being attacked by global networks of companies and their PR companies, worth 100’s if not 1000’s of billions per annum who fear that the new upstart on the block is growing faster than expected and is likely to threaten their income in the next decade or two.

Add to this the issue that the governments fear that they will lose all the colossal taxation and revenue they get from both of these industries and you can easily see who is employing Astroturf and other even less savoury tactics.

Sometimes we, as consumers or unpaid and unaffiliated advocates, grow frustrated by the fear mongering, deception and outright lies we see daily in the press and behind pay walls. We get frustrated by the tired old line about gateway effects when there is no evidence to support it. Zero, nada, zilch. There is however much evidence that refutes the gateway effect.

We are sickened by the callous disregard for our stories and dismissal as ‘anecdotes’. At what point does the number of individual witnesses and statements become more than an anecdote? 100? 1,000? 100,000? A million? Because you already have as many as 10 times that number already around the world.

If someone tells you the sky has turned green, you would rightly dismiss it. If a million people voiced the same thing, I suspect you would at least draw back the curtain and take a look for yourself. Anti Ecig statements and the people who make them seem incapable of drawing the curtain back. Their ears are stopped, their eyes covered and the only thing they can smell is the grant money for their next ‘research’ project which will already have a result prior to any tests.

In answer to why people outside of Chicago answered or tweeted (I am not from the USA), it is because social media knows few borders. There are literally millions of vapers and many of us chat about the latest flavour we are trying or the next new personal vapouriser that works best for us. We are enthusiasts, hobbyists and above all converts in the main from smoking burning tobacco to vaping and we have felt the benefit both in our pockets and in our own health.

When we see an unjust law about to be passed or an outright falsehood, we send a message out any we are passionate enough about the subject to make a comment or correct a misconception.

Do not forget. You are not simply effecting companies you are threatening the thing that many of us consider to be a genuine lifesaver. I was a heavy smoker from a young age and could never give up for more than a few months at best no matter what method I tried. There was a 50/50 chance it would kill me yet I could not kick the habit.

I vape exclusively now and have done so for the most part of 2 years and my health has improved dramatically. I see it as something that has probably extended my lifespan by some years if not more. When someone threatens that with deceptive or false junk science I am obviously going to feel threatened. At that point, I will want to lash out but being civilised I just tweet my thoughts and try to correct errors.

But then I am just Astroturf so why bother to listen to me?

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