Deadly and Dangerous, Vaping should be banned….

And Other Ranting from the Lunatic Fringe

It isn’t just the anti-smoking individuals and groups that want the electronic cigarette industry to fold up and fade away. It’s people from all walks of life, including everyday normal people who are scared to death, and ‘some’ smokers who have the wrong idea about e cigarettes and who are also scared to death. Ignorance over e cigarettes is commonplace, much more so than I ever believed. What they stubbornly believe in has no basis in fact, but since when did facts matter?

I know many people still believe that Big Tobacco wants to see the electronic cigarette fail, but that’s just not the case anymore. They want to control it, sure, but they don’t want it to disappear. Johnson Creek’s sale to Republic Tobacco should be all the evidence you need. There will be more, many more, such acquisitions this year. This is about something far more powerful than Big Tobacco.

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Why are all these people so frightened of electronic cigarettes? Because when it comes to getting the real facts out about the harmlessness of e cigarettes, our side is doing a horrible job of it. That includes Spinfuel eMagazine; we’re not excluding us from blame.

The fact is, for those that want to see a complete ban, e cigarettes are worse than tobacco cigarettes. Sure, tobacco cigarettes cause cancer, heart disease, strokes, and early death, but at least it takes time to do so. Electronic cigarettes can kill you in single heartbeat, by blowing up in your face, or by inhaling its poison. Just ask around.

Think I’m kidding?

Just the other day my wife was getting her hair cut at the salon she has been going to for the past four years, ever since arriving here in the Sunshine State. She made the mistake of bringing her e cigarette along this time. What she experienced while there told me everything I needed to know about how ignorant the populace is when it comes to e cigarettes, and how much of a battle remains.

Half the employees at the salon are smokers; my wife knows this because of how often they stand between the front of the shop and the back door smoking. When someone comes in they toss the cigarette out the back door and come to the front.  Seeing this behavior, my wife decided to remove her e cigarette from her purse to take a drag from it. The woman cutting her hair was shocked to see it, and with her hands waving in the air, she exclaimed to the others in the salon that my wife was smoking “one of those electric cigarettes!” After a few seconds she asked my wife, “Aren’t you afraid it could blow up in your face?! I’m scared to death to even touch one!”

My wife tried to engage her, and the other stylists and customers who were suddenly interested, and concerned, about what was happening. In an even keeled, fact-filled attempt at conversation over e cigarettes, and how they could save smoker’s lives, she tried in vain to calm her stylist down.

The woman cutting my wife’s hair was one of the shop’s smokers too. She reeked of tobacco, as she always did, but my wife isn’t the kind of person to mention something like that. Lisa, my wife, was a smoker, for years. She thought that by engaging her stylist in a conversation about vaping that maybe she might be interested in hearing what she had to say, or would at least feel better about being this close to one.

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Nothing my wife said mattered, because her stylist told her she would never smoke an electric cigarette because there was “no telling what kind of poison is in those things”.  After that strange remark, Lisa innocently asked what she meant by that.

This ‘smoker’ went off on a rant about how dangerous it was to smoke the chemicals that were in these ‘electric cigarettes’. She told her that she had “heard” that the ‘smoking liquid’ inside was poison, and contained anti-freeze. She said it was much more dangerous than tobacco because at least tobacco was “organic”. She said that she had read news reports all the time about the dangers of “those things” and how they are going to be banned anyway, made illegal, and pulled off the market, and how politicians were working hard to see them banned.

At this point my wife did what anyone would do under similar circumstances; she pulled back, listened and sat quietly. After all, the woman had a pair of scissors in her hands and could do some serious damage if she were suddenly more upset or distracted than she already was.

Over the next 45 minutes the salon lit up in a strange conversation about “electric cigarettes” and although not a single person there knew anything about them, they all considered themselves experts. Out of more than a dozen people there that day only one person was neutral on the subject. Her comment? “They are popular these days”. She probably vapes herself, or knows someone that does, but she was smart enough to stay out of the conversation.

After a while, a consensus formed from the conversation, and it was that smoking cigarettes was pretty stupid, but smoking electric cigarettes was downright deadly and dangerous.

While listening to my wife recall the conversation all I could think about was how many other people were out there with the same attitudes. Smokers and non-smokers alike being told things about electronic cigarettes that are so far removed from the truth, and it made me feel as though the battle we face is damn near impossible to win.

Legitimate News?

The problem vapers face is that “regular” people, whether they smoke or not, are getting their information from people they trust. They may say they don’t believe the news, but they do. They always have. If you think about it, how many times have you made up your mind over something of some importance from hearing the details on the news?  I do it, people I know do it… we have to trust something.

The big difference here being that ‘we’ have all decided to read as much as we can about electronic cigarettes, from both sides of the argument, so that we are properly and fully informed. I wonder how many of us do that when it comes to which political party to vote for, or what to do about unemployment, illegal aliens, or the president’s hit list.

Anyway, this is a problem. A big problem. And until we find a way to battle the lies coming from the mainstream press, attitudes about “electric cigarettes” will only get worse.

If you follow the Spinfuel News Blog you no doubt have noticed how many twisted stories there are every day with ridiculous claims being made about electronic cigarettes, not to mention all of the various bans and calls for high taxes. It never stops.

Spend a couple of hours on the News Blog and it ‘appears’ that millions of non-smoking parents are more afraid that their children will start ‘vaping’ then they are about them ‘binge drinking’. The argument today is, more often than not, how to stop children from getting a hold of e cigarettes more than getting a hold of tobacco cigarettes. Somehow this topic has overtaken all the other dangers teenagers face every day. Of course, all of this is ginned up news, but it’s still very real to them.

Based on the conversation my wife had, some smokers feel safer with tobacco than with e liquid. It may be ridiculous on the face of it, but ‘the people’ are hearing so much crap about the ‘unknown ingredients’, about batteries blowing up, and other garbage that gets played and replayed on the news constantly, that it’s all they believe. At least tobacco is a known danger, they say, something they can wrap their heads around, and something that has been around for a couple of hundred years. How bad can it really be?

And lets not forget the real reason why 43 million Americans still smoke tobacco; it takes a long time to kill you, and you can always quit before any real damage is done. At least that was basically what my wife’s hair stylist was saying. “I’ve only been smoking for 10 years, I plan on quitting before it has time to do me in.”

Is There Anything To Be Done?

Let’s look at an example. I’m not trying to upset anyone, or get overly political, but this example is the most glaring example I can think of.

How many of you believe that Sara Palin once told a reporter that she could see Russia from her backyard? She never said it, not once. Ever. Tiny Fey did. So why is it that so many people, especially people in their 20’s and 30’s believe she did say it? Because that is what the mainstream media wants you to believe. It is no more complicated than that.

Mrs. Palin could, and did, go before the media and say she never said it. Her “people” told reporters all the time, but no one in the mainstream media wanted to correct the record. Late night talk show hosts repeated it over and over, and it became the truth. Even a billion dollars in TV commercials wouldn’t sway anyone that believes she said it. That being the case, what chance do we have in changing the minds of people like my wife’s hair stylist? No amount of publicity would change her mind. Yet, if our local TV station took up the cause and did a report on the safety of e cigarettes, instead of false speculation and downright lies, it would change her mind overnight. That’s power.

The Takeaway

Tens of thousands of smokers are turning to vaping every month because of one thing, and one thing only. When a smoker reaches a point in his or her life when they finally understand that cigarettes are killing them, only then do they begin to look at alternatives. Until then nothing they hear, and nothing they read, will change their mind about smoking. In fact, reading, or watching news reports about the dangers of using electronic cigarettes only reinforces their choice to continue smoking, until they see the truth of the dangers of smoking, usually in shortness of breath, a cancer scare, or a heart attack… certainly not the safety of e cigarettes. Then, and only then, do they open their minds to electronic cigarettes. Then they find places on the net like Spinfuel eMagazine. People already thinking about the switch, or who have already switched, read us. We need to get to smokers before they start thinking about switching, so that they learn the truth before they want to seek out the truth. But how?

It is not always true that ‘a known evil is safer than an unknown evil’, but the mainstream media are out to convince the public that, at the very least, electronic cigarettes are an unknown evil. They’re not. But try getting that out to the people.

John Manzione

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