The Anti Smoking Zealots continues to come for your Electronic Cigarettes… What are you going to do? Anything? Is there anything that can be done?

Tobacco cigarettes and the people that use them have been driven almost completely underground. Smoking is banned just about everywhere. And I mean everywhere. It is now common to see “smoke free” apartments, office building, and parks and recreation facilities. You can’t even smoke while walking down the street in most places. Somehow, someway, zealots have come close to wiping out every conceivable place in the US where you could possibly light up.  Yet there are still 43 million Americans that still smoke cigarettes despite becoming Enemy Number One.

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Still, after all the bans and all the taxes levied against tobacco and cigarettes in particular, people are still smoking. The answer, Electronic Cigarettes, are now becoming the next target for these zealots despite being the best alternative for the millions of people still smoking. And I just don’t get it.

I won’t rehash the thousands of articles all over the internet that say that eCigarettes are safe, or safer, than cigarettes or how successful it’s been in moving people away from tobacco. This is now all self-evident to me. Instead, I’d like to address a more sinister aspect to all this – control.

The perfect embodiment of this “control” streak in people, including politicians and activists, is Mayor Bloomberg. This guy is seen as a true believer by forcing people to do what’s good for them, as he sees it, and he using his power as he sees fit, without regard for ‘freedom of choice’ for those that elected this control freak.

(If he really were a ‘true believer’ he would ban cigarette sales outright instead of taxing them to the hilt. So you New Yorkers that believe this guy is trying to help you, don’t buy it. He works outside the ”intention” of the constitution all the time, so banning tobacco would help more than simply taxes them out of reach of most residents.)

Zealotry And Control

Zealots are unwilling or unable to recognize the rights and differences of others. They are fanatics for the things they believe, and to hell with what anyone believes. The zealots that practice this excessive “zeal” toward wiping out cigarettes runs so hot, so unstable, so… extreme, that anything that comes close to even looking like ‘cigarettes’ or ‘cigarette smoking’ is automatically sucked into their orbit of fanaticism. The anti-smoking zealots have turned their attention toward the electronic cigarette and soon a full-blown war will be waged, just as it was waged against tobacco, for control over your ability to vape.

Like the war on cigarettes, this is a war over the public’s acceptance of Electronic Cigarettes. Tobacco cigarettes are still legal, but the war for the public’s perception of tobacco cigarettes has been won. Hell, even I can’t stand to see people smoking a cigarette.

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If advocates of Electronic Cigarettes do not become proactive now the war will be lost. As it is, it won’t be easy to sway the average citizen, or even average smoker, to see eCigarettes has something different. We already have a couple of strikes against us; Electronic Cigarettes look like cigarettes (for the most part) and the vapor production looks like ‘smoke’.

Those that make up their mind over what they “see” rather than what is “true” have already made up their minds. “The Electronic Cigarettes is a cigarette in disguise.” “A new name for an old product. and “Smoke is smoke.” These are things I have heard from people that neither smokes or vapes.

Old News Is Still News

In the early days of Electronic Cigarettes there were some half-ass attempts to kill the product “in utero”. An early study that is thrown around today despite being untrue then, and certainly untrue now, had said that the “vapor” from some selected eCigarettes confiscated from a shipment that originated in China shows small amounts of carcinogens, and therefore eCigarettes would cause cancer “just like” cigarettes. We know its bullshit, even the zealots know its bullshit, but its there, written down and spread across the Internet. So they drag it out every few months and repeat it in their garbage editorials or features on eCigarettes and declare the “jury is still out” but it “seems to evidence” that eCigs are not safe… argh, it makes me angry just typing the words…

There are many such “nuggets” of lies out there to read, all put forth by those that cannot stand the fact that people are finding a way around their hard-fought victories against cigarettes so I won’t bore you with them here. Suffice it to say that none of this news is “new”, and that’s part of the problem.

Fighting Back

I wish I knew how to effectively fight zealotry, but sadly I do not. Everyday the Spinfuel staff talk about ways to do it, to get the word out that eCigarettes are not “cigarettes” at all, that nicotine is not, in itself, harmful, that ‘second-hand vapor’ is absolutely harmless, and other facts that leave no room for other interpretations.  But, like the zealots that use the same old garbage against eCigarettes our “side” doesn’t have a whole lot of “new” evidence either.

It’s almost as though the science aspect of Electronic Cigarettes has been settled. The 4 ingredients in eCigarettes, nicotine, PG, VG, and flavorings, have all been accepted to be safe for human consumption (nicotine does not cause illness in vaporized form, although it is addictive). While the science hasn’t been settled, do you know of any major study being conducted on eCigarettes right now?

It seems as though all the new information that comes across our desk seem to be related to how well eCigarettes work as an “alternative” to tobacco cigarettes. Still, that isn’t going to help our side win the war against zealots for control of the minds of non-smokers. They don’t want “alternatives” they want unconditional victory.

Seeing someone bring any sort of device to their lips and seconds later see some form of vapor or smoke leaves those lips is evidence (to them) that their work is unfinished. That’s where the change has to come from… we must find a way to convince the zealots that vaping is an okay activity that does not lead to drug use, promiscuous sex, vandalism, armed robbery, and murder. That’s a big job.

Appealing To The Center

When you get right down to it I suppose the only “victory” we should be looking for is the freedom to vape when we want, where we want, and not to be used as a “Tax Whore” for the government. We must continue to draw the difference between tobacco and tobacco-free products, like eCigarettes.

It’s not tobacco!

Early on the FDA fought to control Electronic Cigarettes as a drug delivery device because of the nicotine, and it was only a half-victory that they didn’t succeed. They wound up putting Electronic Cigarettes in the “tobacco product” category, where it sits today. This makes as much sense to me as placing a can of Coke in the same category as coffee. Both contain caffeine; both are liquids, end of story. But parents will give their 12 year old a can of soda (once and a while), but they wouldn’t dare offer the kid a cup of coffee (though I don’t see the harm). Electronic cigarettes contain nicotine (most do anyway) but that’s where the similarity should end.

I’m not happy that the FDA controls Electronic Cigarettes as “tobacco products”, just as I wouldn’t be happy had they been categorized as “drug delivery systems”. That said, as drug delivery systems they wouldn’t be susceptible to excessive taxation (surely to come) like they are now, and had they been categorized as “drug delivery systems” it would prevented the thousands of “investors” to start their own “brand” simply by choosing from a Chinese catalog.

Being categorized, as drug delivery systems would have forced the companies selling them to prove, through rigorous testing, that Electronic Cigarettes were safe to consume. Had it went that route back in 2007 or 2008 then today, in 2012, the answer would have been settled for everyone. On the off chance (very slim) that Electronic Cigarettes could cause COPD, cancer or heart disease this explosion in Electronic Cigarettes wouldn’t have happened. Had they been declared “safe” there would be less than half the number of smokers today and 100 times the number of ‘vapers’. AND the government wouldn’t be allowed to levy heavy taxes on them as easily as they can now.

Waiting for the other foot to drop…

The FDA is moving slowly toward some kind of regulation. Even if they listen to reason and find that Electronic Cigarettes are at the very least, kinda, sorta, safe, they are still going to prevent minors from vaping (which I disagree with but this is not the place to discuss that), they are probably going to disallow ‘candy’ flavored eJuice that doesn’t include a ‘tobacco’ flavor, and a couple of other rules and regulations that will work to show that the FDA made decisive decisions about eCigarettes. When that happens, congress will swoop down and make sure you’re paying a helluva lot more for your eJuice, and batteries, cartomizers, and atomizers than you are now. This is when we will really need to organize and change minds.

If most people continue to see vaping as just a safe way to smoke they will still vilify it and support heavy taxes because in their mind it’s still smoking. I don’t know about you but I don’t want to pay $50 for 30ML of eJuice or $40 for a battery, just so the government can take it and throw it away on “pork”.

So, for now and until the next election is over and the new president and the new congress are well ensconced into their new positions, we can expect to see no movement whatsoever in the area of Electronic Cigarettes. While that’s a good thing for now, it’s like waiting for the other shoe to drop…and that is always a real drag.

John Manzione – Publisher

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