Vaping: Rage against the machine

In the absence of any credible news based on, or loosely on actual science there is a trend for opinion pieces where budding journalistic hacks seize the opportunity to make a name for themselves by cobbling together a mix of information, loosely based on other media stories upon which they base their own “informed opinion”.  There was a time when “opinion pieces” were just that, actual opinions from properly informed investigative journalists, whilst now it’s all about driving traffic to a website and the associated click-throughs.

This one is all about “vapists” and whether or not vaping is addictive. We’ve seen this all before of course, but there were a few points that caused my eyebrows to mutter “illogical” and raise a Spock eyebrow.

Last month’s convention came as vaping expands into the mainstream, especially among young people; in 2014, vaping surpassed smoking cigarettes in popularity with middle and high schoolers, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Something to celebrate, smoking cigarettes is less popular than vaping. This is something we already knew, combustible tobacco use is declining wherever vaping is on the rise so nothing spectacularly new here, except for this next excerpt.

The percentage of vaping high schoolers jumped from 4.5 percent to 13.4 percent over the course of a year, the CDC reported. A study in northwest England found that nearly 16 percent of teenagers who vape had never smoked cigarettes before

The “study” mentioned is the one from March this year that looked at “associations between e-cigarette access and smoking and drinking behaviours in teenagers”, normally I’d look at said study to see just what guff has been concluded, but for once I don’t have to as Clive Bates has already done his usual fine job here. Unsurprisingly, the bottom line is that it’s all bantha poo-doo. Furthermore, no survey conducted since this abhorrent “study” has ever found a high rate of never-smoking teens taking up vaping, there are some for sure, but the rate remains at 1% or less.

This op-ed goes off on a slight tangent by claiming that e-juice is heated and then it can be “smoked”. You can unbury your head from your desk now. This one sentence:

Vaping consists of inhaling vapor created by heating “e-juice,” which generally contains nicotine, a flavor and other chemicals, to a boiling point; then it can be “smoked.”

Demonstrates a complete lack of understanding of the subject for this “opinion” piece which does beg the question, why in the name of the Gods did this hack decide to write it? Turns out that this person attended an electronic cigarette convention in Rosemont, which of course would make him an immediate expert on all things vaping wouldn’t it? I think not.

He goes on to spout:

Because vaping still involves inhaling nicotine, the claim that it can help people with their nicotine addiction is dubious. The Internet is full of posts by vapists panicking because they can’t seem to put down their mock cigarettes.

Now I don’t know about you, but my device is actually in the other room right now and I can’t be bothered to drag my sorry ass off my chair to go get it and I’m not panicking because it’s not in my hand. There are a few that do seem to become concerned when they can’t find their device, or if they run out of juice, or foolishly drop it and subsequently smash their tank (and yes I have done that, and yes I felt incredibly foolish for being such a klutz), but they are only a few and usually confined to those that are relatively new. My question here is why choose the word “vapists”? Sadly, the ever-present Urban Dictionary may be to blame for that. If I were you, I wouldn’t click on that one. No seriously, don’t do it.

There is plenty of anecdotal evidence out there: Depending on the nicotine settings on an e-cigarette, it’s relatively easy to vape all day, inhale the equivalent in nicotine to many more cigarettes than you intended and feed a raging nicotine addiction.

Yet another cheap shot with the “anecdotal evidence” comment, if you mean there are plenty of real people that have, after many years of smoking tobacco and in many cases multiple quit attempts, then yes there are plenty of stories out there, I even have my own on this very blog. Yes it is “relatively easy” to vape all day, but as with anything you decide to consume your body will tell you when enough is enough, and whilst dear ol’ Nick O’Teen is hardly a benign substance it isn’t as lethal, nor addictive as many are led to believe.

While nicotine is certainly not the most deadly component of cigarettes, it is not particularly similar to caffeine, which is a line continually peddled by Big Tobacco-funded e-cigarette companies. As University of California-San Francisco professor Stanton Glantz notes on his blog, nicotine is not caffeine.

Oh yes, this delightful journalistic hack quotes every vapers friend Frampton Blands, and the blog he refers to is one of Frampton’s most “unique” entries, that is to say it’s deeply ingrained that anything to do with smoking, be it tobacco or dear ol’ Nick O’Teen is basically evil. Not to mention he takes a random pop at Professors Hajek and Britton, and yes Frampton can’t even spell Hajeks’ name, he adds a “c” to make “Hajeck”. Oh, did I mention that Blands believes Nick O’Teen is carcinogenic? Yeah, that’s how useless he is.

It is interesting that this hack talks to a professor at Boston University, the same professor that was involved in the “Behind The Vapor” page on the BU website, so it is unsurprising that calling for “many more” studies appeared in this mish-mash of an op-ed. Last time I checked there were over 200 studies on vapour products alone, with over 1000 on the individual ingredients that make up the e-liquids.

Amusingly, he compares the manufacture of e-liquid to the production of Moonshine during the Prohibition.

A lack of FDA regulation on how e-juice is made is also frustrating health advocates. Many small vape shops make their own e-juice in the back of the store, with no government oversight. Kind of like how, during Prohibition, people made moonshine in their bathtubs that sometimes made people go blind.

If you hummed the theme to “Dukes of Hazzard”, you and I are going to get on splendidly but I’m driving.

Another term that this budding journo likes is “vape bro”:

They’re similar to a regular bro—shorts, tank or muscle tee (it is summer, after all); white socks in New Balances; one of those tiny drawstring backpacks

Yet another label that should annoy the feck out of me, but instead it simply amuses me. If this chump believes he is an “expert” on vaping, he has a lot to learn.