It shouldn’t come as a surprise, the re-manufacture of vaping as a gateway to cigarette smoking as per government health agencies. It has proven to be demonstrably false, and more so all the time, and it really hurts the feelings of people in places like the CDC. I suppose it can make one wonder whether this has to do with some deeper conspiracy within government corporate ties, or if it is truly a case of ideological inertia. In other words, perhaps, the assumption has to be true because so much work was put into proving it was. Work, I might add, that was carried out before the trends had established a solid foundation for statistical interpretation.
There may have been, and on the state level probably are, deep desires to extract something from vaping that had been possible to glean from the traditional tobacco industry. It’s fascinating, really, that all of the hand-wringing propaganda goes from “concern” to “greed” as soon as you read that “other” article, or study, or wade through hundreds of anecdotes about people’s experience. It’s almost as if the desperation is one of losing a grip on something — an ability to control the symbolic space, a new market, and new businesses that sprung up so fast that the law and its agents didn’t know what to do. This is a scramble, in a lot of cases, to assert an authority in the field of experience despite, or in spite, of the facts. There is money involved on the one hand, our economy is not “better” even if GDP is “growing,” and this makes government hungry.
The more important insights, though, can be found in the business press itself — especially the more smug aspects like Forbes, which has this article, and this tidbit:
The divergence between vaping and smoking is even more dramatic when you look at the period from 2011 through 2014, when the rate of past-month e-cigarette use rose from 1.5 percent to 13.4 percent among high school students and from 0.6 percent to 3.9 percent among middle school students. Meanwhile, past-month cigarette smoking fell from 15.8 percent to 9.2 percent in the older group and from 4.3 percent to 2.5 percent in the younger group. Needless to say, this is not what you would expect to see if vaping encouraged smoking.
Although CDC folks express their righteous indignation about how the tobacco industry is sucking youth into their evil grips at a rate faster than cigarettes, it isn’t entirely, let’s be honest, wrong. It should be known that big tobacco companies are very involved in the e-cigarette and e-liquid business. Noticing a flat-lined and stagnant smoking market, to boost their profits, they leaned-in hard about something that had already begun in Europe (the UK). A trick, here the irritating part to government, to skirt regulation, heavy taxes, and mass settlement payments. So?
If we step back, and remove ourselves from tobacco’s big profit motives, and government irritated with not getting a piece of the pie, is there an objective positive angle in this? Most say yes, most of the research says yes, and this may very well be one of those fortunate developments in an aspect of economy that seems to be good for all kinds of people. It’s a new horizon of possibility for small businesses, a potential challenge to corporate/state relationships, and serious boon to public health.
Vaping is good.