7 Reasons Why The Debate Is Bad

Posted 14th September 2015 by Dave Cross
A meeting in the House of Lords, an online article on Inquisitr.com and the ever-present Twitterati advocates form three corners of a vaping debate this week. While many opinions and objectives run concurrent, will advances be made if objections are met by abuse?

As reported on the Ecigarettedirect blog, an all-party Parliamentary committee met to discuss electronic cigarettes. Many vapers and advocates were invited to attend, outnumbering the politicians present.  Those attending included:

  • Mark Pawsey MP
  • Martin Callanan MP
  • Two Lords
  • Clive Bates
  • Oliver Kershaw of E-Cigarette Forum
  • Martin Dockrell, head of tobacco control at Public Health England
  • Katherine Devlin of ECITA
  • Lorien Jollye of the New Nicotine Alliance
  • Louise Ross of Leicester’s NHS stop smoking service

The full details can be found on the aforementioned blog, but it is worth highlighting Callanan’s comments that the TPD was “a total balls up, a mess of a procedure,” that the “end of process saw a massive compromise,” and “there is no prospect of it being changed.” No matter what support can be obtained across the Houses, a positive future lies only in a successful legal challenge such as that being mounted by Totally Wicked.

Maybe the TPD will not be overturned but isn’t the process mentioned above a shining example of exactly how the debate should be carried out? Through debate reaching consensus good laws can be made and, if needs be, bad ones overturned.

Against this backdrop we turn to Inquisitr.

Dieter Holger penned a piece titled 7 Reasons E-cigarettes Are Bad.

  1. The effects of e-cigarettes are nowhere near as well documented as cigarettes.
  2. E-cigarettes contain plenty of cancerous chemicals.
  3. E-cigarettes might be just as addictive as tobacco.
  4. E-cigarettes have negative effects on lungs.
  5. E-cigarettes won’t help you quit.
  6. E-cigarettes might create the equivalent of second-hand smoke.
  7. E-cigarettes could be a gateway into tobacco products for youth.

Grounded in junk science from illegitimate sources, the author was amazed at the vitriolic response it inspired. His professionalism, intelligence and more were drawn into question across Facebook and Twitter. “Hours after I posted the list, my Twitter account blew up. I was getting hundreds of Tweets that were attacking me and my piece. A quick scan of my critics revealed them to be mostly vapers, e-cig advocates, and others associated with the e-cigarette industry. It shouldn’t be hard to see an obvious bias here,” he responded.

While many will claim that he was deserving of the response, exactly how does the abuse help the cause of vaping and harm reduction? As people decry the low support given to the Totally Wicked petition a lot of it is in part due to the abusive and self-appointed saviours of vaping.

And does abuse convert someone to another point of view? Does it convince them that their arguments were sown on fallow ground? Not even slightly. All it does is tarnish vapers at large as rude and tetchy, that none of us are able to be objective and instantly fly into attack en masse.

Psychologist Drew Westen conducted an experiment looking at brain function when people saw information that contradicted what they held as their world-view. He presented his findings in a book titled The Political Brain, described by The Guardian as "one of the most insightful books on politics and the art of persuasion in recent years." He recounts how no matter the intelligence of the person, the parts of the brain responsible for logic and reason go dormant while the regions responsible for hostile attacks lit up.

Is it not high time for individuals to recognise the damage they do to their own cause with their social media activities and embrace the logical discourse carried out this week at parliament? If vaping is to have a future it does not lie in demanding all those who don’t share your opinion get sacked and callings them *****. Given that I have not detailed the seven reasons promised in the headline I certainly hope so.

 Dave Cross
Article by Dave Cross
Freelance writer, physicist, karateka, dog walker