Vaping News

Be Afraid of Vaping (Because we told you to)

It’s been another week of lies, damned lies and Photoshop images.

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“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it,” said Joseph Goebbels. This, dancing on the edge of invoking Godwin’s Law, has become the stock position of public health advocates opposed to vaping. These lies are being fed to media consumers.

KTBS, based in California, takes a quote by the FDA’s Mitch Zeller out of context and juxtaposes into a story about a very rare incident of a Li-ion battery venting. Zeller did say: "Right now it's the wild, wild west for e-cigarettes. We are very concerned about this,” but it wasn’t in connection with this incident. Well, it couldn’t be because the explosion they refer to this week happened back in April.

But then the point of the story was never to report current news. Grabbing dated news, putting it into a montage and adding some shock quotes was merely scenery to slip in: “As for the possibility of a new tax on traditional cigarettes in the state of Louisiana, it could produce around $67 million in revenue for the state.” Mrs Shocked and Mr Disgusted of Shreveport will be delighted that an obvious menace is being curbed and delivering a windfall to boot. This is propaganda and information management, no more no less.

“We are standing up for you and your child's safety,” writes Rebecca Leclair for WHEC before scaring parents with shocking yet nonsensical data. “Also growing in number,” she writes, apparently oblivious to her role in this, “concerns and dangers.” Maybe the misplaced concerns are growing by virtue of such hysterical journalism but the data to support a growth in danger appears to be missing.

What data she does rely on comes courtesy of the University of Rochester Medical Centre. They have, she writes, “already revealed some shocking findings about e-cigs like how copper levels in the vapour is six times higher than in regular cigarettes.” Yep, it’s them again.

The University of Rochester Medical Centre are now the go-to guys for media types seeking duff vaping science. These are the people who brought you such classics as ‘making mice vape for 5hrs a day is bad for them’ and ‘we studied dripping by dropping eliquid onto the coil of a cartomiser’. Oh, and ‘we got tons of formaldehyde from a (dry burning) atomiser.’

What’s Rebecca’s real purpose? Take a peek at the end of her “article” and you discover that following all of the shock nonsense: “U.S. Senator Charles Schumer is fighting marketers pushing flavoured products that could be attractive to kids and get teens hooked on smoking.” It is nothing more than lies and half-truths to promote fear so that pointless measures will garner support.

But this week’s prize for “Stupidest Propaganda” goes to 6ABC.

To protect the children (it’s always about protecting the children) they doctored the photograph shown above. If you look at the labels you can see that the word “Candy” is in computer font. The image has been altered to emphasise the word – it’s the wrong colour and the letters are different to the handwritten ones. It’s been done to ellicit the response: “Oh my word, I have children and they LOVE candy. This is obviously aimed at them!”

But it isn’t, dear parent. It was doctored to appeal to your base fears. The lies are big and they’re being repeated over and over. Do not believe them.

Dave Cross avatar

Dave Cross

Journalist at POTV
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Dave is a freelance writer; with articles on music, motorbikes, football, pop-science, vaping and tobacco harm reduction in Sounds, Melody Maker, UBG, AWoL, Bike, When Saturday Comes, Vape News Magazine, and syndicated across the Johnston Press group. He was published in an anthology of “Greatest Football Writing”, but still believes this was a mistake. Dave contributes sketches to comedy shows and used to co-host a radio sketch show. He’s worked with numerous vape companies to develop content for their websites.

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