Vaping News

An Inconvenient Truth

The ‘Not Just Water’ steps up its attempt to spread misinformation.

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Mary LeVasseur is the Community Health & Wellness manager for Lancaster General Health in Pennsylvania. She is proud to be responsible for the “It’s Not Just Water” campaign that aims to “educate young people on the harmful effects of vaping”.

Her employer is keen to push the pharmaceutical company agenda, and she is happy to oblige. Consider the following, LeVasseur reckons: vegetable glycerin, propylene glycol, diethylene, formaldehyde, glycol, dimethylpyrazine, acetaldehyde, ethylpyrazine, malic acid, beta ionone, trimethylpyrazine. She says: “If you can’t pronounce it, don’t eat it,” as if that makes sense with reference to vaping.

Those were all ingredients in eliquid, the campaign falsely claims. “You may have heard that vaping is safe,” lies the website. “That it’s just water. That there are no harmful effects on your body. But the truth is, it’s not just water. We don’t know for sure how harmful vaping is, so we’re not here to lecture you.  But not everything is up for debate.”

But these devices aren’t toys,” says the local paper. “Smoking tobacco in any form is not a game.” It isn’t, but then vaping is neither smoking or tobacco. What vaping needs is a balanced coverage of the benefits and harms, not a hysterical over-reaction to potential danger and preying on the scientific illiteracy of the general population.

Just down the way, along Highway 222, lies the town of Ephrata. It’s where Kerry Medina set up her vape store. “It's an addiction,” Kerry says. “Smokers all started smoking typically when we we're young and dumb. It wasn't until we became older and had children that we wanted to quit.”

It was her quitting, and a desire to help others, that drove her to open her business. And it’s the knowledge she has that allows her to have honest and open discussions with her daughter about the benefits and dangers of electronic cigarettes.

It matters little to LeVasseur: “Vaping might seem harmless, but the truth is that you're taking a risk with each inhale. There's other chemicals. Many contain nicotine, and nicotine is an addictive drug.”

It’s all about educating them,” adds Lancaster County school board’s Mrs. CJ Freeman. “Helping them make those healthy choices and giving them the tools and resources they need to make those healthy choices.” All the resources they need except for a balanced version of the truth. 

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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