Fear Profiteers

Posted 11th February 2019 by Dave Cross
Vaping is a paradigm shift in how smokers can legally use nicotine, but it has not been plain sailing due to vested interests having their noses knocked out of joint. America in particular has seen an orchestrated disinformation campaign rise up to smear this form of tobacco harm reduction. The Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Michelle Minton has detailed who profits from attacking vaping in her new report.

Michelle begins her report: “Public health advocates should welcome vaping as an effective harm reduction and smoking cessation tool. But even as the evidence and consensus on the relative safety of e-cigarettes has grown among the research community, the public’s perception of the phenomenon has grown increasingly negative, thanks in large part to the tone of news coverage. In fact, the frightening reporting on teen vaping has become observably more alarmist since January 2018.”

British vapers have been insulated from most of the American nonsense due to the enlightened position adopted by Public Health England and the All Party Parliamentary Groups collating expert testimonials. That said, a small cohort of Flat Earther-mentality public health ‘experts’ are ever ready to regurgitate nonsense from across the Atlantic to our home media outlets.

Hidden behind the shock headlines about teen vaping: “the evidence shows that teen use of e-cigarettes remains a passing experimentation phase for most. The number of adolescents habitually using e-cigarettes is low. Moreover, vaping likely leads to decreased use of combustible tobacco, which is lower among teens than it has ever been, according to the latest data.”

What is powering the spreading of misinformation? Is this action genuinely coordinated? Plus, despite fears of young people risking a lifetime of nicotine addiction, “recent research indicates that when asked what kind of e-cigarette they used, most adolescents reported using nicotine-free varieties.”

Michelle states: “All charitable and non-profit organisations must pursue funding to support and sustain their efforts. They need income in order to pay salaries and rent and invest in the projects that advance their cause.”

The issue, she explains, is that those organisations involved in the promotion of public health attempt to put themselves over as non-political and focussing purely on well-being. Minton argues, “health advocacy non-profits work as subcontractors for government entities, legally executing their shared political agenda. Often, a centrepiece of that agenda includes lobbying to protect or increase access to public funds.”

Michelle believes organisations and individuals attacking vaping operate to this formula:

  • Identify a policy goal
  • Generate media coverage to stimulate public anxiety, concern, or outrage
  • Leverage public outrage to promote policy goals
  • Leverage government/agency interest to create a feedback loop of fear
  • Fundraise based on success or failure of policies

She points a finger at government agencies and pharmaceutical companies handing over money to shore up political positions or generate product sales, while tobacco control groups reaped huge amounts of money:

  • $117 million to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids;
  • $150 million to the American Cancer Society;
  • $99 million to the Smokeless States initiative, administered by the American Medical Association (shared with the American Cancer Society and the American Lung Association)
  • $160 million to Glantz’s university since 1972 from Johnson & Johnson’s Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Michelle’s full report and interview with Regulator Watch’s Brent Stafford can be found below.

Michelle Minton interviewed by Brent Stafford

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