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Vape Madness

Vape Madness is engulfing the United States and the epidemic is spreading across the Atlantic

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Vape Madness is an epidemic; tobacco controllers are succumbing at an alarming rate. An example of how this ailment impacts on reasoning can be found in a recent Guardian story. The fictional disease of the mind is powering the United States to “a historic mistake” according to a piece in the Washington Examiner.

“We ignored the evidence linking cigarettes to cancer. Let's not do that with vaping,” write Dr Brendon Stiles and Steve Alperin in The Guardian. “Not enough is known about e-cigarettes and vaping to know their effect on lung health and cancer.”

It’s another assault that invokes memories of the fear campaign launched against marijuana in the 1930s. In fact, Styles and Alperin begin their tale of woe in that decade: “Dr Evarts Graham, a pioneer of lung cancer surgery, openly scolded one of his colleagues and former trainees, Dr Alton Oschner, for suggesting in 1939 that smoking cigarettes was a “responsible factor” for the rise in lung cancer.”

The duo raise the spectres of teen use, anonymous toxic substances, flavours and nonsense comparisons to the level of nicotine in a pack of cigarettes. In fact there is only one part of the article anybody would be able to agree with: “We remain shockingly ignorant…”

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and its Commissioner, Scott Gottlieb, mirrors the ignorance proudly displayed by Stiles and Alperin.

Guy Bentley writes: “Cheered on by a cacophony of moral entrepreneurs, an increasingly hysterical FDA is lunging towards policies that will cripple the e-cigarette industry, which is now the biggest challenger to traditional cigarettes.”

“To be clear, there is as of yet no epidemiological evidence to suggest nicotine harms teenage brains in the way Gottlieb describes. His intention to prevent minors from developing a nicotine addiction is, of course, noble. But claiming that occasional or even regular vaping is just a few steps short of developing alcoholism or a drug addiction strains credibility.”

If you are worried that you or someone you know might have contracted Vape Madness, Foundation for a Smoke-Free World’s Charles Gardner recently provided a handy checklist:

  1. Do you believe that cross-sectional studies can be used to prove causation?
  2. Do you believe that bathing cells in a petri dish with toxins is a good model for how those cells would respond in the human body where they are connected to a blood supply and normal homeostatic mechanisms?
  3. Do you believe that any scientific reports demonstrating that harm reduction products (a) help smokers quit or (b) are far safer than smoking... must be due to industry interference?
  4. Does your heart leap with joy when you read, in the news, that a Li-ion battery has exploded or caught fire, but only if the battery was in an e-cigarette (rather than a cell phone or other device)?
  5. Do you believe that preventing implausible and improbably harm in one teen (who could later quit) is more important than preventing demonstrable harm and death from tobacco-related diseases in 35 adults who can't otherwise quit?

Stay strong - together we can help the world beat Vape Madness.



  1. “We ignored the evidence linking cigarettes to cancer” -
  2. Reefer Madness -
  3. “Addicted to fear” by Guy Bentley -
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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