Published on July 14th, 2013 | by Trick4
Boston Globe Compares E-Cigarettes to Fracking
In a huge stretch for a metaphor, Derrick Z. Jackson of the Boston Globe compares e-cigarettes to “fracking,” the controversial process in which water is injected into wells to fracture shale, giving natural gas a path to escape.
Jackson’s point, tenuous as it is, is that e-cigarettes, like fracking, are not completely proven to be safe, and leave us dependent on nicotine, much like fracking leaves us dependent on fossil fuels. It an interesting basis for an article, but the rest of the opinion piece is pretty weak on logic, relying on the same unsubstantiated guesswork as most other anti-vaping diatribes.
Jackson points at the growth in applications for vaping store permits in Boston, attributing the growth in stores to the entry of Big Tobacco into the e-cigarette business. What Jackson seems unaware of, or is simply choosing not to say, is that only one of the Big Tobacco companies (Lorillard, the smallest of the three) sells e-cigarettes in Boston. Products from the other two are still in limited testing, and not yet available in Boston. Further, products from Big Tobacco companies are generally not sold in dedicated vaping shops, but in convenience and discount stores. It is highly unlikely that those applying for this permit intend to sell the Big Tobacco offerings.
Jackson also falls back on the baseless argument that fruit flavors are intended to make electronic cigarettes attractive to children, asking “can these sweet-tooth evocations really be for middle-age smokers who want to quit?”
Respectfully, Mister Jackson, as a middle-aged smoker myself, who is happily vaping a Peaches and Cream e-liquid as I write this, yes, those flavors really are for people like me. Good-tasting flavorings are a huge part of why electronic cigarettes make such an effective substitute for traditional cigarettes. The nicotine is also an important aspect, but given a choice between a delivery method that tastes like burnt paper and leaves, and one that tastes like a dessert, this middle-aged smoker find it much easier to avoid cigarettes by having an option that tastes good to me. It is clearly ridiculous to suggest that middle-aged people do not like sweet flavors. It’s not some kind of strange coincidence that Denny’s, a restaurant that attracts a pretty mature client base, has a dessert menu — people of all ages like these flavors.
While Jackson starts with a compelling premise, like most anti-vaping arguments it quickly falls flat when it becomes apparent that his arguments rely completely on misinformation, omission, unsubstantiated guesswork, and finger-pointing at Big Tobacco — even when it is clear, in the case of vaping store licensing, that Big Tobacco is not involved.
All of the evidence indicates that electronic cigarettes are a vastly safer alternative to smoking that could save the lives of millions of smokers. That is not a position based on supposition and scare tactics, but facts. While Jackson’s article is full of doom and gloom, it is, unsurprisingly for an article based on a fear-inducing premise like a comparison to fracking, very short on facts — and that’s where it becomes clear that allowing the e-cigarette market to flourish is the right choice, based on what we know now. Human lives are too important to throw away based on the totally unsubstantiated fear tactics and blatant misinformation being thrown around by people like Jackson.
Image credit: Popular Mechanics