Ignorance is Holding Back America’s Best Hope To End Smoking
Smoking kills people
Anyone who disputes this fact has either been living under a rock for the past 50 years or is just too arrogant or stubborn to listen to reason. Smoking each year leads to the deaths of nearly 400,000 people in America, either through cancer or other lung and cardiovascular diseases. The smoke from a cigarette contains on average over 7,000 chemicals. Of these chemicals, 69 are known carcinogens, notably arsenic (a rat poison) and tar (the black stuff they make roads with). Every time you smoke a cigarette, you’re inhaling rat poison, you know, what they use to KILL THINGS, and the black gooey stuff they use to pave roads. Smoking cessation has become a billion dollar industry as of 2013. Sales of nicotine patches, gum, and other nicotine delivery systems have skyrocketed as people try to quit their deadly habit. The problem is though, they don’t work. A 2003 study found that of those who attempted to quit smoking, only 8.3% of young adults and 5% of older adults were successful for 6 moths or longer. One of the nations best hopes to combat this trend is the electronic cigarette/e cig. Unlike “analog” cigarettes, e cigs (known as “personal vaporizers” “advanced personal vaporizers” and/or “vapes”) contain no smoke, no tar, no arsenic, and none of the other chemicals found in a standard cigarette apart from nicotine. Even the inclusion of nicotine is completely optional, as o% “juice” exists for those who don’t want a nicotine hit.
The biggest obstacle facing the vape industry is the fact that it still looks like the vaper is smoking. To those not versed in the concept, it appears that users are still smoking while the reality of the situation is that they are not. This is a classic example of the “looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, then its a duck” philosophy. This ignorant view has taken hold in the government as well, who wish to start placing restrictions and regulations similar to smoking around the vape industry. Vape products are also considered to be tobacco products despite containing no tobacco. This means that in some areas, they are treated the same way as cigarettes and other tobacco products and often subjugated to smoking bans.
The “Alligator Brain”
The “alligator brain” does not refer to the literal brain of an alligator. Rather is it a concept provided by Ken Bain in his book “What the Best College Students Do”. Bain describes this “brain” as the panic or impulse center of the overall human brain, basically the reactionary fight or flight response we all posses. When people see someone vaping, their alligator brain instinctively concludes that the person must be smoking. This is due to the vaper appearing to smoke even though the “smoke” is actually water vapor and the “cigarette” contains none of the chemicals found in actual cigarettes. The prevalence of this mindset is what’s ultimately stifling one of America’s best hopes to end smoking. The fact of the matter is that electronic cigarettes, despite being called “cigarettes” contain none of the harmful chemicals normal cigarettes contain. To treat them as if they do is an injustice by the legal system and a slap in the face to those who wish to curb a habit that kills hundreds of thousands annually.
The Way Forward
Electronic Vaporizors contain the following chemicals: flavoring, glycerol and food grade propelyne glycerol with the optional inclusion of nicotine. Apart from the flavoring, the glycerols are used in sugar free chewing gum and are food grade. Unlike normal cigarettes which contain a plethora of cancerous chemicals. They also provide no second hand smoke to anyone around the user, as the vapor is merely water vapor by the time it exits a user’s body. The biggest value that vaping has in the fight to end smoking is the fact that it still “feels” like the user is smoking. They still inhale (or not if they smoked cigars previously), they still emit a cloud, they still hold a familiar object between their fingers and they have to make relatively few changes to their lifestyle. Gum and patches can’t account for the fact that they are completely different delivery systems to conventional cigarettes. Gum is more like using chewing tobacco, which regular chewing tobacco users would appreciate as it still mimics the sensation of them using chewing tobacco. Most smokers I know who have tried quitting and failed cited the loss of sensation when switching from cigarettes to something else as their main reason for relapsing. They missed the feeling of a cigarette with the morning cup of coffee. They missed the feeling of smoke and the social aspect of their habit. Vaping eliminates all of these. One of the counter arguments people present is “well they’ll just keep vaping then instead of quitting”. So what? Why does that matter? What people choose to do with their bodies is their own choice. We’ve heard that argument before when it comes to abortion rights, tattoos and piercings in the workplace, different hairstyles etc. Why is this any different? Even if people quit smoking but keep vaping they are not harming themselves or anyone else. The secondhand smoke is gone, the danger to the smoker themselves is gone. What’s the problem with that? It’s far better for someone to vape everyday of their life than to smoke. Not only does smoking hurt smokers and those around them, but it also hurts the economy. Millions of dollars go to paying for the treatment of diseases and cancers caused by smoking. This is all taxpayer money. Vaping eliminates these costs to the taxpayers which ultimately saves us money and kick-starts the economy. So tell me again why people are so eager to demonize this technology? Selfishness? Greed? Ignorance? No matter what the reason is, the government needs to stop holding back a technology with the potential to save the lives of thousands annually.