Friday, April 23, 2021

Vaping in New Zealand Versus Vaping in New Zealotsville


Since 2015, the British government’s position has been that “e-cigarettes are considerably safer than smoking cigarettes, are popular with smokers and that they have a role to play in reducing smoking rates.”  Overzealous U.S. authorities, in contrast, have waged total war on these vastly safer products (here, here, here, here, here).  New developments in the U.S. and New Zealand put the American travesty in sharper focus.

The U.S. FDA Center for Tobacco Products spends about $160 million annually, some 22 percent of its budget, on anti-tobacco, anti-vaping campaigns like “Real Cost.”  The agency has previously demonized e-cigarettes by showing them invading teens’ bodies as worms (the original material has been removed by the FDA, but this image is still available) and depicting a magician converting e-cigarettes into combustible cigarettes (here).  Now the FDA has partnered with Marvel Comics to produce a ghoulish video that casts vaping as a “mind control menace.”  While this video hasn’t a fact to stand on, it apparently comports with the FDA mission to tell “target audiences” about the “harms of tobacco product use.” Welcome to the misguided remake of  Reefer Madness. 

In dramatic contrast, New Zealand’s Health Promotion Agency is conducting a major media campaign, dubbed Vape to QuitStrong, encouraging smokers to switch to e-cigarettes.  That country maintains an informative website providing facts about vaping, vaping versus smoking, and vaping to quit smoking. Featured on the site is the photo above.

While U.S. anti-tobacco extremists might be appalled at the image of a child appearing in a government campaign encouraging smokers to vape, this is public health at its finest.  The message is clear: The child’s father can live to see her grow up if he makes the right choice -- to step away from the fire.

No comments: