“Think of the children!”

It’s the mantra chanted by public health anti-tobacco groups around the nation.  On their self proclaimed mission to “protect the children”, these groups petition municipal and state legislators to pass strict and often over reaching regulations when it comes to ‘tobacco’ use and sales.  Erroneously, though not unintentionally, they include vaping in their strategic attacks.  This despite the the fact that vaping has repeatedly been proven to be 95 percent safer than smoking and has already helped 12 million Americans permanently quit the deadly habit.

So let’s do just that, let’s think about the children.  What are children?  They are humans that will become adults.  In fact, the average human will spend over 75 percent of its life as an adult.  Why do we care about kids so much?  Because we want them to grow up to be healthy adults.  Currently, 400,000 former children lose their lives to tobacco related harm every year in the U.S.  These deaths are preventable by encouraging smokers to switch to vaping.

Think of the children who are affected by smoking the most.  The children who lose their parents, grandparents, aunts, or uncles, to tobacco related disease.  The children who will not get to grow up with memories of reading bedtime stories with grandma.  Or the teen who will never get to toss a football with his dad because dad is stuck to an oxygen tank.

Smoking robs children of the best their parents and grandparents have to offer, and the experience of growing up with a whole and healthy family.  Think about what these children would be gaining if their loved ones were able to quit smoking once and for all.  Think about the example parents would be setting for their kids by successfully defeating a smoking habit. Think about the children who grow up in smoking homes, or ride in cars full of carbon monoxide and other harmful chemicals from combustible tobacco.  Think of the health benefits they would reap if their parents chose harmless vapor over toxic smoke.  Peer reviewed studies have shown vapor aerosols to be as benign as ambient air, while smoke from combustible cigarettes contains 1500x more harmful constituents.  Certainly the higher rate of asthma, colds, flus and other respiratory issues these children experience would be eliminated.

Vaping can eliminate tobacco use and harm caused by smoking.

Taking rational measures to prevent youth from smoking is responsible.  But condemning smokers to a lifetime of tobacco related harm by demonizing vaping, is nefarious at best.  The Royal College of Physicians, one of the most respected medical research groups in the world, states that “vaping has the potential to eliminate virtually all tobacco related harm and should be widely promoted to smokers as a safe alternative”.  If the objective is truly to ‘snuff out smoking’, public health groups should be embracing vaping, right?  Not so fast…

Public health anti-tobacco organizations are heavily funded by the state through payments from tobacco companies through the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement of 1998.  A large portion of these payments receive annual adjustments based on tobacco company profitability and the amount of cigarettes sold in the U.S.  Unsurprisingly, tobacco company profitability has been declining as less cigarettes are sold in light of people quitting smoking en masse by switching to vaping.  Smoking is well on its way to becoming obsolete in the wake of this technological progression.  And if people quit smoking, anti-tobacco public health groups become irrelevant and get defunded.

Big Tobacco isn’t the only corporate power whose profits are being edged in on by vaping.  Pharmaceutical giants have worked for decades to gain a monopoly on the nicotine market by labeling smokers as “addicts”, utilizing a ‘nocebo effect’ to convince smokers they are powerless to quit smoking without pharmaceutical intervention.  And since nicotine replacement therapies (NRT) only have a 6 percent success rate in aiding in smoking cessation, people conveniently bounce back and forth between big tobacco’s clutches and big pharma’s crutches.  This is the ideal situation for the pharmaceutical industry, who rakes in an annual global revenue of $2 trillion in tobacco related disease, and $6.5 billion in smoking cessation products.  By 2012, the e-cigarette had succeeded in cutting the NRT market in half, and has since continued to grow as an enormous threat to pharma profits.

Anti-vaping rhetoric is rooted in a multi-faceted conflict of interest.

It’s no secret that federal agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), are heavily funded and influenced by big pharma.  A 2014 court ruling in Washington DC exposed a conflict of interest between prominent anti-tobacco experts on the FDA’s Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee (TPSAC) and the pharmaceutical industry.  These included the scientific editors for the official “Surgeon General” report, “Nicotine Addiction”, which ‘coincidentally’ came out around the same time Nicorette hit the market in the 1980’s.  According to the presiding judge over the case, their recommendations must be considered “suspect” and “at worst unreliable” because of their long-standing financial ties to pharmaceutical companies.  However, this has not stopped groups with special interests from cherry picking “facts” from these reports.

In addition to receiving state funding through Tobacco MSA payments, public health groups receive the majority of their federal funding through ‘grants’ from the CDC and FDA.  This poses another conflict of interest, as these federal agencies are influenced financially by the very same pharmaceutical giants who dishonestly lobby against vaping.

This explains why public health groups are so intent on denigrating vaping – because their relevance and funding depend on it, and their benefactor puppeteers need vaping to go away.  With the overwhelming, irrefutable scientific evidence continuing to prove vaping to be a modern day miracle for smokers, these anti-tobacco groups are running out of strategies. Hence, the children.  When science isn’t on your side, distract the public with children.  This is a last ditch effort to manipulate legislators into enacting laws that will protect pharmaceutical profits, keep people smoking, and keep tobacco control groups relevant and on the payroll.

Anti-smoking organizations have stooped to new lows to stay relevant.

It seems public health groups will go to no end to get their agendas passed.  This includes cherry picking methodologically flawed studies, misrepresenting statistics, and even coaching children and teens to parrot their agendas before municipal boards, while wearing matching activist t-shirts and holding scripted signs.

Using youth as a mule to pass less-than-honest agendas and persuade public opinion is an age old artifice that dates back to the days of Hitler.  Children have long been the number one propaganda tool used by politicians and special interest groups, to gain support for legislation that has hidden motives.  Unfortunately, these children are only doing what they’ve been taught to do, unaware of the long term consequences.  Which in this case, is sentencing adult smokers to disease and death.

When public health groups use children to pass legislation that condemns adult smokers to cigarette addiction and death, they are hurting children.  If these groups really cared about our youth, they wouldn’t be lying about the life saving benefits of vaping and trying to keep smokers from making the switch.  Children learn by observing behavior of adults.  Many teens who experiment with tobacco products do so because the adults in their lives smoke.  Society is doing the right thing by educating kids on the dangers of smoking and teaching them to make better and healthier choices.  However, if we really want to reduce the numbers of youth who smoke, we need to start with the adults in their lives.

“Let’s save the children by saving their parents.”