Big tobacco Vs. VapingSpoiler alert: this post is NOT a tirade on small-power, mass-produced gas station e-cigs. Rather, it’s a tirade on big tobacco’s influence in our world.

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Big T has tried deceiving the public by producing e-cigarettes that weren’t exactly the best alternative to smoking. They were infiltrating our existence by being sold at various gas stations. Their cheap, plastic, lackluster “flavors” can hardly be considered e-cigs by vapers who have tried an unregulated mod.

But…

…People wanted something better.

People demanded something that appeals to them, rather than to the tobacco company. Rather than vaping from a standard e-cig that was limited in its variations, they wanted freedom. Freedom to choose their own power, flavor, shape, weight… everything.

The entrepreneurial generation saw an opportunity here and made the best of it, by giving the people exactly what they wanted: mods and e-liquid flavors.

The ‘victim’ (Big Tobacco) felt threatened by this sudden burst of smaller companies that were gaining popularity among smokers. People were now vouching for anti-smoking ideas even more than before, since a healthier alternative was now available and the traditional forms had to be uprooted.

Big tobacco was feeling the heat of the all the losses incurred in researching, manufacturing and distributing their version of the e-cigarette. Their billion dollar global industry couldn’t be let down by a few young-blood fueled organizations.

TL;DR: Basically, they are saying that “synthetic drugs” can be used to lace e-liquid, providing users with more than a nicotine buzz. This argument is misleading. In an nutshell, Big Tobacco thinks it has found a new angle with which to try to shut down vaping.

Just recently, there have been a constant uproar by concerned citizens over the dangers of drugs being used in vaporizers. It is being said that that e-liquid can be substituted with other synthetic drug fluids and can be hard for authorities to detect.

In Florida, there has been a recent epidemic of a synthetic drug, called Flakka, among young people and teenagers. The DEA says synthetics are on the rise. In 2010, they saw no reports of flakka. In 2011, there were 5. Then, in 2012, there were more than 3,000 cases. The authorities have gone ahead declaring that “vaping is the biggest propagator of the use of these drugs.”

The fact that vaping can be discreet is being seen by many as a way of inducing drugs into the system without getting caught. Broward County Deputy Lt. Ozzy Tianga said vaping drugs is so discreet, teens can do it right in school. “There is no scent, they can sit in the back of the room and they think it’s funny. They are vaping and what they are vaping, again I cannot determine.” Whatever is in those vape pens cannot be known unless tested in a lab, which make the police even more anti-vaping, since this situation makes them feel out of control, or as they would put it, “helpless.”

Dr. John Cunha of Holy Cross Hospital said,

“I think that these devices do have a role in helping people get off of actual cigarettes, and that they may be proven safer in that case, but in the hands of teenagers and drug abusers, they are definitely very dangerous thing to have.”

It has to be noted here that a lot of the hate is being thrown at the medium rather than the material that caused the issue.

Nathan Howland, a therapist for Catholic Charities’ Omaha Campus for Hope, stated that flakka is dangerous since young people can overdose on it easily. On controlling the issue he also said,

“Of course you’re going to be angry and scared and concerned but have an open and honest discussion with them about what’s going on, why do you want to use this, and make sure you present them with concrete facts about the drug, not just things to scare them.”

Wouldn’t it be wiser to control the drug issue rather than a piece of technology that is saving millions from dying due to smoking related causes? It is a proven fact that vaping and e-cigarettes are 95% safer than smoking.

Logically, the argument that vaping hardware = drug paraphernalia can get real murky, real fast.

Just because the method of vaporization of e-liquid IS being used for vaping nicotine, that does NOT mean that junkies definitely WILL switch from crack pipes and syringes, to vapes.

Just because there is a spike in synthetic drug use in America (for example, the flacca epidemic in Florida), that does NOT mean that it is CAUSED by the prevalence of vaping hardware.

Association does not imply causation. However, causation is being implied when it is said that because of the association of drugs and vaping, vaping hardware must be held to the same standard as drug paraphernalia.

Rather than being based on fact, these claims are based on fear. This is a scare tactic meant to leave an impressionable imprint on the minds of the un-informed.

The situation points out to big tobacco; wouldn’t it be wiser for them to control the smaller companies that are steadily winning over them? Wouldn’t it be easier for them to control the image and reputation these companies and their products have amongst their respective markets? 

It is cakewalk for Big T to lobby anti-vaping regulations; it is a widely-known fact that they have been doing far more than that since a very long time ago, even before vaping existed.

Gregory Conley from the American Vaping Association recently wrote an article in The Hill that details the steps that Big T companies are taking to ensure the competition is negligible and almost non-existent. Reynolds American suggested banning all vapor products and e-liquids that have been the primary choice of many willing to quit and walk a healthier path.

It is also being suggested by many Big T companies that vapor products must be taxed and regulated, so much so that these small companies might just die off because of low sales caused by high taxes on vapor products, vapor hardware and other related accessories.

This leaves us with just one question in the end; what is it that stops us, the people, from choosing healthy alternatives?

You let us know when you find the answer.