Just wanted to touch base here, to let anyone who cares know that I haven't died, despite my total absence over the last couple weeks: I've had the flu! Which took me completely by surprise, it being April and all – flu is bad enough all by itelf, but try having it when all the trees are in the middle of procreation season, spewing their yellow-green pollen EVERYWHERE. I'm not allergic to tree pollen, but when the air is thick with it, it's hard for ANYONE to breathe; when that "anyone" also happens to be asthmatic, AND have the flu... well, it's been sounding like a TB ward around here lately.
I am somewhat on the mend; still coughing to try and clear my lungs of all the excess caused by both the flu and all this damned pollen, but definitely getting better. Hopefully I'll soon be able to get back to lambasting the Smoke-Nazis and the Tobacco Control Cartel.
In my previous posts, I’ve touched on the many flagrant lies that Tobacco Control attempts to pass off as truth: that secondary smoke is lethally dangerous; that higher prices will motivate smokers to quit; that nicotine is "addictive;" that NRT actually works; that vaping is a “gateway” to smoking; that there is an “epidemic” of “youth vaping" – and last but certainly not least, in the last week, they’ve even scraped the bottom so hard as to present 35 seizures by vapers, in the last ten years, amongst a field of (roughly) 10 to 15 million vapers, as some sort of “hazard” of vaping – though they do manage to (grudgingly) admit that they have no “proof” of any link between those very few seizures and vaping – I know; shocker, right? 🤣 A friend of mine on Twitter has opined that such a tiny number of seizures, in a group that large, over that length of time, surely indicates that vaping is the best anticonvulsant ever created.
Be that as it may, in this post I'd like to show you the actual statistics, as noted in the title, for this so-called "epidemic of youth vaping," so that you may see for yourself that it is utterly fictitious, fabricated, completely imaginary.
First off, I'd like to thank James Dunsworth of ecigarettedirect.co.uk for sharing the lovely graphics with me, after reading my last post, Kids Under the Bus, Vapers down the Slope. The pertinent data was supplied by ASH UK (for the UK data), and the National Youth Tobacco Survey (for the US data), but the graphics themselves came from ecigarettedirect.co.uk – kudos, and thank you! I could never have done such an amazing job! There is one last graphic, some of whose data was provided by the Australian Secondary Students Use of Tobacco, Alcohol, Over-the-Counter Drugs, and Illicit Substances survey, which is the only info regarding Australia that I decided to include in this post; thanks to their total ban on vaping with nicotine, the vaping situation in Australia is quite complex; in the absence of legal vaping with nicotine as is done in the US and UK, it's simply too complicated a situation to be really pertinent to this particular post – however, the data I do present will make it very clear that putting any type of prohibition on vaping will drastically limit the numbers of smokers who will quit smoking by switching to vaping. But for now -- that imaginary "youth vaping epidemic:
Most of the racket (such an appropriate word, since the whole purpose of this campaign of deception is to support the sin tax/MSA racket) about this so-called "epidemic" is being made by the US FDA, so I'll start with the US:
As you see, the rate for those teens in the US who have ever tried vaping really took off starting in 2013, reached peak, around 27%, in 2015, and then over the next 2 years, declined to a level just slightly higher than the level in 2014, roughly 21%.
2014 is the first year for which we have data on those who either occasionally or regularly vape, and both of those rates are pretty low; "occasionally" appears to start around 6%, edges up to 7% in 2015, then drops back down to 5% and stays there at least until 2017, which is the last year for which we have data.
For those who "regularly" vape, the rate appears to start, in 2014, at roughly 3%, rises just slightly in 2015 to around 4%, then drops back to about 3% and stays there (at least until 2017, which is the last year for which we have data).
Epidemic? Where? When?
The only one of those rates that might be said to be in "epidemic" territory is the rate for those teens who've "ever tried" vaping – from which we might draw the conclusion that Teens Like To Try New Things. But the rates of the "occasional" and "regular" teen vapers appear to present only another very well-known fact about teens: They Don't Stick To Much Of Anything. We have no data here for what's happened to any of those rates since 2017, but, given that the FDA has been on an utterly-mindless rampage about Juul since sometime in 2018, I'd wager that all the rates, but especially the "ever vaped" and "occasionally vape" rates, have probably climbed astronomically – because all that ranting from the FDA about Juul has almost certainly had the effect of "marketing to youth" – the very thing they accuse Juul of doing!
Right beside that, check out how the rates of teen smoking have declined since 2011 – the smallest decline being in those teens who "occasionally" smoke, at -32% -- that means 32% fewer than before 2011. "Ever tried smoking," or those who've smoked "in past month" have declined even more dramatically, to -43% and -47%, respectively. But the most welcome and amazing drop? Those teens who smoke regularly – 59% fewer than before 2011! Naturally, Tobacco Control takes credit for that stunning decline – naturally! But the actual fact of the matter is that Tobacco Control has done nothing different than what they've done since the '90s – except rant about Juul, marketing it to teens!
Anyone who has at least one or two functional brain cells should be able to see that vaping is the actual agent of that truly amazing decline in teen smoking – it's the only new factor!
Let us now examine the various rates in the United Kingdom:
The age group is the same as that in the US, 11-18, but the vaping graph is slightly different, in that the data doesn't begin until 2013, and there is data all the way to 2018 – but the percentage range is far different: in 2013, the year in which, in the US, the rate for those who've "ever tried" vaping really took off, it does the same thing in the UK, but starting at a much lower point: 4% rather than approximately 7%-8% – and the sharp climb, in the UK, goes only to 12%, not the 27% we saw in 2015 in the US.
Starting in 2013, "occasional" vaping (once a month or less) starts right at 0, climbs to 2% in 2015, and stays there, right through to 2018. "Weekly" vaping, which might be termed "regular" vaping, doesn't start till 2014, stays flat at 1% till 2017, where it "climbs" to 2% in 2018.
I see even less of an "epidemic" in the UK than in the US.
The chart for the decline of teen smoking in the UK is also slightly different than that same chart for the US, in that the data ends in 2016, but the pattern is similar: the smallest decline is amongst those teens who "occasionally" smoke; a reasonable decline in the rate of those who've "tried smoking," at 19% – and a dramatic decline in "regular smoking" – a whopping 45% decline!
In the UK they also throw in a metric for "ex-smoker," and that rate has also declined, but I have no idea what that means in this context, and since there is nothing in the US data to which it might be compared, for our current purpose that decline in "ex-smoker" rates is rather meaningless. It may well be the only decline for which Tobacco Control can legitimately take, or share, credit; over the long term, from the '90s to 2016, if there were fewer smokers, there would automatically be fewer ex-smokers.
One naturally wonders at the differences, slight as they are, between the two sets of data, the US and UK. In the UK, vaping/e-cigarettes are well-accepted by UK Public Health, and endorsed by their Stop Smoking Services as a highly viable and valuable tool for smoking cessation. Contrast that eminently-rational approach, to the many and varied lies about vaping disseminated by Public Health in the US, including the FDA, the CDC, any charlatan with a diploma-mill MD, and even a few total fakers who have NO relevant degree whatsoever (such as that sexual predator Stanton Glantz, with his PhD in mechanical engineering!) – even when looking at the statistics illustrated above, the "public health" idiots in the US are unable to see it as any sort of useful addition to smoking cessation!
Or, perhaps they see it plainly enough, but simply wish to discourage anyone – even teens! – from quitting smoking, so as to continue capitalizing on disease and death. As I've noted in The INFAMOUS Master Settlement Agreement, there is big money in selling death, and without that money, those incompetently-governed states which have gambled against their own cititizens by selling Tobacco Bonds will surely go broke, exposing that incompetence and malfeasance; the criminals responsible just can't be having that.
I think the difference in the vaping rates is actually explained quite easily. When I was in high school, in the '70s, it was far easier for teens to acquire marijuana, than alcohol – buying alcohol required being at least 18 (at that time), but, as I've noted many times, those selling pot don't ask for IDs. The highly-regulated substance, alcohol, was nearly impossible to get, unless one at least looked to be old enough, but the completely unregulated (by virtue of being illegal!) substance(s) were extremely easy to access – a ten-year-old could easily acquire marijuana, if he or she had the cash.
I think the same exact situation is in play, with vaping: in the UK, vaping is very well-regulated, accepted as part of smoking cessation, and for the most part, acceptable to society, but because of that rational and probably-strict regulation, it's probably much harder for a minor to get hold of vaping hardware and eliquid than in the US, where the "official" attitude to vaping is ignorant and mostly negative, and there is little-to-no regulation at all – even the ridiculous "deeming" of e-cigarettes as "tobacco products" is, at this point, more threat and intention than present reality. Which means that anyone in the US with an eye to profit could acquire and then sell to minors any vaping hardware or eliquid those minors desired – and the mere fact that minors aren't supposed to have those items is plenty of reason for those minors to go to great lengths to acquire them: vaping is the "forbidden fruit," and most teens love that! When you add all the "marketing to youth" that the FDA has been doing with the constant wild-eyed drivel about Juul, it's absolutely clear why there are so many more teens vaping in the US than in the UK – though still not at any level that might be described as "epidemic."
Another factor may also have some bearing on all this. In the UK, where vaping is socially acceptable for smoking cessation, it's completely accepted that one factor which makes vaping superior to smoking is the huge variety of flavors available, or possible, for vaping. In the US, all these dimwits so up-in-arms about teen vaping can think of nothing better to do than "ban flavors" – because the tasty flavors "make vaping attractive to youth." They can't seem to wrap their minuscule minds around the fact that the many tasty flavors make vaping attractive to anybody – despite the many available tasty flavors of alcohol (which don't seem to be in any danger of being banned)! This deranged preoccupation with flavors makes it crystal clear that the Puritan mindset of many in the US is absolutely inferior to the laissez faire attitudes in the United Kingdom: prohibition doesn't work, has never worked, and creates crime – such as those profiteers of all-things-vape, mentioned above.
Many vapers may have suspected that all the FDA's noise about a "youth vaping epidemic" was exactly that: noise, but had no real information to back up that suspicion. The data presented above make it very obvious: there simply is no "youth vaping epidemic," no matter how earnestly the FDA may wish for one, or even diligently attempt to create one.
Finally, as promised above, let's look at some true statistics from the US, UK, and Australia. This diagram tells you all you really need to know about the value of vaping:
Notice the vast difference in the decline of "regular" smoking in Australia? That country bans the use of nicotine in vaping – you can buy vape hardware, you can even buy eliquid, but if you want nicotine, you have to import it, and there are some rather stringent rules about that importation – so not nearly as many people have been able to make a complete transition from smoking to vaping. And while nicotine is not truly addictive, it can definitely smoothe out some of the rough spots, for those in early-cessation. I suspect that a flavor ban, in the US, might have a similar if not even more drastic effect on the efficacy of vaping for smoking cessation, since most adult vapers do vape something that tastes better than stinkweed.
This is exactly the reason that so many in the US wish to totally destroy vaping: vaping really does assist smoking cessation, better than anything that has come before. To many, human lives and health matter far less than money; if vaping is destroyed, all those who have invested in the disease and death of smoking, whether Big Tobacco, Big Pharma, or the Tobacco Control Cartel, can continue making obscene profits.
To know where the most grotesque and diseased corruption lies... just look at who's opposed to vaping. There is no "youth vaping epidemic" – just some dishonest, desperate bureaucrats terrified that their gravy train is coming to an end, and their corruption exposed.
Lately there's been a lot of noise about a ”youth vaping epidemic.” I put that in “scare quotes” because it's completely imaginary, there is no “youth vaping epidemic” at all; it's been fabricated by Tobacco Control (as nearly everything they say is fabricated) – for a purpose: to coax vapers down one of Tobacco Control’s Slippery Slopes, by throwing kids under the bus to try and “save vaping” for adults – so that ultimately, Tobacco Control can throw vaping under the bus. And every time a vaper parrots Tobacco Control’s “kids shouldn't vape,” that vaper is throwing kids under the bus, to appease Tobacco Control. Many well-meaning vapers do this, never realizing that they have been deliberately coaxed down that Slippery Slope by fascists with ulterior motives.
The important thing to always keep in mind when dealing with fascist ideologues is that they can never be appeased, and it’s very dangerous to even try. It's been a long time since the 1930s, but there was this little German guy (well, Austrian, but Germany had already Anschluss’ed Austria) with delusions of empire, who wanted the Czech Sudetanland. An Englishman named Neville Chamberlain went to talk to this German ideologue, then England and France urged Czechoslovakia to give up the Sudetanland to the little German guy, to prevent war, and Chamberlain went home spouting “Peace in our time.” Guess what happened next? That German fascist invaded Prague, dismembered the rest of Czechoslovakia, signed a Non-Aggression Pact with the Soviet Union, and invaded Poland, taking it over – some peace, huh, Chamberlain? That's what fascists do – they invite you to trust them, so that their next move is that much easier. Pink Floyd described it perfectly, in “Dogs”: “You have to be trusted by the people that you lie to… So that when they turn their backs on you, you’ll get the chance to put the knife in.”
Doesn't this look familiar to anyone? Has everyone already forgotten how Tobacco Control declared war on smoking, and smokers, and has spent the last 30+ years treating smokers like lepers while extorting and getting rich off them, simultaneously addicting gov’t to tobacco “sin taxes,” (because y’know, that’ll get the smokers to quit)… but now that the gov't is left holding an increasingly empty tax bag, Tobacco Control is doing their very-practiced “look at the sky and whistle” – while taking aim at vaping – the exact thing that has allowed hitherto-unprecedented numbers of smokers to quit – not those outrageous, regressive, extortionate, and punitive sin taxes! The Tobacco Control fascists aren't even waiting for the kids thing to be settled – they've already started on their next three phases: flavors, “user fees,” and “21 to vape.”
Tobacco Control started this several years ago, and July 8, 2016, the FDA published the beginnings of their “guidelines” about vapor products, and one of the very first items was that a consumer must be at least 18 to buy vapor products (they were still called “vapor products” then, as the FDA had not yet waved their magic wand and “deemed” them to be “tobacco products” – clearly the FDA has never even heard of The Emperor’s New Clothes). Vape shops and online vape vendors practically fell over themselves to comply, seeking to appease the magician overlords at the FDA so that vapor products would remain available for adults – and nothing has changed; all vape vendors are very careful to check IDs to make certain that those who buy them are at least 18 years old – which is how you know that the “youth vaping epidemic” is completely imaginary, completely fabricated!
The psychology of restricting vaping to adults only is rather subtle. Vapers, and those who support Tobacco Harm Reduction, know that inhaling flavored vapor, with or without nicotine, is essentially harmless – the Royal College of Physicians, in England, and also Public Health England, both assert that the risks of vaping cannot exceed 5% of the risks of smoking, and in fact are probably even less. That’s a very conservative statement, from a very conservative establishment; there actually has not been any objective, verifiable harm done to anyone, by vaping. Many experts who know something about addiction and addictive substances have stated that nicotine, in the absence of the many chemicals in cigarette smoke, is no more addictive nor harmful than caffeine – which is found in a great many soda and “energy” beverages which are routinely consumed by people of all ages – even teens – and nobody seems terribly concerned about the caffeine; some may get exercised about the sugar, but caffeine seems to get a free pass, though like nicotine, it’s a stimulant and vasoconstrictor.
Tobacco Control insists that vaping, an essentially harmless behavior that may or may not include any nicotine – nicotine is always optional – be limited to adults only, like cigarettes, and alcohol. It is indisputable that smoking cigarettes is bad for anyone, but certainly for young people, and the toxicity and danger of alcohol is also well-known, particularly for young people.
So what message does it convey, to restrict the sales of vapor products in the same way that sales of tobacco and alcohol are restricted?
When vapers themselves uphold this adults-only restriction, does it not send the message that vapers “know” that inhaling flavored vapor is actually somehow “dangerous,” and therefore our precious chiiiiiiiiildren must be protected from it? You bet it does!
And once Tobacco Control has coaxed or forced vapers down this Slippery Slope of “admitting hazard,” does it not then follow that Tobacco Control will find some new slope to force vapers down – such as a whole new Sin Tax, bans on usage, bans on flavors which are more tasty than stinkweed, and on and on – until eventually they make vaping as expensive, inconvenient, and controlled as smoking, and drinking alcohol…?
They haven’t even completely forced the kid thing yet, to hear the FDA bleating incessantly about a “youth vaping epidemic” (which doesn’t stand up to ANY scrutiny!), and yet they’ve already begun on the flavor bans, suggested “user fees,” and now even this utterly ridiculous “21-to-vape” nonsense – though cigarettes and other tobacco can still be purchased in most places by those 18 and up.
Many adult vapers are themselves so utterly brainwashed that they spout this “protect the chiiiildren” crap right along with our would-be “morality” enforcers, thinking that this will protect vaping for “adult smokers who need to quit.” And for a while, it may – but only until the Tobacco Control fascists know for sure that people actually believe the utterly preposterous stories they tell, and the fabricated junk science they foist upon the world.
And then they’ll force vapers down yet another Slippery Slope. Eventually we’ll find ourselves down there trodden upon like worms and insects, with what few smokers may remain, utterly despised, hated, marginalized and ostracized by society – yet extorted mercilessly, so the fascist ideologues have plenty of money to continue engineering society to their own intolerant puritanical specifications.
I am not willing to throw “kids” under the bus, just to purchase the hope of some short-term “security” for vaping. If kids smoke, then they need Tobacco Harm Reduction every bit as much as adults need it, if not even more – they have much more of a future at stake than middle-aged former smokers! But even if they don’t smoke, and decide to take up vaping, with or without nicotine (most teens prefer to vape without nicotine, or very low nicotine, as it tastes better that way)... who exactly are they hurting? Not themselves; vaping is not the same as cigarettes and alcohol, which are harmful to anyone of any age – vaping is at least 95% less harmful than smoking, and may be as much as 99% less harmful. And the “gateway effect” that the fascists have claimed over and over, saying that vaping will lead teens to later smoking, has been completely debunked, by Dr. Brad Rodu along with two other scientists -- you can read about that here.
Youth smoking is currently the lowest it has ever been, since anyone thought to keep track of it; if “vaping leads to smoking,” then where are all those new smokers? If you place the agent of that incredible drop in youth smoking completely out of youth’s reach… what do you think is going to happen to those marvelously low smoking rates? Do you really think that kids will just say, “Oh well, can’t vape, guess I’ll just… study for my test.”? Or do you think that if there is no possibility of vaping something delicious – and harmless – they’ll just smoke some cigarettes that were lifted from somebody’s parents? I know what I would have done. It wasn’t even close to studying for a test.
Let me spell that out even more plainly: there is absolutely nothing else that can account for such a drastic drop in youth smoking rates, except vaping!
I wasn’t quite fourteen years old when I started smoking; I smoked for thirty-nine years, and for the last thirty of those years, I wanted to be a non-smoker, tried four times to quit and just couldn’t do it – until vaping came along. If I never see another fourteen year old with a lit cigarette in his or her hand, I’ll be delighted. If that means seeing that young teen with some glittery purple mod with skulls or anime characters on it and a cloud of vapor that looks like whipped cream around that silly little adolescent head… I’ll take it. Because when that young teen gets a little older and decides that vaping is passé and rather stupid, it will be so much easier to quit inhaling flavored vapor than it has ever been, for anyone, to quit smoking – and in the meantime, those adolescent lungs aren’t inhaling toxic, carcinogenic smoke. Just flavored vapor.
Resist the fascist ideologues. In their effort to push us down their Slippery Slope by forcing us to throw kids under the bus… push back. Let the fascists know that you know what they’re doing, and why, and that you won’t stand for it. Kids are worth it. If you really want to “protect the chiiiiildren,” then protect their world and their future from fascist Tobacco Control freaks who want to use them as weapons against adults.
Throwing kids under the bus will not “save vaping;” it will merely give the Tobacco Control fascists room, and motive, to further restrict a life-saving technology.
One of the THR-supporters to whom I’ve linked, in the sidebar there on the right, is Dr. Michael B. Siegel, and on 03/17/19, he posted an article in his blog entitled “11 Million Lies: The Tobacco Control Movement is Committing Public Health Malpractice by Misrepresenting the Health Effects of Vaping.” While I agree that this is exactly what Tobacco Control is doing, I must take issue with one particular thing he says in that article. I’m often tempted to throw up my hands and say “What’s the use?” when it comes to rebutting any of the Tobacco Control fascists, but in this particular case, I keep waking up in the morning with this piece running amok in my brain; since Dr. Siegel seems not to be a typical Tobacco Control fascist -- he actually seems to be quite sane on the subject of Tobacco Harm Reduction (THR), unlike most of his Tobacco Control peers -- I find that one statement in the above-referenced article quite troubling. So if I’m to get back to my usual lazy late awakenings, I’ve apparently got to have my say about his article.
The statement with which I disagree so violently is in the very first paragraph. I agree with his first sentence, that it is wrong for public health to lie to the public -- but he then goes on to a lamentable self-congratulation of all the many ways that public health, specifically Tobacco Control, have made absolute pests of themselves with both the public and the tobacco industry and begun engineering the outrageous, regressive, and criminally-extortionate pricing of tobacco (which of course has become the blatant and punitive persecution of smokers, but I’ve already covered that in my piece about The Infamous Master Settlement Agreement, as well as in my blog post "And the Wages of Sin Tax...".). That self-congratulation for such heinous treatment of fellow human beings is bad enough, but Dr. Siegel’s first paragraph finally ends with one of the most egregious lies I have ever run across: “Clearly, honesty is the central value that has been at the core of the tobacco control movement for decades.”
I truly hate to imagine what Dr. Siegel deems DIShonesty, if his perception of “honesty” is the way that Tobacco Control has been lying to the public for decades.
Dr. Siegel goes on to say “In the last few years, however, I believe that our movement has largely abandoned truth as a central value in our campaigns against vaping.” That is certainly true! But the lies broadcast far and wide by Tobacco Control are not of recent origin, “in the last few years,” as Dr Siegel states, but have been part and parcel of the Tobacco Control strategy since its inception -- starting principally with their campaign against “secondhand smoke” which is for the purpose of sowing hatred and fear of smokers, moving on to an absolute redefinition and reinvention of certain terms (“addiction” and “addictive” are the primary examples), as well as misrepresenting, indeed, deliberately lying about the relative “addictiveness” of nicotine, which has led to the fallacious conclusion that nicotine is the sole reason for addiction to cigarette smoking -- and that fallacious conclusion is one of the primary reasons for both 1) Big Pharma’s “Nicotine Replacement Therapy” (NRT) products, and 2) the extreme difficulty of smoking cessation.
Speaking as someone who is now a non-smoker, I certainly agree with most other non-smokers, that cigarette smoke smells quite foul, most of the time ─ although when a cigarette is first lit, the scent can sometimes still beckon to me like turkey on Thanksgiving Day, and I obviously can’t afford to find that smell appealing.
However the plain fact of the matter is that secondhand smoke is not dangerous, to most people. Take careful note of that last sentence: I did not say that secondhand tobacco smoke is never harmful to anyone, I said it’s not dangerous to most people, by which I mean, healthy people without any problems with their breathing or their lungs, particularly in any situation in which there is good ventilation. In 57, nearly 58 years of life, I have in fact personally known three individuals who were actually, and rather severely, affected by secondhand smoke:
1. My son, as a child, who suffered pneumonia at the age of 5 and recurring bouts of bronchitis thereafter;
2. An old boyfriend, who was asthmatic and allergic to tobacco and its smoke
(and at the time I knew him, public smoking was still the norm, with few exceptions);
3. One of my uncles, who suffered rather severe emphysema.
In the case of my son, I do have to accept at least part of the blame, since I still smoked indoors from the time he was born until he was nine years old ─ because at least 80% of adults smoked in all the houses I lived in or visited as a child, and nobody suffered because of it, so I had no particular reason to believe that smoking around my own son could harm him. What finally woke me up was my realization of how many days of school he was missing, due to this or that respiratory problem -- colds, coughs, wheezing, etc. When I finally took my smoking outdoors, his respiratory health improved tremendously, so it’s clear that he actually was negatively affected by secondhand smoke -- when living in a small apartment with someone who smokes three packs or more a day, there’s not nearly enough ventilation to keep the air clear.
The other two cases, the old boyfriend and the uncle, were individuals whose breathing was already compromised, and thus any steady exposure to secondhand smoke caused them a severe problem, especially if there was inadequate ventilation.
But Tobacco Control would have the world believe that every human being on the planet is as sensitive to secondhand smoke as those three people… and it’s just not true.
If it really were true, then no one who was born before 1980 would be alive today -- we’d all have perished from exposure to secondhand smoke before we ever grew to adulthood. In fact, if any of this histrionic disinformation about secondhand smoke were true, those of us born between 1960 and 1980 would never have been born, because our parents would have expired before they were old enough to procreate!
Word-Redefinition, and The Role of Nicotine
These two types of lies actually go somewhat hand-in-hand. The primary word-redefinition which Tobacco Control has applied is to the word “addicted,” or “addiction.” They have done such a remarkable job of redefining this concept to suit their own purposes that it is now impossible to differentiate between “addiction” and “dependence,” even in a dictionary definition ─ but they are actually, and were originally, very different concepts.
The word dependence expresses a relatively mild situation: requiring some form of caffeine on awakening is the best example of that, and most of us can probably relate to it, the crankiness of someone before their morning coffee or tea, but even the most extreme cases will ─ perhaps grudgingly ─ accept that sometimes, one cannot have the morning eye-opener, or it must be delayed. And many of us have learned quite painfully that abrupt cessation of caffeine, after a long period of its use, will gift us with an excruciating headache, sometimes for days on end. Cold/congestion medicines also represent a minor problem: the rebound effect. Taking pseudoephedrine for an extended period, or using nasal decongestant sprays for more than two or three days in a row, will present this rebound effect, where abrupt cessation of either medication will render you stuffed up for as much as a week, unless you take more of the medication that caused the rebound effect, thus postponing the inevitable resolution. Both of these dependencies are frustrating in the extreme, even painful, but no rational person would ever claim them to be life-threatening.
Addiction is a different matter entirely. Probably the very best example of a true addiction is the addiction to heroin, or even to alcohol ─ to one who is truly addicted to either substance, consuming that substance becomes absolutely paramount, and the most important thing an addict of either narcotics or alcohol will do all day, every single day, is acquire that substance, by whatever means is necessary ─ theft, robbery, panhandling, prostitution ─ whatever it takes to acquire the necessary substance, the addict will do, with very little regret for having to do it ─ because the withdrawal from either is so extremely severe, it can even be life-threatening; withdrawal from narcotics can cause vomiting so extreme as to threaten one’s life, either from aspiration of vomit or resultant dehydration from hyperemesis; withdrawal from alcohol can even bring on a heart attack, or a “stroke.” When one of my doctors learned that I had voluntarily withdrawn “cold turkey” from alcohol, he was completely appalled.
Cigarette smoking can fall into this category to some slight extent, for some smokers, though not all ─ I was myself one of those unfortunates, and I well recall digging through public ashtrays, when those existed, to find butts that could be re-lit, or simply to find enough butts that contained some small amount of tobacco, which might be removed, combined, and then re-rolled. I also recall stealing money from the wallets of my parents, and my first husband, to acquire enough cash to buy cigarettes; I even once turned down a good job, because the Tobacco Control smoke-nazis had already engineered society to such an extent that smoking was not permitted in any workplace. It’s very easy to see that I truly was addicted, since even after I was given a diagnosis of adult-onset asthma, I was completely unable to quit smoking, and when I found myself pregnant with my son, though I tried very hard to stop smoking completely, I was unable to do more than reduce my smoking from two packs a day, to three or four cigarettes a day. The one time I attempted to stop smoking “cold turkey,” I even suffered some physical withdrawal ─ nausea, and constipation so extreme, I was unable to move my bowels for three weeks, which is understandable since one of nicotine’s physiological effects is stimulation of peristalsis; abrupt cessation of nicotine can slow or even briefly stop that rhythmic motion of the colon, so severe constipation is a very common withdrawal symptom.
But was my addiction to nicotine? Tobacco Control would say yes, definitely ─ but I have found, via first-hand experience, that my hardcore smoking addiction had very little, if anything at all, to do with nicotine.
Addiction is a serious problem which requires a true understanding of the nature of the addiction, and Tobacco Control’s dishonest (and self-serving, since Big Pharma funds most of Tobacco Control) portrayal of nicotine as the primary agent of smoking addiction makes it nearly impossible to get a permanent handle on that addiction, and become a permanent non-smoker. Anyone who has ever wrestled with addiction of any type knows how dangerous dishonesty is ─ it’s the primary motivation behind the denial which is one of the foremost aspects of any addiction, the “I can handle it,” and “I can quit if I want to… I just don’t want to” type of thinking. Indeed, any and every “12 step” recovery program points out that honesty is absolutely required, if one wishes to recover, and even after one has ceased using the addictive substance, absolute honesty is still required, each and every day, in order to remain in recovery.
Which makes the lies of Tobacco Control all the more heinous ─ you cannot treat an addiction without knowing exactly what you’re addicted to ─ and nicotine is sure as hell not the major part of the smoking addiction, so replacing nicotine is pointless, and somewhat irrelevant. I’m sure that Big Pharma knows that, and the FDA knows it too, because if nicotine was truly as addictive as Tobacco Control claims, there is no way in hell that that chemical would be available over the counter, and approved for use down to the age of 12 ─ as pharmaceutical NRT is available, OTC, and FDA-approved for use by people down to the age of 12.
Although on my first attempt to quit smoking, I failed to remain smoke-free for more than three months, and didn’t succeed in quitting at all on my second, I still hadn’t quite given up hope that one day, I might be able to finally become a non-smoker ─ after all, that last attempt and failure was during the process of becoming a mother ─ surely the best motivation possible to maintain one’s life and good health, and indeed, that was a large part of my motivation for getting sober in 1992. 1992 was also the year that nicotine patches first became available, and after I had been sober for six months, I thought maybe it was time to try again to quit smoking, so I got a prescription for “the patch,” and gave it a whirl. It required only one week of use to see that it was a total failure; not only did it not remove my craving for smoking, not even a little bit, it gave me severe heart palpitations, nightmares, severe itching wherever the patch was applied, and ultimately reduced me to a state that probably wasn’t too far from outright psychosis. I had a four-year-old son to care for, so my husband and I decided together that it was probably a better idea for me to simply go back to smoking ─ and almost immediately after I did so, the palpitations, nightmares, and nearly-psychotic behavior completely disappeared.
Three years later, my son was seven years old, my sobriety was quite solid, and nicotine patches had become available OTC -- I wouldn’t require a doctor visit and prescription, I could just go buy what I wanted, so I decided to try again, though using the second level, which contained less nicotine, to avoid the palpitations and hopefully the nightmares. But it was the same story, all over again: palpitations, nightmares, itching, and increasingly unstable moods and behavior ─ this time, it was both my husband and my son who begged me to please, go back to smoking!
At that point, it was very clear to me that nicotine replacement was not an effective method of smoking cessation, but when I saw advertisements for the Nicotrol Inhaler, I was intrigued, and asked my doctor if he would prescribe that for me ─ and his answer completely stunned me: because of my asthma, he was forbidden by law to prescribe me the nicotine inhaler! I asked him straight out, “So the AMA thinks it’s better that an asthmatic smoker should keep smoking, rather than use the nicotine inhaler to try to quit?” All he could do was shrug, and suggest the patch ─ which I rather rudely refused as being “totally useless” ─ because it is. So I simply kept smoking, because I could see no way to quit that didn’t entail ungodly suffering, which I was not willing to endure. As I’ve pointed out many times, the effects of smoking, terrible and life-threatening as they are, are cumulative and very long-term, whereas the effects of not smoking are immediate.
Years went by, and I kept smoking. In 2006, my father died of lung cancer, and still I kept smoking, despite remembering, every time I lit up, how horribly my father had died. Sometime in 2007, my mother was diagnosed with COPD, and she tried and failed to quit smoking several times, her condition growing worse almost by the month, until she finally had no choice in the matter at all; she simply could not continue both smoking and breathing: one of them had to go… so she finally managed to quit and stay that way, though she suffered horribly. Yet still I kept smoking. I saw an actress on the David Letterman show one night, with an “electronic cigarette”... and while it intrigued me, I didn’t really pay it much attention, because I had no wish for the suffering that I was convinced I would suffer in any further quit attempts.
Then came the winter of 2013-2014: the coldest winter in over thirty years, here in Atlanta. I’d been an outdoors-only smoker for just sixteen of those years, and had never endured cold this severe, so extreme that just slipping out for a few minutes to puff down half a cigarette was simply intolerable. So I started thinking about the electronic cigarettes, thinking I should try them, so that maybe on cold nights, I wouldn’t have to go out and nearly freeze to death despite wearing twenty pounds of outerwear.
I’ve described my beginnings as a vaper on the “My Vaping Story” page, so if you’re interested, you can read the details there. Suffice it to say, e-cigarettes worked far beyond my wildest imaginings, such that three weeks after I began vaping regularly, I became a non-smoker, for the very first time since 1975 ─ if you don’t count the wretched three months of my first attempt in 1984, and the miserable couple of weeks during the ‘90s when I tried the patch.
The aspect which is relevant here is the nicotine: when I bought eliquid for the first time, the vape shop personnel assured me that “all new vapers” needed 18mg/ml ejuice -- which very soon (within a couple hours) made me so ill, I started popping Dramamine and ginger capsules like Pez, praying for death. The next day, I went to a different store, and bought some 12mg/ml -- which also made me so ill, it nearly cured me of the whole vaping idea forever, though it did take a little longer. As a smoker for nearly four decades, I thought this was damned strange, but I finally ordered some 6mg/ml eliquid, and having done some research, ordered what I thought would be a reasonable facsimile of the flavor of the Virginia Slims I smoked for 30+ years ─ and it did turn out to be so remarkably similar, at my very first taste, I shouted “EUREKA!” And the best news of all was that I could vape 6mg pretty much every waking minute, and it never made me nauseated.
My first six months as a vaper were complicated by my emergency appendectomy and then the miserable recovery from it, a month-long relapse to dual-use, return to vaping-only, return of cravings, and eventual addition of WTA to my eliquid, which finally enabled me to settle back into the contented vaping I’d enjoyed before my appendix went ballistic, and I spent the next fifteen months slowly and systematically weaning off the WTA ─ which is every bit as addictive as smoking, but much easier to titrate downward and wean off.
When I was finally finished with WTA in March 2016, I was using 8mg/ml nicotine, and I remained at that level through the spring and early summer… but when the first hammer blow from the FDA fell on July 8, 2016, I thought it would be a good idea to wean down further on my nicotine level, so I set about doing that ─ and compared to weaning off WTA, it was like falling off a log; by December I was at 5mg, at which level I remained through the winter. During 2017, there was yet more idiocy from the FDA, so I thought it would be a good idea to wean down to 3mg ─ and again, it was an absolute piece of cake.
Late in 2017, I realized I was having some mental “focusing” problems, and a very mild version of “dysphasia,” which manifested as what I call the “tip of the tongue problem” ─ knowing the word you want, feeling it right there “on the tip of the tongue,” but taking minutes if not days to come up with the word from memory. This quite alarmed me, having one grandmother who perished from Alzheimers, and another grandmother who spent the last fifteen years of her long life gradually losing herself. So I decided to adjust my nicotine slightly upward, until it was at 4.5mg/ml, and I realized that I was no longer suffering the memory, attention, or “tip of the tongue” problems.
Then, at the end of January 2018, I managed to catch the severe flu that was knocking down the whole country ─ and at just about the point that my fever started climbing, I realized I could not vape without severe discomfort and coughing ─ so I retired to my living-room couch and left my “mod” on my desk, and didn’t even look at it fornearly two full weeks ─ I could barely even breathe, I sure as hell wasn’t about to try vaping. Which was quite unlike my experience when I suffered a severe flu in 1996 ─ I was couch-bound that time too, for a full three weeks… but I smoked throughout the entire illness, because when you’re a smoker, you can’t just “not smoke,” merely because you’re ill ─ you smoke, no matter what, because going without smoking is simply hell.
If I hadn’t known it already, this experience during the flu in 2018 would have answered any questions I had about the “addictiveness” of plain nicotine ─ it’s simply not addictive, or I could not have gone nearly two full weeks without vaping, without suffering withdrawal.
I was a smoker for 39 years; I know what withdrawal from cigarettes feels like ─ I got well-acquainted with it in my “cold turkey” attempt, and in my two “patch” attempts ─ and nicotine replacement does NOTHING for that withdrawal! And in 2018, as a vaper who had been free of cigarettes for, at that time, about three and a half years, but still used nicotine, I could go completely without vaping, completely without nicotine, for nearly two full weeks, without the slightest withdrawal symptom.
This tells me, loud and clear, that Tobacco Control is a lying bastard on the subject of nicotine, and if anyone, including Dr. Siegel, truly believes that Tobacco Control has been “honest” in its communications, particularly on the subjects of addiction, and nicotine, they are lying to themselves. This is not something that has begun "in the last few years," as Dr. Siegel seems to believe or would have his readers believe: Tobacco Control has been disseminating these lies for decades.
So... 11,000,000 lies, plus 1. And counting.
I highly recommend these articles:
Brad Rodu - 03/13/19
FDA’s Campaign Against Tobacco Retailers Doesn’t Hold Up to Inspection
Frank Davis - 03/12/19
Three Matters of Interest
Frank Davis - 03/10/19
The Self-Destruction of Tobacco Control
Frank Davis - 03/09/19
Dr Michael Siegel - 02/23/19
Pennsylvania Department of Health Urges Parents to Lie to their Kids About the Dangers of E-Cigarettes
A little more than 20 years ago, my husband and I had finally established sufficient credit to be able to finance a late-model used car, rather than having to pay cash for a junker that might or might not last another thousand miles. After we paid on that car for a couple years, my husband started mentioning things that included the phrase “after we pay off the car.” But I got to thinking on that, mainly that the car was now two years older than when we bought it, when it was already several years old, and after paying it off, it would be still older, and thus would be more and more prone to requiring expensive repairs. So I broached the idea that we really needed not to pay it off, but rather, in a couple years when it started needing this or that repair, to simply trade it in for another, slightly newer vehicle.
For anyone who’s ever had to live paycheck-to-paycheck, this logic is unassailable: if you’re paying X amount of dollars each month for a car, and then pay it off, you will find some other use for that X amount of dollars. Then when you truly require a newer vehicle… you won’t have any budget for that “new” car payment.
If you never pay off a vehicle, but simply trade it in when repairs on it become a regular feature, you never face that total lack of budget.
Your new vehicle will almost certainly cost more than the last, and because of that higher price and probable higher interest rates, your new car payment will be higher than the last, but for the most part, you already have a budget for a car payment, simply by virtue of already having a monthly car payment.
Though my husband and myself both have a little college education, neither of us has a college degree... yet we were able to figure out the elementary logic of maintaining a vehicle budget, in order to always have a vehicle we can depend on.
Which begs the question: with all the fancy college degrees represented by our lawmakers, how could they not see that putting a “sin tax” on cigarettes was a seriously bad idea?
The supposed reason for “sin taxes,” on any products, is to discourage the use of those products. But smoking may well be the most profound addiction ever known to man, so those who are addicted are going to always find the money to purchase cigarettes somewhere, somehow -- I many times bought cigarettes rather than food, if that was the only way I could afford to smoke; my husband rolled pennies on a regular basis, to get me one more pack on the day before payday -- I’ve even smoked butts from public ashtrays, when public ashtrays existed.
And for years, decades, greedy politicians could count on this sin tax cash cow. After all, financial experts told them that since smoking is an addictive habit, increasing the price of tobacco products would do little to curb the number of sales made -- smokers will do whatever they have to do, to keep smoking.
But what happens if people do start quitting smoking in hitherto-unprecedented numbers? You mean to tell me that NO ONE ever wondered that, or asked it out loud? Wasn’t the supposed PURPOSE of that sin tax to encourage people to quit smoking? Wasn’t that what Tobacco Control told you? No one thought it might be prudent to put some of that sin tax money, and MSA money, into a just-in-case trust? Just on the off-chance, you know, that people ever did start quitting smoking in droves… after you found a use for all that sin tax money... and now are addicted to it.
How is it possible that two working-class people without a college degree between them could figure out something this elementary, and our lawmakers could not? What’s that? You didn’t think smokers would ever really quit? But didn’t you say… it wasn’t really a tax, because smokers chose to smoke?
Now, more and more of us are choosing not to smoke -- which is what you said you wanted, when you passed all those sin taxes, year after year after year. And since we’re choosing to do that with something actually effective, rather than Big Pharma’s useless NRT, we’re opting out of the Murder Game as well.
Hoist by your own petard, are you?
Or maybe it’s Tobacco Control’s petard -- they keep SAYING they want people to quit smoking. Since they’re finally getting what they want, get Tobacco Free Kids, or the Robert W Johnson Foundation, or one of the other Big Pharma-funded Tobacco Control entities to bail out the various governments -- they’ve certainly got the money, and since people are quitting smoking without needing the busybody prodding of those foundations, they won’t need to spend so much money on PSAs… or bribing lawmakers to make war on smokers.
But they might tell you that their funding source -- Big Pharma -- is LOSING money, since people aren’t buying so much of that useless NRT. And that may be true, but still… a hundred billion here or there is a drop in the bucket to Big Pharma and Tobacco Control -- they could bail out every state government AND the federal government with many millions left over.
But they won’t do that. They’d rather spend those hundreds of billions to promote junk science and the charlatans who fabricate it, to convince the lawmakers that vaping is just as bad as smoking -- which it certainly is not.
The real issue isn’t really that people are quitting smoking, which is what they’ve said for over thirty years is their goal. Tobacco Control is largely funded by Big Pharma, so the fact that people are actually quitting smoking -- yet not using the worthless pharmaceutical NRT -- well, they just can’t be having THAT! Smokers are escaping their persecution, vilification, and demonization, which already annoys them -- AND those former smokers are doing it in a way that’s almost totally pain-free, which is even more annoying… and then they keep vaping, because they’re actually enjoying themselves -- HORRORS!
But the truly intolerable part, for Tobacco Control, is that all these quitters of smoking aren’t making them rich by using the utterly worthless pharmaceutical NRT. So the governments that have been Tobacco Control’s flunkies for thirty years won’t get any sympathy from Tobacco Control. I’m pretty sure that Tobacco Control will tell the governments to go whistle.
Maybe Big Pharma can create a “patch” for sin tax addiction -- but be sure to tell them that they should make this patch effective.
In the absence of any really earth-shaking current news about vaping, I thought I would kick off this blog with links to some excellent vaping stories I've encountered at some of those "Favorite Links" over to the right. Just as with those links to the right, all links open in a new window.
From Dr Michael Siegel's blog:
February 27, 2019
Switching from Smoking to Juul Reduces Toxic Chemical Biomarkers to the Same Degree as Quitting Cold Turkey
Thus refuting the absolute imbeciles who say absurd things like "But vapers haven't REALLY quit smoking." Yes, we really have. So sorry we didn't suffer sufficiently to please you... Wait, no I'm not!
It must have been a slow news day for vaping, because the only other thing I found that seemed fairly important is that news about Gottlieb resigning, which I've already posted.