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.