Tobacco has been with us for centuries, the aromatic smoke produced when the Tobacco leaves are burned has an allure for many people. In times gone by Tobacco was used by different racial groups as a medicine, a sacred herb, insecticide, relaxant; most notably the Red Indian tribes of the Americas used it extensively.
However, the Tobacco leaves by themselves, grown on farms and dried/cured baled up is not really what consumer smokers are getting. Tobacco companies discovered ways to enhance, and refine their product, to maximise the nicotine yields, to promote even burning of the shredded leaves, through the use of additive chemicals, and selective plant breeding programs. The cigarette industry developed all kinds of additives, so that the product smokers get is vastly different to the raw Tobacco it starts out as!
The harmful, and toxic nature of the smoke burning Tobacco leaves produce was known, and anecdotally discussed for a long time; but the official position was that cigarettes, pipe smoking, cigars and ‘Snuff’ were accepted recreational habits, it simply became a naturalised passtime. There is no more clear indication of just how accepted smoking Tobacco became than the use of authority figures, celebrities, medical doctors, airline pilots and models to promote the various brands of cigarette, and other Tobacco products. These are a couple of examples from the 1950’s and 1960’s where GP’s, and film stars suggest a brand:
I am not so old, but I can remember just how prevalent cigarette advertising used to be when I was a kid, and a teenager; it is difficult to describe just how natural and accepted smoking used to be prior to the big propaganda campaigns of the 1990’s onwards, they have been so very effective in changing people’s thinking.
As someone who observes society, and studies how people think I think the antismoking campaign had much more than ‘public health’ as its primary focus.
Here we have a perfect test case for being able to alter how people feel and think, if you can shift something that was simply accepted, casually acknowledged as being just another habit, just another option for relaxing and enjoying oneself in the matter of a couple of decades, imagine what possibilities this suggests to those who seek to manage and direct our society?
We have moved very quickly from medical doctors promoting specific brands and claiming cigarettes are good for you, to smokers being ridiculed and lambasted, even hated by the great public mass. Primary school children are taught to fear cigarettes and consider them as ‘poison’, they then see their grandparents, or parents smoking and experience huge anxiety, which of course pressures people to want to ‘quit’.
Anyway, the full analysis of the antismoking phenomenon is not my brief with this article, I will save this for another time. I want to discuss ‘Vaping’!
Now that Vaping has been with us for over 10 years, and the sophistication of all aspects of the devices, and the liquids people can purchase has also grown the depiction of Vaping has changed in the media, we can see that some groups in our society don’t like this new contender!
I have a personal history to call on, I became interested with Vaping around 2007 when the first devices were being advertised. I have to admit my first experience was not favourable, I ordered some ‘Cig look-a-like’ devices and these were very poor quality, with strange flavored eLiquid, but I persisted in searching for better quality products because I could see there was a good concept at the heart of this!
It did not take long for some enterprising people to become involved, and much higher quality devices became readily available online; Vaping is very much an internet driven product range, with forums and communities being set up all over the globe dedicated to this alternative to Tobacco.
The early vaping devices were like the first two pictures above, I purchased a few of these along with many other people who were keen to explore this new technology, really people wish to replace their potentially harmful Tobacco habit with something much less harmful, you would think this would be supported and encouraged by health authorities; while some medical authorities have indeed offered their support, it is by no means universal, in some countries vaping is viewed as being just another form of smoking, which is simply ridiculous.
The emergence of Cannabis as a medicine, and also much more relaxed attitudes to this plant as a recreational ‘relaxant’ has seen Vaping devices being produced which can both vaporise liquid infusions, and also the raw herb itself, this has complicated the political scene with regard to Vaping, and many people seem to confuse the two forms. Vaping nicotine infused liquids, and also 0 nicotine liquids is completely different to the Cannabis Vaping activity!
These days I am using very well designed, beautifully crafted devices, and I can access a bewildering range of ‘eLiquids’ that have also different levels of Nicotine added to them, as someone who has been smoking Tobacco for a long, long time I can report that Vaping has enabled me to drastically reduce my cigarette smoking by at least 90%; I find I am only having the occasional ciggie whereas prior to Vaping I was getting through at least 15 a day, sometimes many more.
These devices are not ‘top of the range’ by any means, but they work very efficiently, are easy to maintain and are incredibly cost-effective when compared to the outrageous cost of Tobacco products these days. For someone on a moderate cigarette habit the weekly bill can easily reach $150.00, and this is a conservative estimate based on about 6 packets of twenty. The above devices come in at $20.00 for the one on the left, and $55.00 for the ‘VooPoo Drag S’ model on the right, combine a bottle of eLiquid, which I make myself from wholesale ingredients, including Nicotine flavorless PG/VG liquid and costs me about $10.00 per month and you can see the savings!
I mentioned the Cannabis industry earlier, and in January/February of 2020 there were some reports of young people developing serious lung issues, very nasty diseases, which were being reported by some journalists as being the result of ‘Vaping’, this created a flurry of anti-Vaping articles and videos, and some groups were claiming that Vaping was the cause of some disturbingly awful breathing problems and lung diseases. Terms like ‘Popcorn Lung’ and necrosis of lung tissue were being attributed to the Vaping community, and flavored eLiquids were the culprit, except this was completely wrong!
In some circles, Cannabis liquids are very popular, this is mainly among teenagers, and young adults in America, street level ‘black market’ liquids are made and sold by people who do not know what they are doing. Some of these Cannabis liquids are made with a vitamin E substrate, and it turns out it was these black market vitamin E products which have been causing these issues, NOT the standard Nicotine liquids which have been used without any incidents for the past 12 years or so.
It did not take long for some journalists to really leverage these appalling examples of disease, and injury to smear Vaping as a whole, there are groups among the Anti smoking lobbies who just don’t like Vaping, it offends these people because they think it ‘looks like smoking’ so it must be bad; not terrific logic, but sound thinking processes and fair play are not the hallmarks of the Anti-smoking groups, they only have one objective: to stamp out any form of smoking regardless of its origins or nature.
We know that propaganda can be powerful, and emotion is very much at the root of all propaganda, if you can associate a subject with negative emotions, you have a good chance of bringing many people over to your way of thinking.
The true political subject of smoking is not really ‘Public Health’, it is more about Personal choice, liberty and freedom of the individual, these are the true points concerning smoking. It seems the 21st Century is turning out to be an intense battle between libertarians, and authoritarians, the ‘Information War’ straddles all aspects of this; it is no longer about ‘Left or Right Wings’, but those who would like to control society in a highly authoritarian way, and those who promote freedom, liberty and personal volition.
As a journalist myself, I respect the work of Michael Mosely, he is both a journalist and a medical doctor, he has made quite a name for himself as a magazine style presenter for the BBC on their ‘Horizon’ program; Mike Mosely is more well known for his food & nutrition studies and he has produced some brilliant presentations regarding weight loss.
A few years ago Michael Mosely tackled the subject of Vaping, and he even took up Vaping himself for a few weeks (he is very much a non-smoker!) to enable some tests to be carried out on his own lung tissue. This is very much in keeping with the British medical traditions of research, ther have been famous doctors who have used themselves as the test subject, sometimes with deadly outcomes.
In this case I am happy to report Dr Michael Mosely did not suffer any health consequences, and he offers some powerful evidence which strongly supports Vaping as an alternative to smoking Tobacco, for being at least 98% less harmful. This short video follows Michael on this self testing quest:
Today in Britain Vaping has been strongly embraced by many medical doctors, GP’s and public health specialists, in fact there are several public hospitals which have Vaping shops trading within the hospital, selling high quality devices to patients and the public, these are at
Birmingham City Hospital and Sandwell General Hospital, other hospitals allow eCigs to be dispensed to patients . The consensus among many British medical authorities is that Vaping offers us a practical solution to the scourge of Tobacco smoking, reducing the negative effects of smoking for millions of British people.
Of course, it is not just in Britain, Vaping has taken off across the world, I mention Britain because in this country the medical establishment has not produced a negative response like they have in most other countries, they have actually carried out testing and thus produced some valid results which can be presented.
In countries like Australia the situation is almost the opposite, with that country’s health minister seeking to ban liquid Nicotine, and proposing a blanket ban on all Vaping devices from January 2021; a puzzling decision when there is just so much positive data available for the researcher to commence from.
As someone who has direct, personal and physical experience with Vaping I can report no ill effects in the 10 years I have been using this technology, as long as you source high quality liquids and devices you have nothing to fear from Vaping, and everything to gain if you are a Tobacco smoker!
Along with the ‘Quit Smoking’ narratives, there is this idea of Vaping as a short term means to get off Tobacco, and of course you can depend on Vaping as a way of quitting if this is your objective; there is no other method including ‘patches’ ‘gums’, ‘mouth sprays’ ‘Inhalers’ that is so effective for this.
However, there are a lot of people who actually enjoy Vaping as a long term pursuit, they discover it as a true alternative for their cigarette habit and they commence Vaping on a continuous basis, I am one of these people and I am offering you my true thoughts on this which are based on over 10 years Vaping.
As smokers we have been shamed, and humiliated by the powerful public health propaganda machine that has been in operation, funded by the extreme taxation on Tobacco products, billions of dollars are devoted to this psychological warfare; smokers have been truly demonised, made to feel evil and wrong headed, self destructive and selfish. Firstly we were sent outside, and cordoned off from our friends and family, doctors advise cigarette smokers to associate their habit with being uncomfortable, to cease seeking a cigarette as a ‘reward’.
Then almost imperceptibly, by small increments, the entire attitude towards smokers has been effectively shifted, it took them 15 years or so, but today the ‘public perception’ of smokers is now completely negative, perhaps if you are very young you will not appreciate just how far this has gone; the intentions of the campaign are presented as being positive and for the benefit of all, but this eclipses even the most ruthless of Nazi propaganda measures of the late 1930’s and early 40’s. People have been effectively ‘brainwashed’, to use a Cold War expression; the choice of smoking is now seen as being sociopathic, whereas only 30 years ago it was merely a lifestyle option.
It is within this climate of extreme public health propaganda, this massive social experiment that yielded such interesting results for the social planners and engineers who work on behalf of powerful, political groups in our Western culture. For if you can completely alter the attitude of large numbers of people regarding cigarettes, and those who smoke them, what other possibilities are there for managing attitudes towards ‘Health’?
This subject of personal health is a curious one if you delve into it, using the self interest of your personal well-being you can be guided towards many outcomes, many different options, the current climate is completely fashioned from the Public Health subject: if you are seen to resist, or argue you are automatically labelled as being selfish, not interested in the common good; from cigarettes to vaccination we are being compelled to accept this central narrative of acting in the interests of all.
Vaping has been gradually aligned with Smoking, if you are Vaping you are lumped in with the Smokers; but Vaping is nothing like smoking, the physical properties of vapor are completely different to the organic burning of plant leaves, the liquid might also contain Nicotine but this is in much less concentrations, and it is very well understood that Nicotine is not the culprit, the toxic nature of Tobacco smoke is contained in the many organic compounds, additives, Carbon Monoxide, Arsenic and other poisons and carcinogens.
If you choose to Vape on a long term basis you are considered as being like a ‘Junkie’, the morality of the 21st Century is founded on public health, and if you choose to take up the habit Vaping, you are a heretic.
In writing this article I used the title of ‘Vaping What Is The Truth’? I was very aware that it is impossible to explore each and every angle, each nuance of this topic, the best I can hope for is to convey to the interested reader a good summary of the main elements, in doing this I am also aware that I have strayed into the political arguments, this is unavoidable because the choices we can make as adult human beings are completely determined by our political choices also.
As we all know, social life is all about compromise, we gain the benefits, and protection of our complex social world, in return we agree to comply with certain rules intended to make life as tolerable and equitable as possible, or so the theory goes!
If my Vaping upsets certain people I am obliged to consider their views, but if these views turn out to be unfounded, or based on prejudice and not valid tangible reasons, I am entitled to ignore them. My health is my concern, this is the basic premise I work from; our inclinations and choices are not the concern of government unless those choices injure, or restrict others from choosing their preferred options.
Even from this short, summarised survey of Vaping it is clear that the issue is a complex one in some ways, simply because there is a powerful anti smoking lobby group that assumes the right to tell us all how we must live. They don’t like Vaping because it offends their sensibility, they see ‘smoke-like’ vapor emanating from people’s mouths and they just cannot get over this, they see millions giving up smoking Tobacco and choosing something that has just over zero impact on others – I say ‘just over zero’ because there is nothing in this world which has absolutely zero impact, there might be a few microns of Nicotine in some Vaper’s exhalations, and yet instead of applauding this as a health benefit and celebrating the massive reduction in harmful outcomes, and improved lifespans they demand banning and restricting access to Vaping.
Today the availability of extremely high quality personal vaporiser devices at very reasonable cost, along with the self regulating high quality production of eLiquids mean that if you are a cigarette smoker and desire to reduce the harm, leave Tobacco behind you can!
There is a large body of scientific evidence that propylene glycol/vegetable glycerine compounds which can also contain Nicotine and a few flavorings have a minimal impact of the user. Together with this technical data we have over a decade of anecdotal, experiential level data which strongly supports Vaping, and declares it a winning therapy for weaning smokers off their Tobacco habit.
If you are already a Vaper, I congratulate you and welcome any comments and suggestions you might have, contact me from this site, if you are yet to sample the possibilities of Vaping and you still smoke Tobacco I strongly advise you to give it a shot, at least try it out for a week with a cheap entry level kit, I guarantee most smokers will be amazed with the results, that is my personal affirmation and guarantee, Vaping is terrific and I will continue to promote and support this wonderful invention, it will save millions of lives.