Astroturfing Public Opinon

Happy Friday, everybody! Welcome to another week of ecigExpress’ blog, where we tell you all about the worst (and, sometimes, the best) things happening in the ongoing discourse around vaping and electronic cigarettes. This week’s news has been confusing and somewhat eventful. Let’s take a look at what’s been going on.

According to a recent article in the Journal of Medical Internet Research, apparently a great deal of the Twitter outcry against an electronic cigarette ban was “astroturfed,” in the sense that a false sense of consensus was advanced by the 600+ anti-regulation tweets from all over the US. Well, that’s what the conclusion suggests, anyways. The data in the article, however, states that only 14% of the tweets may have been astroturf.

What does this mean? Essentially, public policy advocates now have a journal article they can cite to ignore their opposition’s opinions, regardless of whether or not it these opinions are a worthwhile contribution to the debate at hand. This is just more evidence that “public health” professionals do not actually care about what the public has to say.

In less ridiculous news, in a recent article in the Austin Journal of Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine, pulmonologist Allen J. Blaivas gives the real skinny. Blaivas writes clearly: “can vaping help smokers quit use of cigarettes? the simple answer is yes.” Moreover, he suggests that The FDA should rightfully regulate these products as smoking cessation aids,” while warning that “the constant barrage of negative messages and continued harassment of “vapers”, confining them in
outside areas with combustible tobacco smokers will lead to missed opportunity and recidivism.”

Essentially: vaping is good; vaping is a way to quit smoking; and treating vapers badly is bad for everybody. Well said!

Even better, a recently published article in Addiction on e-cig use concluded that “Regulating EC as strictly as cigarettes, or even more strictly as some regulators propose, is not warranted on current evidence.” Hooray for common sense!

Oliver Kershaw, the founder of e-cig-forum recently wrote a piece for CNN noting that the only winners in the FDA’s quixotic crusade against electronic cigarettes will be the big tobacco companies. Not that this news is much of a surprise, of course, but it’s nice to see a respectable venue pick up on it.

As recently leaked documents suggest, the WHO is on the warpath against vaping, too. I wonder if their position is astroturfed, or if the Hippocratic oath really means that little?

Well, this has been yet another weird week in vaping news. Stay tuned for the latest on electronic cigarettes every Friday!

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