Electronic cigarette companies are simply the devil. That’s what one might think if you listened to the news, where a platform to attack vaping has emerged over the last few years. The biggest problem this actually creates is a divide that doesn’t always need to be there. Take for example the use of ecigarettes by teens. This is something that nobody is really in favor of, even electronic cigarette companies. They know quite well that it could lead to their downfall if they are simple seen as predatory businesses that are out for the almighty dollar and nothing else.
But that doesn’t prevent news headlines from asking if electronic cigarette companies are intentionally trying to hook teens, and telling us that the CDC says they are. The Center of Disease Control is great for a lot of things, but in the brief history of electronic cigarettes they haven’t exactly been known as a fair arbitrator. The newest study of theirs, called the National Youth Tobacco Survey, tells us that 66% of middle school students and 71% of high school students saw at least one ecig ad in 2014. That isn’t a good thing, but does that actually mean anything?
Nothing has directly shown that it means anything. Minors seeing advertisements that aren’t intended for them is about as new as the combustion engine. Even in an age with parental locks and GPS tracking, parents can’t keep tabs of every single thing their kids see. That’s where education comes into play. But what we are talking about here isn’t so much the fact that electronic cigarette companies are running ads that are reaching kids. No, the accusation is that they are doing so intentionally in a plot to lure in teens the same way that Big Tobacco did with Joe Camel and other kid-friendly advertising.
Electronic Cigarette Companies Aren’t Evil
Whether you are talking about the best electronic cigarette companies or just your run of the mill type, they aren’t truly evil. The people that like to try and scare us imagine a vapor-filled boardroom with old men plotting to take over the world by hooking teens to ecigs. Close your eyes and imagine such a thing; doesn’t it look ridiculous?
That’s because it is. There certainly are electronic cigarette companies that push the envelope, and because we still live in a world that hasn’t fully regulated ecigs, they will continue to do so.
But this is far cry from what they are being accused of. There isn’t anything that directly links kids seeing commercials that weren’t intended for their eyes with ecig companies specifically planning for this to happen. How many alcohol commercials have your kids seen? How many beer advertisements are at the ballpark when you take them? It’s not as if we can shelter them from the mere sight of things that aren’t for them, right?
Yet this link is being drawn by the CDC as another way to attack even the best electronic cigarette companies who are being careful while getting the word out to smokers about ecigs. It’s the same type of jump that other researchers made when wrongly trying to link teen smoking to electronic cigarettes. It’s a big jump that has no scientific basis, but it sure does make for a good headline doesn’t it?
Furthermore, electronic cigarette companies know that this type of path leads to regulators clamping down on the industry. They have to walk that fine line between advertising their products to the millions of smokers who want to make a switch, and making it “too appealing” to others. Again, even the best electronic cigarette companies are going to have some of their message trickle through.
Also we need to remember that people who wanted to help smokers started most of these ecig companies. Sure there are always bad eggs in the lot, but as a whole the entire industry sprouted up to try and tackle a problem. Now maybe I paint too rosy a picture for you, and I’ll accept that. What I won’t accept is all these claims that electronic cigarette companies are evil, because I know they aren’t. Through it all they are helping millions of Americans put traditional tobacco cigarettes in the rearview mirror, and we would be wise to remember that.