Tobacco Free Kids (TFK) are fighting back against HR1136, and true to form are using their usual tricks.

A recent article by the President of TFK allows us to highlight how they are attempting to manipulate opinion.

The article was published in The Hill online magazine, allegedly the ‘most read ‘political website in Washington, which shows that the article has been a deliberate attempt to target those who will vote on HR1136.

An online description of The Hill publication states:

“They often publish factual information that utilizes loaded words (wording that attempts to influence an audience by using appeal to emotion or stereotypes) to favor liberal causes.”

The TFK author writes:

“e-cigarette makers have used the same marketing playbook cigarette companies used to addict generations of kids, with tactics like celebrity endorsements, slick TV and magazine ads that glamorize e-cigarette use and sponsorships of race cars and music festivals. (our note: Surely a degree of research will show that all of the above is simply the tools, trade and methodology of how advertising works? Take any product, for an adult or child, and you will see at least one of the above  methods mentioned)”

“And they’re selling e-cigarettes in literally thousands of flavours, including many outrageous, kid-friendly ones like gummy bear, cotton candy and pop tarts.”

Please note the highlighted deliberate use of emotive/loaded words.

As one advocate asked, isn’t the mere mention of the tobacco industry simply an emotive trick, added to the emotive words?

The tobacco industry can no longer say boo to a goose, yet by mentioning the tobacco industry, is the author not simply harking back to times well gone by, but are still in our minds as we grew up during that era? The tobacco industry as boogey man? By using this tactic, he is aiming to place into the readers mind that the vaping industry is the tobacco industry.

But let’s leave the emotive to one side and begin to examine a few facts.

The article continues:

“e-cigarette manufacturers are pushing Congress to change the rules and make it easier for them to continue ‘luring’ kids with candy-flavored products.”

As many are pointing out – the real issue is not the flavors here, it’s the description of the flavors. This leads us into the realms of the pleasure principle and sensible regulation. Not selling to under 18’s should mean that it doesn’t matter how you describe a product, because the emphasis is on the NOT selling. Adults love flavors and there is nothing wrong or illegal regarding that. We all eat candy, at every age.  What the TFK really wants is for e cigarettes to taste as bad as cigarettes, and then children won’t use them.

But is this true?

An uncomfortable truth is that children continue to smoke, despite all the TFK $4million a year grants.

It is because of the flavours that e cigarettes work so well in helping people away from tobacco.

But we continue.

“Manufacturers falsely portray FDA regulation as an impediment to their ability to market products that will reduce the risk of disease to current smokers.”

Now here we have an element of truth, but spun in such a way it sounds bad. The use of the word market makes it all about greed and money. However, the reality is that since e cigarettes have come onto the market, they have evolved to such an extent that more people are using them in greater numbers. Why? Because they help people to get away from smoking, which as we have been told, and as mentioned by TFK, causes disease.  Plus, please note the spin on impediment. The regulations won’t merely impede the industry; they will destroy it!

“Make no mistake: H.R. 1136 protects the ability of ‘tobacco companies’ to market candy-flavored e-cigarettes and cigars that have fueled the popularity of these products among kids”

The tobacco industry sells a maximum of 14 flavors in their e cigarette ranges. Here TFK is (deliberately again?) muddling up the tobacco industry with the vaping industry. One does have to wonder if any of TFK over 100 members of staff have been to a vape shop and or spoken with vapers.

But again, the focus is on the children with a false telling of the true picture, spun to their agenda. Yes, teens are using e cigarettes, but as the most recent research shows, most use zero nicotine, most are previous smokers or existing smokers, and most see them as a harm reduction tool.

TFK continue:

“The report also found that e-cigarette use is “strongly associated” with the use of other tobacco products among youth and young adults, including conventional cigarettes.”

Again, more spin – yes they are associated with other tobacco products, because as already mentioned, most teen vapers are already smokers, and :

Among the teens who said flavors were important, fully 92 percent also said harm reduction was their motive for vaping. Flavors play a role in youth experimentation with e-cigarettes, but this analysis underscores that the much lower harm of vaping compared to smoking cigarettes is a far more important factor.”

The point is that if vaping products do substitute for smoking, then things that attract people to them are good for health. The massive emotional muddle that surrounds this issue needs more clarity and more focus on the pathways by which harm would arise or, more likely, be reduced.” 

As one commentator posted: “The harmfulness of a product has nothing to do with one’s likelihood of using a ‘different product’.”

e.g. I might drive a car, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to start riding a motorcycle.

Using the drug theory of cannabis leading to heroin simply doesn’t work with smoking and vaping. It just doesn’t happen that people vape and then smoke. Globally the evidence persistently points to vaping being a gateway OUT of smoking, not the other way round.

That teens get this and TFK don’t would be mind boggling if we didn’t understand the underlying agenda,

Further investigations into how the studies on teens were conducted yield yet more twisting of the results that allow the likes of TFK to spin their spin.

The subjects were presented with a yes/no choice for each of the reasons given. It is true that they answered ‘yes’ to the first question – they like the flavors. But isn’t this an obvious answer if you have already decided to vape? Given you didn’t have to choose only one answer, who would answer ‘no’ to that question: “No, I don’t use the product because they come in flavors I like“? Or, try inverting the question to show its absurdity. Who would answer yes to “I use [the product] even though they come in flavors I don’t like?” for a consumer product? Of course, if they did have that answer, we would be genuinely concerned at the loss of self-control.” 

The study of the data showed that nearly 90 percent of more than 13,000 adolescents surveyed who had used vape products at least once in the previous month stated that they believed that vape products were less harmful to them or loved ones than smoking cigarettes. This is completely opposite of the assertion that the U.S. Surgeon General made last year when the office reported that youth vaping was a “gateway” to traditional smoking.”

“Young people are rationalizing that, because a much less harmful alternative exists, then logically it makes even less sense to consume tobacco.”

“What our research shows is that young people clearly perceive e-cigarettes for what they are – a less harmful alternative to tobacco. Equally, though, this view does not, as one might assume, directly translate into ‘risk-free’ in their minds. To the contrary, some interviewees said they were concerned that e-cigarettes might be associated with unknown risks over the longer term, which also tells us that young people are experimenting with a certain degree of caution.” 

Teens experiment, this is part and parcel of being a teenager. To deny this is absurd. But teens are educated and this teen generation is far more sensible than the ones that have come before.

Surely we if we are truly caring about children, as TFK  state they are and want them to be tobacco free, as the name implies, then a less harmful, tobacco free option should be fully explored and not vilified?

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