Friday, April 27, 2012

Why do vapers still believe Big Tobacco is 'evil?'

With the recent announcement from Blu Electronic Cigarettes that it has been sold to Lorillard Tobacco company, panic seems to be spreading through the e-cigarette community. Many vapers seem to harbor a hatred for "Big Tobacco" and have expressed disgust, outrage, distrust and fear that the industry will now turn e-cigarettes into what they were trying to escape. Here are some personal thoughts about the situation that I posted on a community forum, in response to comments that Big Tobacco was not to be trusted with e-cigarettes:

Are any of u planning on buying any pv hardware or liquids from a company that has previously tried to knowingly kill us?????

How on earth could we ever trust that they would sell us the best that is available?

Do you still buy products from the automobile industry? Did you know the automobile industry knew that seat belts and air bags would save lives, yet fought having them be mandatory in cars? Or they knew for 30 years about the problem of spontaneous acceleration, yet covered it up and continues to deny it?

Do you still buy medications - both prescription and over the counter? Yet everyone has heard of the myriad of denials and cover ups made over the years by Big Pharma - Chantix, Avandia, Paxil - were all killing people and BP lied, denied and hide the facts. Still, people do not claim BP knowingly tried to kill people.

The denials and cover up of "Big Tobacco" were no different or worse than any of those perpetrated by other industries, yet they are still vilified while other companies get a free pass time and again. The fact is, while smoking is highly dangerous, it doesn't kill every user or even most users; there are more people today who have quit smoking than smoke and anyone who has ever smoked cannot pretend that they didn't feel the negative effects of smoking on their body and believed it was still good for them or perfectly safe. Those tobacco executives who participated in that cover up and denial are long gone. It's a well-known fact that smoking can be bad for you and has been since the 1950's, but so are a lot of other things that are sold to people today. It's fully informed, personal choice now whether or not to take the risk and has been for some time. It was well known in the 1980's when I made the choice to start smoking - whether the tobacco companies admitted it was addictive or not. The tobacco companies weren't knowingly "trying to kill" me, because I shouldn't have started smoking in the first place.

Now the question becomes, will they be "smart" with their purchase and marketing plan... If so, and if they do not re-introduce all of the "nasty" things that are in the good old analogs, they could have something here. 


I would not mind purchasing supplies from them as long as I know they are not trying to kill me like the normal smokes will. I also would be concerned about pricing and the fact that it might go up. I guess it depends on how much the government wants to step in on this and how much "pocket padding" BT is willing to pay to make this work.

Because of the general mistrust of tobacco companies, Lorillard has to know it will be under extreme scrutiny - something other e-cigarette companies haven't had to deal with...yet. If anything, Lorillard will be motivated to produce the cleanest, safest e-liquid possible because of that scrutiny - and they'll probably promote that fact. (From my understanding, the deal with Johnson Creek is not going to end anytime soon anyhow.) Additionally, unlike with tobacco - which has thousands of NATURAL ingredients within which to hide the toxic additives people believe are added to cigarettes - it would be very difficult to add toxic chemicals to something that basically has only 3 or 4 "generally regarded as safe" ingredients without being discovered.

As far as prices, Lorillard has the ability to make much larger purchases and negotiate prices with manufacturers - which will help them compete and keep prices low. I'm sure they are well aware that the high costs of regular cigarettes, a lot due to taxation, is partly why people quit smoking or switch to e-cigarettes and keeping the cost low is a strong selling point. It also gives them incentive to fight unjustified sin taxes on e-cigarettes - something that will benefit the industry as a whole.

The whole point of e-cigarettes for most people are low health risks and low price. It would be counter-productive for Lorillard to buy into the industry and remove those two greater incentives. It would be like large food company buying a popular and successful organic health food company and changing all of the ingredients to be non-organic and full of preservatives, fat and sugar. Why would anyone buy their product then?? It just wouldn't make sense.


There is the risk that Lorillard will try to negotiate with the FDA (like Philip Morris did with the FSPTCA), resulting in regulations that could essentially wipe out anything other than a blu-style device, pre-filled cartos and tobacco flavors and acquiesce sin taxes and public use bans. I can guess that CASAA would NOT support that! I hope they truly understand how vapers are a different breed - we won't go quietly into the night like we did as smokers. Lorillard needs to understand that they have a really great market with the starter vapers and don't need to destroy the cottage companies that specialize in the upgrade devices and boutique liquids. They will see a lot of consumer backlash if they attempt to move against those types of products and I will be out front leading the charge if I have to!

I don't know, this really bothers me. We all know BT has spent countless hours of research and ungodly amounts of money to make their products as addictive as possible. I have no doubt that they won't stoop that low now, and then we're back to square one again (IMHO) They'd be enslaving people to their all new product.

I believe that vaping is much safer than smoking but I don't want them dipping their dirty corrupt fingers in my juice and messing with my brain chemistry again. I just feel like we'd be stepping backwards and lose some of the benefits we've all gained by getting away from them *sigh*

Remember when opposition started coming out against e-cigarettes and everyone assumed it was big, evil tobacco trying to eliminate the competition? Remember how shocked we all were that it wasn't Big Tobacco, but all of the health groups who we thought would now be happy that we didn't smoke anymore? Remember how interesting it was to find out that so many of those opposing health groups were in the pocket of Big Pharma?

Now think of this: Once it was obvious e-cigarettes were here to stay, either Big Pharma or Big Tobacco were bound to get into the e-cigarette industry. It was inevitable. Which would you trust more to handle that business now?

An industry which was called out 30 years ago for refusing to admit what everyone already knew anyhow - that smoking wasn't good for you and was potentially addicting; has made attempts to create safer products for its consumers; is under great public scrutiny and is sympathetic to people who want to use tobacco/nicotine products recreationally and without being vilified and ostracized by society?

Original Artwork: Mike Keefe, The Denver Post
Or an industry that has secretly been behind all of the lies about e-cigarettes and smokeless alternatives; lied to get smokers/vapers banned from just about everywhere; financially supported groups that made smokers, tobacco users and nicotine users social pariahs in order to guilt them into buying their gums and patches and increase their profits; lied about and/or hid the relative safety of smoke-free alternatives (effectively killing millions of smokers who would have otherwise switched); perpetuated the "quit or die" standard in order to sell more gums and patches and increase their profits; lied and/or hid the dangerous effects of Chantix; lied and/or hid the fact that NRT are highly ineffective, yet continue to tell people they are "safe and effective, so use them instead of smoke-free alternatives," which is effectively keeping smokers smoking (and endangering their health) every time the gums and patches fail?

You could say "neither," but then all you would be left with the e-cigarette industry, which is unorganized, unregulated, fly-by-night; has largely refused to step up and implement the most basic manufacturing and ethical sales standards in nearly 10 years; has been largely MIA in the fight against bans, taxes and sales restrictions and has only one representative organization that is apparently willing to throw everyone else under the bus to make their business model of the pre-filled, tobacco flavored carto the FDA standard.

It baffles me how vapers continue to see Big Tobacco as some inherently untrustworthy and unethical entity knowing what Big Pharma and the ANTZ groups have perpetrated over the past 30 years - lying and covering up the facts- at the expense of public health, in order to make a billions in profits. Especially since it was the ANTZ who have worked tirelessly to provide the "evidence" to demonize the tobacco industry in the eyes of the public (for doing exactly the same thing) and giving smokers a reason not to hold themselves accountable for their own actions.

Think about it - everything you know, all of the evidence about Big Tobacco, came from the same people who are now telling the public that "Big E-cigarettes" are targeting kids with the tasty flavors that no adult would use; contain anti-freeze, other toxic chemicals and carcinogens; are possibly more addicting than cigarettes; that vapers are just underhandedly trying to circumvent smoking bans and their vapor could be harmful to bystanders, so the industry is lobbying legislators to keep it legal to use publicly. They are twisting the facts, exaggerating, guessing and even telling outright lies to protect their profits. Doesn't that make you the least bit suspicious about what they've been telling you about Big Tobacco?


Opinions posted on this blog are those solely of the author(s) and do not represent the opinon, views or policy of any organization or company with which the author(s) may be otherwise associated.

35 comments:

  1. I will never but an E-Cigarette from any of The Big Tobacco Companies that for over 40 years of knowingly tried to do nothing but ,Gum or patches that made you sick.Morons you could have made these available over 30 years ago as an alternative.But,noo the money .So R.J. Reynolds and the whole lot of you I wish a painful death. You have provided us for decades,laughing all the way to the bank.You and the Hospitals.

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  2. Big tobacco purposely changed the chemicals they put in their products to cause people to become addicted to them. I have NO trust in anything they would sell.

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  3. I'm not a fan of excusing bad behavior by pointing and saying "See, those guys do it too!" As they say the proof is in the pudding but I'll continue to view any association with a jaundiced eye until my apprehension is proven incorrect.

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    1. Please know that I am NOT excusing the bad behavior of ANY industry.

      The question is, why do we seem to forgive other industries for committing basically the same offense as Big Tobacco, ie. attempting to deceive the public about the dangers of their product?

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    2. I agree with you completely Kristin!

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  4. Cigarettes were already addictive before the industry added any chemicals in them. They've also been selling smoke-free tobacco products for years that are 98% safer than cigarettes, but have been forbidden by law to tell consumers that they are safer than smoking.

    Remember that most of the "facts" people get about tobacco and tobacco companies have come from groups who receive funding from Big Pharma, which makes a lot of money vilifying tobacco, smokers and now e-cigarette users. They keep smokers in a cycle of quitting and relapsing by selling ineffective "treatments and eventually make millions more treating the diseases of smokers who failed to quit. Many smokers who are sick or dying now could have switched to safer tobacco alternatives years ago. Big Pharma counts on your mistrust to keep making money.

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  5. They enhanced the addictive qualities on purpose. Have you never heard of Jeffrey Wigand? Do some research.

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    1. I'm aware of that and wasn't denying it. That wasn't the point of my comment. I've done a LOT of research and yes, I know who Jeffrey Wigand is.

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  6. I agree that BT themselves aren't "killing" people who were never given a choice, but your logic is flawed.

    If a public official drove your country/state/municipality into the ground, would he be OK to re-elect if he simply changed political parties? I hope the answer is "no." The fact that Lorillard is going to be selling a different product doesn't mean they won't continue any dubious business practices.

    Furthermore, even an automobile not equipped with safety features isn't a death sentence. Hardly a fair comparison.

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  7. Very good article. It's true that a lot of people have taken on board the decades of brainwashing about BT. I'm looking forward to BT putting their huge resources into e-cigs and coming up a much improved product, without the flaws that currently irritate me about vaping. At least we should wait and see what comes out of Lorillard's purchase before passing judgement.

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    1. Wait and see, yes we will. But wait and see with vigilance and pro-active efforts to keep an independent and viable choice for the consumer. Thus I myself will hope for the best and prepare for the worst scenario.

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  8. I have no trouble with the free market system. I have no trouble with the free market acting as a free market. I have trouble with the unknown factors. What is in the interest of a large corporation is to make the most for the least. With this in mind let us see if we end up with non-refillable cartridges, low nicotine levels and tobacco and menthol as options. On the whole the idea of extended availability and a company with funds to do the research can finally validate the knowledge that vaping is Harm Reduction. I hope the price we pay is not akin to the WalMart effect on the A&P's and local grocers and individual shops of the community. The big guy comes in and the small people are lost as is variety and to some extent quality.

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  10. Respectfully, Kristin, I have to disagree with your central premise, i.e. that BT are no worse than BP (or other industries), historically.

    You state that you were aware of the health risks when you took up smoking in the 80s and, indeed, the game certainly was up for BT in that decade: This was the era when BT finally came clean about the physical dangers of tobacco smoking.

    It was what BT did in response that truly marks them as appalling and, to my mind, quite evil.

    Rather than coming clean and stating exactly what you've stated - that it's a matter of consumer choice to smoke (perhaps admitting culpability WRT Wigand, etc), they hatched the most devious plan imaginable: BT systematically changed the debate - "Smoking may be bad for your health", they now claimed "but it's good for society"

    Essentially, they seeded popular opinion by co-opting opinion makers and academics to extol the social virtues of smoking. They bought off hundreds of academics who went out and spoke on behalf of BT without ever declaring their interests: this is mass-manipulation on a quite extraordinary scale.

    When I took up smoking in the 90s, I also was aware of the health dangers. However, I was also aware that smoking was considered a sociable pastime; that having a "cigarette break" was a good way to regroup; that smoking "aided concentration". How much of this milieu had grown organically over the history of tobacco usage, and how much was implanted/reinforced by BT in the 80s? And how much of the positive spin conducted by BT in the 80s contributed to the decision I (and millions others) made a decade later?

    This isn't a half-baked conspiracy, by the way - it's well documented, not least by researchers at the University of California at San Francisco. You can read the full text of their study here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2267871/pdf/nihms41388.pdf

    Anyway, this is all so much history now - and I agree with Dick Puddlecote's sentiments going forward.

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    1. I would recommend reading what Christoper Snowden, author of "Velvet Glove, Iron Fist", has to say about Stanton Glantz, author of the study you linked. Here's a link to Mr. Snowden's blog: http://velvetgloveironfist.blogspot.com -- just go to the bottom of the page and type in "Stanton Glantz" to search for the posts.

      Jackie

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    2. OJKershaw - you don't think that lying to the public about the positive health effects of switching to a smoke-free alternative; lying to smokers about the lower risks of smoke-free products compared to smoking; lying about the safety and effectiveness of NRT products and lying about e-cigarettes isn't just as bad as that? How many lives has BP cost in its efforts to essentially keep people smoking over the past 30 years, so they would continue to need their treatments?

      I'm sorry - but I never trusted BT, but I trusted what the paid shills of BP were telling me and they've betrayed that trust. That is far worse than anything BT did, in my view. It even directly affected my husband. When e-cigarettes didn't quite do it for him, he continued to smoke a few cigarettes a day. He mentioned switching to snus, but because of the lies of BP shills, I still believed that snus was as bad as or worse than smoking, so told him not to do that. When I found out that I had been lied to and my husband could have been smoke-free 6 months sooner than he was (as soon as I found out the truth I immediately urged him to switch) I was LIVID! Those people are supposed to be looking out for us but they are letting their obligation to BP take precedence! Who knows what that extra 6 months of smoking could have meant to my husband's health? (I doubt much, but what if it had been 6 years before I found out?) BT was a wolf in wolf's clothing but BP is a wolf in sheep's clothing. They pretend to be something they are not - benevolent and caring and supposedly not putting profits over public health.

      I'm sorry, but BP not only lied in the past but continues to lie to the public today about safer tobacco options and the inefficiency of their NRT product. BT may have tried to change the social acceptance of smoking through paid shills (very bad,) but so did and does BP - it's called the denormalization of smoking and the vilification of smokers through front organizations(just as bad.) Who do you think provides the money to the Robert Wood Foundation - who gives all of the funding to anti-tobacco and anti-e-cigarette groups working hard to make smokers, tobacco and e-cigarette users social pariahs? Answer: Johnson & Johnson(BP.)

      Also, BP talks out of both sides of its mouth. Read my other blog post about its historically cozy relationship with BT: http://wivapers.blogspot.com/2012/02/sweet-deal-between-big-pharma-and-big.html

      Mothers who kill children. Doctors who abuse patients. Politicians who take bribes. Anti-tobacco groups who take money from BP and lie to the public about the effectiveness of BP products and the dangers of smoke-free alternatives. All horrible betrayals and misuse of the trust and confidence people put in them and in my view, far worse than anything BT ever did.

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    3. As a vendor that works with smokers and former smokers daily, I see the acquisition as an overall Benefit For Smokers (kinda the goal we all have, right?)... They have resources beyond those of current vendors. Resources to: Get the Information to Smokers.

      I'm with Kristen on BP. They had the opportunity to jump on the band wagon if their corporate goal had ever been to save lives and improve anyone's quality of life. Unfortunately, they've gotten exactly what they've wanted from the beginning: an over-medicated, over-diagnosed, customer base that believes BP is in it for altruistic reasons. Just like BT, they're in it for the money. Fine. It's the American Way, and I don't disagree with anyone earning an honest dollar. But "honest dollar?" Therein lies the rub.

      BP = biggest drug cartel in the world that receives endorsements, funds, and even protection from national, policy-creating governments and non-profit "live healthier/save lives" organizations. Markets their wares as "use our products or you will suffer and die."

      BT = markets, sells, and profits from a product (tobacco) that is, at worst, sold as making you "look cool and sexy." Not true, but there are plenty of "diet" products using the same tactics and are just a dishonest.

      People care about the well-being of people. Organizations (BP, BT, ACS, ALA, churches,...) care about bottom-lines. We're all doing what we think is best. Just like us, employees at BT, BP, ALA, etc. are trying to send their kids to college for a "better life," pay their mortgage, have food on the table each day, and squeeze in a little joy here and there.

      People care about people... In my little corner of the world, local pharmacies and the tobacco shop send smokers to me. Everyone knows everyone. My take on the old adage is different: "Familiarity breeds compassion."

      All done...
      Kristin, thank you for all you do for smokers and former-smokers. I love, and delight in, your amazing mind and powerful use of metaphor.

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    4. Kristin - I don't disagree, BP have certainly conducted themselves in a way that you could describe as 'evil'.

      My point was simply that I believe BT to have conducted themselves in a way that is also 'evil'; maybe they're equal in their awfulness, maybe one's worse than the other. Does it matter?

      My response was essentially to your headline - Why do vapers still believe Big Tobacco is 'evil?' It's because they've proved themselves to be, time and time again.

      Look, I'm not a fan of corporations (who really is?) - megacapitalism has its drawbacks and advantages, but one of the biggest disadvantages is that corporates will act only in their shareholder's interests, and will find ways to do so that will go beyond any ethical standards to which individuals are held.

      Regulation is supposed to prevent corporate abuse, but clearly when corporates are able to write the terms of that regulation the situation goes back to square one. This is true across all industries.

      Jackie, what is wrong with Glantz's study?

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    5. I guess that is my point - does it matter? If the criteria by which we deem BT as "evil" fits the actions of so many other industries, how is BT somehow reserved for special loathing? What it really says is ALL of those industries are then "evil" by definition. So, why hold this anger and resentment over what is essentially accepted behavior for these other industries? BT hasn't "proved itself" evil - it's proved itself to be...just like so many other industries. It seems to me more of something we have been taught to feel by the ANTZ (they shamed us as smokers and we blame BT for our predicament) - it's not very rational. The ANTZ count on fostering this idea of BT as "evil" in order to convince the public that none of the much safer products BT has developed are actually any safer (but they ARE,) which in turn means we are only harming ourselves with our hate.

      For the record - my posts here and elsewhere have simply been to get people to slow down a bit and not panic. I'm by no means suggesting that this move is guaranteed to be wonderful and that BT is our great friend now. Honestly, I haven't made my mind up and I do have the same concerns many of you have. It could go either way and these are just some of my own personal thoughts as a vaper, not as CASAA. My points are not at all indicative of what CASAA as an organization is planning and certainly NOT to suggest that CASAA is all "rah-rah Big Tobacco" now. CASAA is approaching this cautiously and should have an official opinion out about it soon. This whole thing scares me, too, but I'm trying to stay calm and rational and be as optimistic as possible.

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  11. As a smoker of thirty+ years, I had great doubt regarding the e-cig first advertised on television, and refused to succumb to another novel failure.
    Now that the alternative is so available and cheap, and with the influence of friends, I have 'vaped', and no longer light up.
    I wonder though, with all the concerns of corporate monster corruptions of any promising product, and relentless struggle for control of the green stuff, (money that is), where does the primary component for our fix come from.... the nicotine.... Is this a synthetic recreation of the natural ingredient that created the tobacco monster, or is this Mother Natures finest, extracted from the plants grown on the farms owned by the bad guys who would ultimately control the industry anyway?
    Just like anything else, I see a great advantage to utilizing the ' organic ' marketing strategy to make the healthy alternative even better.... just a thought. :)

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    1. From my understanding, synthetic nicotine is very expensive and not widely used - not even for the NRT gums and patches. The nicotine in e-cigarettes and NRT is extracted from tobacco, which is why there are trace levels of tobacco-specific nitrosamines found in both NRT and e-cigarettes. And most of it comes from overseas - US tobacco companies apparently aren't big producers of pharmaceutical-grade nicotine.

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    2. Kristin, thanks for your blogs, great information which attracts lots of great responses.

      As a recent convert to e-cigarettes I certainly share the negative sentiment directed towards Big Tobacco, but agree that Big Pharma is just as malignant. In fact, the symbiosis between BT and BP you discuss in other blogs is even stronger when you consider that most (if not all) pharmaceutical grade nicotine is derived from tobacco. BP is the new BT!

      However, nicotine can be sourced from more than 100 different plants, some with concentration much higher than tobacco. It's also present in low concentrations in things like potatoes, tomatoes. Like cocaine and chilli its likely an adaptation of the plant to stop pests. In Australia nicotine use extends back tens of thousands of years (chewed, never smoked). There are several varieties of native tobacco plants but the most common source was from a non-tobacco plant 'pituri', where the nicotine concentrations can be extremely high.

      Anyhow, my point is that the prevalence of many alternative sources of 'natural' nicotine and the strident cottage industry that surrounds the vaping community means that BP and BT will lose their control over nicotine.

      This is promising for people like your husband and myself because with BT and BP out of the nicotine picture, two major obstacles to developing a cure for nicotine addiction are no longer present.

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    3. Thank you for your comments!

      The presence of nicotine in those other sources is extremely small and there really is no reason not to continue to source nicotine from tobacco - unless you simply cannot get over the idea of the tobacco industry as "bad." Start sourcing nicotine from vegetables and suddenly Monsanto will be in the nicotine business and selling to the e-cigarette companies. You won't be able to avoid someone making a profit from a chemical so many people want - it will always be a money-maker for some big corporation. ;)

      Honestly, I am not looking for a "cure" for my nicotine use, anymore than I'm looking for a "cure" for my caffeine use or my chocolate use. Cures are for diseases or addictions that will undoubtedly kill you. The whole point, for me, of having an enjoyable nicotine product with such extremely low health risks is that I don't need a "cure."

      I think there already is a "cure" for nicotine addiction...truly wanting to quit using it. I honestly believe that most smokers, who don't quit, don't or didn't really want to. They most likely knew they SHOULD quit, but didn't really WANT to quit or they are dependent upon something other than the nicotine in the tobacco or smoke. Based on the known facts, the "nicotine is as or more addictive than heroin" statistic is basically junk science that the Surgeon General made up to further his anti-nicotine agenda.

      If you want to be nicotine-free, more power to you and I fully support that decision. Your body, your choice! But I personally won't judge people or consider them an "addict," in the negative, judgmental way that non-smokers and zealot ex-smokers use the word, for choosing to continue to use nicotine - anymore than I would judge them for choosing to use caffeine, anti-depressants, chocolate or a glass of fine wine every night after dinner. :)

      I'm not anti-nicotine. I'm not anti-tobacco. I'm honestly not even anti-smoking. I'm pro-choice. I believe that tobacco and nicotine users deserve to know the truth about those choices that the anti-nicotine and tobacco zealots have been hiding for over 30 years.

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    4. I tend I agree with your views and particularly your harm reduction/pro-choice orientation....brilliant! I also think the whole pro Vs anti-smoking debate has been as pointless as it deadly.

      However, I'm not so certain yet about nicotine addiction. I know some people can give up easily, some people take years of trying before succeeding permanently. Some smoke, but so infrequently that they would almost certainly not be addicted to nicotine. Others, like me have 25 years experience in giving up smoking :-). This pattern shows that nicotine is not always so addictive that you cannot quit smoking and is interpreted as evidence that therefore everyone who smokes does so by choice. While this is a standard line for tobacco company lawyers I'm not sure it is actually true for many smokers.

      Free will exists in many things but may be less black or white than we commonly assume when it comes to addictive substances like nicotine. For example you may choose to never drink water in any form ever again. Lets ignore the fact that it would be fatal for a moment. If you were determined enough and found ways to resist the powerful desire to drink, it may be possible for you to succeed. However, most people would find this impossible. While we have free will when it comes to choosing to drink water other factors will often have a much stronger influence. I think nicotine for a variety of complex and not well understood reasons, may represent a drive a lot closer to thirst than to chocolate or fine wine for a large number of smokers.

      I've read and enjoyed a lot of your blogs and find your views refreshing, intelligent and right (as well as life-saving!). However, I'm not so sure about your tendency to treat nicotine is benign. Independently of any of the known health issues associated with nicotine, or the unknown impact of long-term chronic use of such a stimulant, anything that may diminish an individual's free will should be viewed with much more caution. I'm not saying I know this for certain about nicotine or that the surgeon general does. I'm saying I'm certain there is a lot we don't know about nicotine addiction.

      These concerns about nicotine do not contradict your views about harm reduction or pro-choice (which otherwise I wholeheartedly share), or the junk science, the murderous health policies associated with tobacco control and promulgated by anti-nicotine and tobacco zealots etc. I'm a recent convert to electronic cigarette's and I think this will (and already has)saved lives. While I think it could be improved, I think its great and have been encouraging others smokers to try it. However, I really don't think my continuing addiction to nicotine is no longer an issue for my health, just greatly diminished. Also, I know the term addict is often used in a negative way but I only use it to be deliberately confronting about nicotine and not judgemental.

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  12. Any time you trust a mega corporation to do the right thing, you get screwed. That goes for Big Tobacco and doesn't stop with them.

    I love the cottage industry of vaping. It's so refreshing doing business with small companies and individuals who take pride in their work and products, and use them themselves. That being said, I knew it was a matter of time before a large corporation cashed in on this market.

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  13. I think we need to do everything possible to keep everyone and everything involved in vaping, small if you will. we need to educate everyone about the benefits of getting your supplys from small local vendors, or boutiques. educate as to why its safer, as the people crafting the liquids truely do care about the people they sell too. support anything and everything that promotes keeping vaping local!

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    1. Small can also have some very large disadvantages. They don't have the resources to do testing on the liquid. Besides the purity of the liquid there is still a lot of questions on the long term effect of flavorings. That is something the small venders who mix their own liquid cannot possible do adequate testing on. Do the people.... crafting... these liquids from the small venders really have a clue as to what they are doing? I have serious doubts.

      It's a nice utopian fantasy that we should all buy from mom and pop shops, but I have much more trust in a big company that has the resources to set up clean rooms for mixing and testing then someone making liquid in who knows what.

      There can be positive and negative in any approach, but as far as testing liquid and consumer safety, big is good as they have the means to do the job right. That is something that cannot be said for small time manufactures.

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  14. Gene Casasanta,
    I am 63 years old. I started smoking analogs before reaching puberty; as close as I can figure I smoked for 50 years. I stopped 2 years ago when I started using ecigs. The day i picked up an ecig I never touched an analog again. I am very bitter toward BT, but I do agree with Kristin; BP is likewise as evil. If BT starts to manufacture and sell ecigs I do not believe I would support them; I would stick with the small guys such as "Totally Wicked" and several others I buy from. When I was a snotty nose kid I was misled by BT. I had no idea that analogs were so dangerous. I guess I was one of the lucky ones, because I am am still here to talk about it. Many of my friends are gone from smoke related illness; my father smoked two packs of "Pall Mall" a day and he died of emphesema, but he did make it to 80 years old before the cigarettes took their toll. We must all keep in mind that BP and BT have a lot of money, and money is power, and unchecked power is corrupt. God bless all of you wonderful vapors and keep vaping, leave the analogs behind you.

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  15. Good perspective all around and the public/consumers just need to be smart and informed, which is much easier now than it was pre-internet. See my blog at http://ecigwerks.blogspot.com/2012/04/lorillard-and-blu-cigs-take-big.html for more.

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  16. I don't know who is more "evil," big tobacco or the leftists loons in our totalitarian government who've regulated carpet glue as an additive to cigarettes. In my opinion, both should be feared.

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  17. I smoked cigarettes for 30 years, unfortunately.
    Once I learned about electronic cigarettes, I made the switch IMMEDIATELY!
    What can I tell you about my experience of 'the switch'?
    1. There is something in cigarettes BESIDES nicotine that keeps us hooked. What that is, we will NEVER KNOW. Even though I was getting a HIGH dose of nicotine, too high actually, I STILL craved cigarettes. I was vaping a menthol tobacco, too, and SHOULD HAVE BEEN SATISFIED. Still, I wanted and CRAVED a cigarette.
    I SWEAR there is something BESIDES NICOTINE IN CIGARETTES THAT KEEP UP HOOKED TO THEM! I finished the pack that I had 'rolled' on my own. The cost SO MUCH that I had to buy the 'roll your own' loose tobacco and use a machine to make them.
    THIS IS WHY ALL those smoking cessation products DO NOT WORK!
    Even with electronic cigarettes delivering me the nicotine, I still craved them. After the rest of that pack, I was DETERMINED TO NEVER GO BACK, and I HAVE NOT! Hooray for me!
    2. There is something inside of cigarette tobacco that helps to keep weight OFF. Since I have quit, I HAVE GAINED WEIGHT.
    There are so MANY OTHER THINGS IN CIGARETTES other than 'just nicotine' that keeps us HOOKED/SLAVE TO THE TOBACCO COMPANIES!
    I am SO SORRY that Blu would even CONSIDER selling their products to a TOBACCO COMPANY! I am SORRY FOR OUR COMMUNITY!
    Yes, HOW DARE THEY???? KNOWING what these companies DO TO US!
    This really TICKS ME OFFF!
    SO sad I just learned of this today, as my brother had his mind-set that he was going to start off with Blu. NOTHING I could do to persuade him to try something MUCH BETTER than THEIR brand was FRUITLESS!
    He is NOT happy with Blu. I KNOW he will NOT stick with the it.
    MY MAJOR CONCERN: Given that cigarettes, in MY opinion, has something 'other than nicotine in them to keep us hooked', just WHAT IS THIS TOBACCO COMPANY GOING TO PUT IN THEIR LIQUIDS?
    We are BACK TO WHERE WE STARTED IN THE FIRST PLACE!
    CONCERNS FOR CANCER, AGAIN!
    WHY CAN'T THEY 'JUST LEAVE US ALONE?' I "feel" the Tobacco Companies MUST get their hands on OUR stuff because THEY MUST STILL MAKE THAT MONEY! This is another avenue, after we get can MOST OF THE POPULATION "OFF" OF CIGARETTES AND OVER TO ELECTRONIC CIGARETTES!
    These BIG tobacco companies ARE SCARED! HOW are they going to MAKE MONEY?
    Then it goes FURTHER than that! We, as VAPERS, (as we are NOW called) are NOT addicted to ANYTHING ELSE BUT THE NICOTINE! What about ALLLLL those 'other' chemicals THEY USE TO KILL US OFF, (such as arsenic, among MANY others), and that 'other' addicting chemical that I SWEAR is in cigarettes in ADDITION TO NICOTINE?
    Next is the PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANIES! ALLLLL THE MONEY 'THEY' WILL LOSE WITH "THEIR DRUGS" TO 'SUPPOSEDLY' HELP US QUIT????? HA! That is a crock of _________! THEY want the $$$$, too!
    Just the other day, sitting in my doctor's office, for an appointment NOTHING RELATED TO MY OLD HABIT, "7" Pharma Reps came in during a 45 minute WAIT! I was TICKED! All dressed up in designer suits, thinking THEY had priority over me! I voiced my opinion OUT LOUD as to what "I" thought of them! Prancing in the office EXPECTING to get right in as 'they are important people!' HA! I LOVED it when the office girls told 2 of them they had to sit down and WAIT! HA! You should have seen the look on their faces! They had to walk into the coughing, sneezing and fevers! HA! How's it FEEL? Jerks!
    This is my HONEST OPINION FROM WHAT I HAVE "EXPERIENCED" FROM QUITTING A BAD 30 YEAR HABIT/ADDICTION TO (ANALOG) CIGARETTES AND SWITCHING OVER TO ELECTRONIC CIGARETTES, OTHERWISE NOW KNOWN AS "PERSONAL VAPORIZERS".
    Just my 2 cents worth as to how I feel about the tobacco companies PUTTING THEIR NOSES IN WHERE THEY DON'T BELONG! STAY AWAY! PLEASE!

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    1. Laurie, there are other things in cigarettes that people can become dependent upon, most are MAOIs and they occur NATURALLY in tobacco. My husband also had a hard time quitting using e-cigarettes and once he started using snus, along with the e-cigs, he was able to finally quit smoking. You see, he has very mild depression and mild anxiety and the MAOIs that occur naturally in tobacco leaves are very similar to the same stuff they use in anti-depressant/anti-anxiety medication. Combine that with the habitual and ritual aspects of smoking and you can see why plain nicotine gums, patches (and even e-cigarettes for some) don't work. This can make is SEEM that tobacco companies must have added things to make cigarettes "more addictive," but that myth is really a misunderstanding of smokers and ANTZ lies to get people to hate and mistrust Big Tobacco and keep buying their gums and patches over and over instead.

      I can tell you are probably a relatively new vaper and there is still a lot of facts that you haven't learned yet. I felt very similar to you when I first became a vaper. No offense to anyone, but 30 years ago the risks and addictive properties of cigarettes were well-known, especially from the extensive lawsuit coverage, yet most of us still chose to start smoking. To turn around and vilify the tobacco companies as somehow "making" us a slave or victim to their product is somewhat hypocritical of us. Those of us who started smoking less than 40 years ago have no ground to stand on complaining about what the tobacco companies did or "do TO us." We did it to ourselves. I personally refuse to blame the tobacco companies, like some alcoholic blaming liquor manufacturers for "making" him an alcoholic. The tobacco companies may have lied about knowing of any links to cancer and how addictive their product is, but doctors and scientists were telling us for decades earlier that cigarettes were harmful and addictive. We chose to believe the tobacco companies over the scientists and doctors because...? (Not to mention that 440,000 people supposedly die from tobacco every year, yet the smoking rate stays pretty much the same - meaning then that there must about 440,000 NEW smokers starting every year, IN SPITE of all of the warnings.) And once it all "came out" (basically confirming what doctors and scientists and we all already knew) then the ANTZ started lying to us instead. And they are still lying to the public about safer tobacco alternatives and e-cigarettes.

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    2. I knew about the risks when I started smoking, what I did NOT know for the 20 years after was that there were safer alternatives that would have significantly reduced my risks. Was it the tobacco companies who hid that information from me? No. It was the public health groups, the FDA, the government and the Surgeons General who hid those facts from me and every other smoker for the past 30 years. To keep hating the tobacco companies (who came clean 30 years ago,) instead of focusing on the groups that have lied to us for the past 30 years (that were supposed to actually CARE about our health, but were instead profiting on the knowledge that we would just keep smoking and paying for their funding and tax revenue) makes absolutely no sense to me. I guess my whole point is that people need to move on from hating the tobacco companies and understand who the REAL villains are NOW - the people who knew smoking was dangerous and that there were safer alternatives but allowed us to keep smoking for the past 30 years and continue to do that to every current smoker TODAY. Seriously, who is worse? A company that everyone knows is just trying to make a profit "hiding" the obvious or public health groups and our government, who we trusted to PROTECT us, but were pretending that they weren't profiting by keeping us smoking for the past 30 years?

      I just think people are wasting their energy being angry at the wrong people. Not a perfect analogy, but it's kind of like finding out your spouse slept with your best friend 20 years ago and has been cheating on you with other people for the past 20 years; so you disown your best friend but still keep trusting your spouse!

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  18. How does Kristin feel in the present, now that Big Tobacco RJR is urging FDA to ban their competition, open tank systems, because they know their cigalikes (which dont list the amount of nicotine, or any other ingredients, unlike childproof e juice bottles) cant outsell the more advanced devices fairly? How about going back to WAY too expensive, ineffective, menthol and tobacco only flavors when NO VAPER wants to be reminded of their slavery to smoking ever again? How about expensive refill cartridges that dont work half the time and cant be refilled by the user?
    Lets all have a puppet show for the public: failed tobacco warriors against pretend concerned tobacco companies claiming to be worried for our health, but really what incentive does a cigarette company have to create a healthier alternative to cigarettes, their bread and butter, once the more effective stuff is regulated out of existence?
    See you all on the black market - over water vapor!
    And thats why we do NOT trust Big Tobacco. As for pharma - yeah, they literally (try to) make me sick.

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    1. I didn't say all tobacco companies were smart or ethical, just not "evil." I expected it from at least one tobacco company, but one company also isn't the entire industry and that stil doesn't make the industry as a whole "evil." At this point, it's one company that sees a way to reduce or eliminate competition through regulation - something that just about every industry has done. Look at car companies, cable companies, food companies - every industry has an example of the same type of behavior.

      The tobacco industry has plenty of incentives to create a safer alternative to smoking that still creates revenue. Smoking rates are falling and their customers are tired of being demonized, ostracized and discriminated against. Why would any company not want it's customers to live longer and not be shamed for using its products? Just as with any other company, the point is to make as much money as possible. Long-term smokers are either quitting, dying or switching to smoke-free alternatives and the new smokers aren't replacing them as fast. It only makes financial sense to make products smokers WANT to buy and are more socially accepted. Every year, less and less are buying cigarettes.

      I'd also have to disagree with you that "no vaper wants to be reminded of their slavery to smoking." There are lots of smokers who don't (and vapers who didn't) feel like a "slave." Those are inveterate smokers who never intended on quitting, yet quit when they started using an e-cigarette (like myself, my husband, my brother and his wife, my son - none of whom were even trying to quit smoking.) Just because you hated smoking, doesn't mean every smoker does - in spite of what the public health people tell the public.

      Everything in my blog post remains true, even in light of RJR's predictable actions. In the larger scheme of things, RJR's tactical comment to the FDA is meaningless. If the FDA wanted to prohibit open systems, it would put far more weight in comments from the anti-tobacco groups and pharmaceutical bigwigs than the tobacco companies. Even if RJR had commented that open systems should be allowed, the FDA wouldn't admit to giving it any thought. Better to look beholden to the pharma companies than to big, evil tobacco. If you think about it, since the FDA is so anti-tobacco, any recommendations from the industry would likely be suspect and they'd be more inclined to do the opposite of whatever the tobacco industry supports. For all we know, RJR may have unintentionally saved open systems by opposing them!

      Again, I never said we should trust ANY industry (that includes the e-cigarette industry as it grows.) My point was that the tobacco industry is just that - an industry like any other - not some big, evil entity hell-bent on our distruction.

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