Anti-Vaping organizations exist, and they aren’t going anywhere. These groups put out campaigns much like a marketing firm, with huge sums of money changing hands. Their common (ludicrous) themes: Vaping is aimed at children, vaping is a public health menace, and big tobacco is behind all things vape. Today, we’ll be exploring how these campaigns self-propogate, and influence public opinion against vaping.
Ideally, science and research should hold truth and empiricism to the highest degree. In reality, anytime you see a “scientific” study, you need to question its funding, and, subsequently, its credibility. 2016 was the year of fake news. Among the most viral content in social media for 2016 contained verbiage similar to “New Study Confirms…” or “According to Science.” Whether the science is legit or not, mentioning science in the title makes the content exponentially more sharable. Believe it or not, marketers (and anti-vape organizations) have taken notice.
Modern-day scientific publication has its share of flaws. In a nutshell, the competitive nature of scientific publication (“publish or perish“) has driven the quality of much scientific research to tabloid levels. If the science is truly air-tight, but it fails to outrage, inspire, further an agenda, raise funds, or grab attention, it has a significantly reduced chance of getting published. The effect? Sensational pseudoscience with a massive audience.
This brings me to the bureaucracy of anti-smoking and anti-vaping. The government has two conflicting goals in its stop-smoking campaigns. According to staff economist Mark Robyn of the Tax Foundation, “Cigarette tax policy is interesting in that it has two competing goals. One is to raise revenue and one is to reduce smoking, so to the extent that it reduces smoking it doesn’t raise revenue.” If the American government (Federal/State) eliminated smoking altogether, it would be out tens of billions of dollars. To keep the revenue flowing (while appearing to be making every effort to stop smoking), the government is working with Big Tobacco to establish anti-smoking bureaucracies like the American Legacy Foundation (remember those Truth ads?).
Did you think the American Legacy Foundation started with grassroots support? The American Legacy Foundation was formed from Tobacco Master Settlement funds, which are from Big Tobacco. Since vaping is throwing a wrench in the revenue gears, some of these anti-smoking groups have pivoted into anti-vaping bureaucracies. The scary thing about bureaucracies is that once they begin, they self-propagate beyond their usefulness. The bureaucrats that govern huge foundations and agencies enjoy luxurious salaries with benefits, and have a frenzied interest in keeping their groups alive. All the players have a vested interest in keeping themselves afloat, by keeping a steady stream of revenue and impressions, fueled by pseudoscience, propaganda, and slick PR. Parkinson’s Law is alive and well in the bureaucracy of anti-vaping.
The following are anti-vaping groups, whose funding should be watched very carefully:
An informed consumer is a powerful one. Know where money is coming from, and where it is going, when you consider campaigns. There is a lot of money to be made in anti-smoking and anti-vaping. To contribute to the vaping cause, be sure to donate to r2bsmokefree.
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