American Lung Association Taunts Vapers As Addicts
The ALA has launched one of it’s newest campaigns, “Lung Force” which boasts of it’s members wearing turquoise blue. The American Lung Association, along with public health officials, showed up in droves to support the banning of ecigs in public places. Pat McKone, a prominent figure in the ALA spoke about her concern of vape shops turning into lounges. One commonly missed fact is that lounge areas are prohibited in any store that holds a tobacco license in the state of Minnesota. So, in a narrow 4-3 count, the St. Louis County comissioners voted down an amendment to their public use ban that would have allowed shops to sample thier products to customers.
While certainly legitimate, it was uncouth and unnecessary for roughly 20 public health officials to gang up and verbally taunt a single vaper who spoke in opposition to the ordinance, Jerry Iozzo. Someone posted a picture of the Lung Force “squad” in their turquoise blue and posted it to Twitter under the account @LethalLureMN, stating “Who are you going to believe, medical & health experts or addicts & sellers of e-cigs?”. The tweet also used the hashtag #LethalLure, which is commonly used by the program manager of the ALA, Jill Doberstein, who typically uses the handle @mamaJDoberstein.
The use of the word addicts in a manner that degrades vapers as second class citizens is offensive and repulsive. When fighting against implementation of electronic cigarettes into the Minnesota Clean Indoor Air Act in 2014, senator Kathy Sheran stated in an article for the Mankato Free Press “[Governor Dayton] is focusing on taking care of addicts and letting them practice their addiction at the expense of the general public.”. The statement by senator Sheran provoked an article entitled “Letter to Sen. Sheran from MN Resident” posted by the Minnesota Vapers Advocacy by the person who is now the acting president of the MNVA. In his article, Jason Downing states “To see an on-the-record comment of this nature from an elected official with regard to using a legal product is unconscionable to me and to be frank, you owe this community an apology and a full retration of these comments.”. Senator Sheran did the honorable thing and issued a statement that she did not mean to offend vapers.
Jerry Iozzo, in an email to Patrick Boyle, the St. Louis County Comissioner who headed the ban on vaping in public, asked the comissioner to address the issue of the tweet by the ALA. The comissioner responded “This should NEVER happen. It will be addressed.”. The tweet has been pulled from the @LethalLureMN account, but this is not enough to address the harassment of vapers. We are not second class citizens. We did what you told us to do. We found a way to get away from smoking tobacco cigarettes.
While I don’t agree that vaping, in and of itself, is an addiction in the first place, the American Lung Association should know more than anyone that the use of the word as an attack against an addict is not helpful in the least. In fact, it is more likely to hurt the persons personal situation. When I smoked cigarettes, any time someone would say “you know those things are bad for you” it would make me want to smoke more than anything else.
The American Lung Association should issue an apology to the vaper in St. Louis County who stood up for what he felt was right, knowing he would be out-numbered by the opposition. That day, he was a hero to vapers everywhere and certainly did not deserve to be bullied by a professional organization.