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.

Tim Mechling

Tim is Mt Baker Vapor's resident creative weirdo. He writes, composes music, draws, designs, produces podcasts, investigates, and blows the trumpet for the Common Man.

  • Rich Thomas says:

    It’s only derogatory if it offends. To me it does not. And here is why. A recovering Alcoholic is still an alcoholic. They believe that to remind them of how easy a relapse can happen. Same with most druggies. Therefore I am a smoker indeed. I have not smoked in 42 months. I am also a vaper. I have not vape in 5 months. Did anyone notice that treatment of tobacco addiction is treated entirety wrong compared to that of drugs or alcohol. With those two. They talk at your level and get at root causes. Rather than just plain talking down to you. Now knowing that a recovering alcoholic is a close friend of Bill W. I. As a tobacco and vapor addict while not practicing. Do hear by consider myself a close friend of Stanton Glantz. ( now that’s how offend someone )

  • Lisa Belle says:

    Addiction requires consequence, the only consequence vaping has are the GREEDY profit making entities that are losing money because smokers are moving to an alternative. They are the addicts, their lives are predicated on smokers, smoking. Evil liars and deniers of science advancements!

  • Jerry iozzo says:

    We didn’t get the result we wanted, but I was definitely heard. My testomy was in the Duluth newspaper (a very fair article) now I have smokers contacting me every day via Facebook asking for help to switch to vaping.

  • Angel Tibbs says:

    All that time pretending they wanted to help smokers quit by treating them hatefully/shamefully. Now they want to extend that hate toward smokers who have actually quit smoking.
    Now that the sales of cigarettes and kid friendly nicotine gums are still plummeting, we find out they never expected to help us quit smoking. Never for one second thought we’d quit.
    This slap in the face woke me up, and I advocate. Everyone, in their own way, help the smokers. We have to help ourselves. We cured smoking and they’re trying to make us pay. The lousy hypocrites are endangering lives, and need to be punished appropriately, especially if they work for Public Health.

  • Broony says:

    What a disgrace and disservice by a person who is supposed to be working to help people. In this day and age it seems people will lie to get any work they can, no longer choosing work they would like to do. This might explain what has happened to the health profession no longer having staff with empathy or the ability to service with humility. It has become a greedy world with a higher number of people who will stop at nothing to take what they want caring only for getting their own way regardless to the well being of others.

    I will not try and force you to vape, so why should I let you force me not to save my life?

  • Dragonmum says:

    This is completely outrageous! Stop Smoking Services in the U.K are actively endorsing the electronic cigarette as a means of cutting down or quitting, for those who want to quit. I don’t, but I do NOT consider myself an addict – I find the term totally offensive. Look to the people who profit from those who continue to smoke and ask yourselves what these turquoise-clad busy-bodies hope to gain. All I can see is future generations of smokers and soft jobs for those who are employed to demonize them! Shame on them.

  • Maria says:

    Great article, Alex. One gets the impression that these elected officials have nothing but ill-will to ‘we the people.’ Their hypocrisy knows no bounds

  • Rise says:

    The addicts are the government entities addicted to tobacco settlement money and the public health organizations addicted to making new work for themselves.

    • Sadly, I agree with both points. I know I’m addicted to nicotine, much like I’m addicted to caffeine. However, the money seems to be making a drastic difference in the ‘public health’ opinions.

  • Jennifer Ferdinand says:

    I do take offense at being called an addict. What a lot of these opponents and studies fail to mention or realize is many vapers drop their nicotine levels significantly once they switch to vaping and many times go to 0mgs or even stop vaping and smoking all together. I see vaping as an addiction reduction – to cigarettes; a device able to wean us off analogs that tobacco companies have infused with chemicals to induce addiction and stimulate pleasure centers. No I am not an addict. I’m moving away from being one. Thank you.

    • Well put. It is so important to educate the people around us. Right now, anyone who doesn’t vape only knows what they see in the news. We need to raise our voice so they hear that too.

  • chris says:

    To call peoplr addicts to get the attention that they want people need to understand if you ban ot we come together and fight it its time for our country to come together and stop worry about other people lifes if i vape in a vape store thats on me it doenst hurt these lung people why are they in the store now as for a store i can respect that people cant be around somthings it makes them sick i can respect that but to make a law over it your not bright im a vapor i can breathe run smell better if you just dont like that i vape then move your butt somewhere else get over your self activists grow up worry bout your health not mine im from va and vape everyday im an amercian i can do whatever i danm well like

  • TurtleGodfather says:

    The only “addicts” are the governments that already have the tobacco taxes spent. They have even gone so far as to sell Bonds on the expected incoming revenues. I am now “addicted” to breathing easier, my car smelling fresh and all of the money I have saved in just shy of one year of vaping. Sure, I have spent around $250 on gear but that would have been just 2 weeks worth of cigarettes for me. For once can the government just see its way out of an Industry, it has no business in??

  • Anita Ferrell says:

    I am addicted. To breathing, that is, and I am breathing ever so much easier since switching from smoking to vaping. 2 years strong, thank you. I so appreciate you all keeping us informed on the issues.

  • Kathy says:

    I would like to weigh in on this… i started smoking in my teens, i am now 57 years old.. i did quit cold turkey when i was 25 but began to smoke again at the age of 35.. don’t ask why..lol.. But, in march of this year of 2015 my husband and i bought vapors, 3 weeks or so i was totally vaping and no cigs. I lowered my nicotine over the next 2 months until i was at 0, now i am no longer addicted to nicotine or any of the stuff that cigs has in them, and even though i still vape, i don’t even do that a lot these days.. in fact i only vape a small bottle of i think its 1.0 mil, its hard to see the numbers.. a week , my husband and i have saved so much money by not smoking its unbelievable
    This is totally the way we quit smoking. i only wish i had knows years ago. Yes at first it was a substitute but now its not a thing i have to do or need to do, and eventually i wont do it at all.. When i told my Dr what we did he was all for it.. anything to get his patients to quit smoking, and he isn’t the only Dr that has said this.. People i know that have quit smoking and replaced it with vapor have said the same thing. My sister inlaw has throat cancer, her Dr told her to use vapor instead of cigs.. its a means to an end of smoking for a lot of us and i for one am very happy we have this option.. thank you and happy vaping

  • Kathy says:

    I wanted to add, i smoked 2 packs of cigs a day when we started to vape, thats a lot of ciggs i was coughing all the time, my husband said i coughed most of the night, now i hardly cough at all. i just hope the effects of smoking hasn’t already messed my body up, all i know is i can breath now and i will never pick up another cig again.

  • Evie says:

    So in the face of this awful legislation, I have now lost the ability to purchase my preferred brand of e-liquid (NicQuid). A couple of months ago I drove to Dayton from my home in Indianapolis to restock. I’m now running low again. I know the easy solution is to choose a brand I can buy in Indiana…and I’ve tried- I just can’t find anything I like. Does anyone have any clue on creative ways to HYPOTHETICALLY get NicQuid shipped to Indiana?

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