Vaping advocacy on social media

Advocates use a variety of methods to convey the message that vaping saves lives as they strive to counter the scare stories from anti- nicotine lobbyists and pressure groups.

They speak live at conferences around the world, write newspaper columns, articles and blogs and attend virtual debates to explain the tobacco harm reduction rationale.

Social media also plays a huge part in helping educate smokers that vaping has been scientifically shown to be the best quitting aid ever devised.

In this feature we focus on the use of imagery in social media.

In these often-humorous posts, the advocates let the pictures do the talking and these are some recent examples which have caught my eye.

MODEL T FORD

This iconic vehicle – the Model T Ford – revolutionised the way we travel and changed the lives of middle-class Americans forever.

In a similar way, vaping has the power to change the lives of adult smokers by allowing them a modern, and far less harmful, alternative to cigarettes.

US Harm reduction advocate Charles A. Gardner used the iconic car image to good effect when he posted this on Twitter: In a message showing his frustration at the slow rate of progress from US vape regulator the Food and Drug Administration, he wrote: “If @FDATobacco regulated automobiles, we would all still be driving these.”

@VapingHotGranny replied that the same message currently being used by anti-vaping groups about e-cigarettes – that we must protect kids from this new harm – was also used about Henry Ford’s 1908 invention.

She said that opponents at the time pointed out that the new form of transport would ‘harm children playing in the streets.’

YOU’VE BEEN WARNED

The state of Califorina is well known for having a warning for just about everything and nicotine is no exception.

Nicotine comes under the state’s ‘Proposition 65’ which requires businesses to warn consumers about certain chemicals which may cause ‘cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm.’

While nobody is saying that health warnings are necessarily bad, many think that having too many could actually be counterproductive as it increases the likelihood of all the warnings being ignored.

Here, harm reduction advocate @VapingIT highlights this problem with a warning message of their own.

TOO LATE NOW

As any smoker who has successfully quit tobacco by using an e-cigarette will know…vaping really does save lives.

Sadly, and due in part to the overwhelmingly negative press that vaping gets in the mainstream media, many smokers are too scared to switch.

Horror stories about the potential harms of vaping – all totally untrue – cause many smokers to think twice about switching. And given that smoking accounts for around eight million deaths a year, people are dying needlessly because they are unaware that vaping is a reduced risk product.

If you are reading this, then you will almost certainly know that vaping is 95 percent less harmful than smoking…now we need to get that message across to smokers too.

The absurdity of this was brilliantly summed up in another Twitter post from @ VapingIT who really knows how to use powerful images on social media.

They use a simple image of a headstone which contains the inscription: “I listened to the experts. They said e-cigarettes were bad. I was scared to try them. Now I wish I had.”

HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE?

If you search online for ‘nicotine’ it will not be too long before you come across the (now debunked) claim that ‘nicotine harms developing brains’.

Many tobacco harm reduction advocates around the world fi nd this claim to be absolutely absurd. One, often cited, example is that the very same nicotine that has been used in NRT products including patches, gums, tablets and nasal sprays, is also used in vaping products.

So, if it is true that nicotine harms the developing brains of vapers, then surely it must do the same for the users of NRT products?

In America, the Food and Drug Administration, which regulates vape products and is responsible for protecting public heath, repeats the claim about nicotine harming developing brains to support its anti-vaping stance.

However, it has also authorised the over-the-couner sale of nicotine gum in mint and fruit fl avours for use by ‘adults and children aged 12 years and over’.

Here Charles A. Gardner, the Executive Director of INNCO – the International Network of Nicotine Consumer Associations – highlights the FDA’s contradictory approach to nicotine. He wrote: “Based on no human evidence, @CDCTobaccoFree claims ‘nicotine harms developing brains’.

“Yet @DrCaliff_FDA’s @US_FDA has authorized nicotine gum (literally candy) to be sold over-thecounter in mint & fruit fl avors ‘for adults and children 12 years and over’. Got it?”

BANNING E-CIGARETTES IS MANSLAUGHTER

Yet another tweet from Charles A. Gardner shows that this esteemed vape advocate is not scared to speak bluntly when it comes to getting the tobacco harm reduction message across.

He was replying to a tweet from pharmacy owner and pastor Christopher Sylvain who said that e-cigarettes had ‘zero value to the public’ and that promoting them was ‘immoral.’

The INNCO Executive Director replied: “IMHO, since e-cigarettes are clearly safer than smoking…not promoting them to adult smokers is not just immoral, it is negligent homicide. Banning them is manslaughter.

“FYI, they have easily saved >1 million lives so far.”

Then he hammered home his message with this infographic which put adult and teenage vaping in context:

Gardner wrote: “For every US teen who uses e-cigarettes (which they obviously should not do) …eight US adults have quit smoking completely with nicotine vapes.

“Reminder: unlike vaping, smoking actually kills people.”

AND FINALLY… WHO DOESN’T LOVE A GOOD PUN? SHERLOCK OHMS

The creative teams at the World Vapers’ Alliance use a vast number of tactics to get the message across that ‘vaping saves lives’.

They can be seen at vape expos, talking at live or virtual events and very often take their colourful and fun campaigns directly to politicians with high-profi le events staged at the seats of power throughout Europe.

The WVA is also very active on social media, especially Twitter.

In this tweet, they took an instantly-recognisable profi le picture of the legendary fi ctional detective Sherlock Holmes and added a vape to his lips to promote their #BackVapingBeatSmoking campaign.

And what did they call him? Sherlock Ohms of course!

You can read about the WVA’s latest ‘Back Vaping Beat Smoking’ tour of Europe in our article ‘Back on the road’ in this magazine

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 Advocates use a variety of methods to convey the message that vaping…
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