They just can’t let a good thing be a good thing

Of course Katherine Heigl’s success in switching from cigarettes to e-cigarettes couldn’t go without some negative spin.  In this exceedingly skeptical commentary on her public praise of the e-cigarette, we find that ubiquitous red herring: addiction.

The fact that e-cigarettes still contain nicotine and are therefore addictive is heralded as the e-cig’s main failing in this article, along with the other usual suspects (like the claim that it has not been proven in smoking cessation, and that it contains dangerous chemicals).  Addiction is that convenient go-to argument for when you really want to denigrate something, but there’s not much there to argue against; a necessary item in anyone’s backpocket arsenal of pejorative terms.  Unfortunately, its normative nature makes it difficult to argue against its invocation (unlike the others, which are empirical claims), and questioning it leads us into a circular argument.  Why is nicotine bad?  Because it’s addictive.  What is addiction?  It’s something bad.

Particularly embarrassing is the article’s quotes from three pulmonary experts, giving shameful advice to smokers to avoid these because they still contain nicotine.  These experts absolutely should be cheering the advent of the e-cigarette, but of course, they can’t just let a good thing be a good thing.

(Note that after I wrote this I noticed Michael Siegel’s post on it from yesterday, and he goes into some of the other statements made in this article.)

And to top it all off, we have Dr. Len Horovitz, a pulmonary specialist, claiming that nicotine replacement aids are the best way to quit smoking – patently false, since quitting cold turkey is by far the most successful way smokers quit, long-term.  That put aside, the fact that the article negatively spotlights the addictiveness of nicotine, and then recommends a nicotine source as the way to quit smoking, is just another example of brow-furrowing, baffling statements made by the anti-tobacco faction.

(Horovitz, by the way, is not new to the “We Hate E-Cigs” fan club… check out this link for some previously-made comments of his.  And it turns out he is a member of HD Reps, a talent agency for broadcasters.  Basically, he’s a convenient source for members of the media who need an opinion on something.  Interesting that he’s getting his 15 minutes from making anti-e-cig claims.)



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