by Carl V Phillips
This is not a live-blogging kind of a blog, but I thought I would do a few over the next week or two. Right now I am at Vapefest (the e-cigarette aficionados gathering) — quite an interesting experience. This is not the scientific, public health, or even harm reduction side of the low-risk nicotine issue. Not, mind you, that there is no interest in those. This place is thick with knowledge about all of those topics (and with sweet smelling vapor).
But there is something totally different about this compared even to harm reduction meetings. I am intrigued by the hobbyist aspect of the whole enterprise. There is an amazing collection of variant devices for vaping and an amazing knowledge base about how to make them and the “juice”. I still fear for the current smokers who have never heard of vaping, or have been convinced by disinformation from the FDA and others that it is not a sensible alternative to smoking. I still worry about quality control of mass-produced e-cigarettes and, honestly, people with inadequate crafting skill messing around with nicotine solutions to make their own e-cigarette liquid. (I say this as someone whose handiwork skills are such that I very proud of myself for successfully replacing his burned out car headlight on the way here.)
But I am increasingly not worried about the fear that sometimes exists that dedicated vapers will return to smoking when bans or restrictions are imposed. Further restrictions, bans, or lies regarding e-cigarettes will undoubtedly kill some would-be switchers, who might have picked up a simple e-cigarette product at a mall kiosk, but will instead die from smoking. But no one is going to stop the people that I have met here. Banning this would be far more difficult than banning cannabis smoking, and we know how well that works.
Jonathan Foulds — who I had not realized had abandoned the swamps of Jersey for the greener pastures of rural PA — was here collecting survey data, which I would venture to say will show, once again, that e-cigarettes are an effective method of stopping smoking. (Can we please stop differentiating between “smoking cessation” and “substituting for smoking”. There is no difference in that distinction.) I find it intriguing that Pennsylvania could emerge as the center of center of such research.
I find it quite gratifying to meet people who know me well, from our research and writing on THR, but who I normally never have a chance to meet. What we do can get pretty lonely (post comments!!!), and even though we know you are out there, it means a lot to have a few conversations.
That’s it for my first venture in live blogging. I will continue it tomorrow.