For years the vaping world has suffered bias. Many who hate smoking also hate vaping, with no just cause. There are those who never smoked or don't smoke anymore who see all exhaled clouds as the same beast.
Some of it is created by headline-needy journalists, under pressure to compete with rivals, or being too lazy to look at all the facts and write an objective story. Others simply are and will always be haters.
But the tide is turning. Or if not a full-blown tide then at least there's some significant waves.
Last week Cancer Research published its findings from a 6-month study into the risks of vaping. And their headline was this...
E-Cigarettes Safer Than Smoking Says Long Term Study
“Cancer Research UK-funded scientists found that people who swapped smoking regular cigarettes for e-cigarettes or nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) for at least six months, had much lower levels of toxic and cancer-causing substances in their body than people who continued to use conventional cigarettes.
For the first time, researchers analysed the saliva and urine of long-term e-cigarette and NRT users, as well as smokers, and compared body-level exposure to key chemicals.”
Advocacy has always been a problem for vaping. The UK has a pretty progressive approach to vaping, but not so much so in the US – vote insecure politicians and other interested parties, driven by simpler reasons, have demonised vaping in the US to the point where it seems it's almost better for your health to be a smoker.
But the Cancer Research study was widely reported in the press (if you looked hard enough) on both sides of the Atlantic. A household name charity study is just too much to ignore.
And part of the problem is that study after study after study has been conducted.
It has led to a daily barrage of sensationalist headlines and with so many studies it's tiring to sort the wheat from the chaff. Most had a negative slant and were based on very small numbers of people.
The worst ones were the anecdotal studies:
“If I asked people what they wanted, they'd have said faster horses”, goes the phrase falsely attributed to car maker Henry Ford. The point being that people can't accurately know what they will want until they act on it.
But before Cancer Research's study was published (in the Annals of Internal Medicine) some media had already begun to question the constant abuse of vaping.
Merchants Of Doubt: How Public Health Uses Tobacco Tactics Against E-Cigarettes
Forbes, Feb 2, 2017
Why fake news plagues the e-cigarette debate
Washington Examiner, Feb 6, 2017
Stop the junk science on vaping. E-cigarettes don’t turn kids into smokers
Spectator Health, Feb 8, 2017
It's advocacy of a sort. And persistence beats resistance as the saying goes - you can't put a good thing down.
Modern vaping is a fledgeling that had, until more recently, been ignored and it's being proven more and more often than in the battle between smoking and vaping, the latter is the least harmful. Of course, the important phrase here is 'least harmful', because no one's claiming vaping is a miracle in cig-a-like form.
And it being the least harmful is the key issue for the millions of people that advertisers were allowed to get hooked on cigarettes in the first place. Smokers are turning to vaping as a means to improve their lives and their health, not to upset anyone or get kids hooked. It's intensely personal.
Vaping is 95% safer than smoking. Public Health England said that last year. And that's why people switch. And that's why vaping is enduring, despite legislation and studies and headlines across the world trying to beat it down.
Enough of the junk science and fake news. Necessity is the mother of invention, and vaping was invented from the need of one smoker to improve his health. It caught on.
It's not really about vaping or about smoking, it's about a person striving to improve.
The evil the politicians are claiming they hate is smoking. They chant 'we don't want vaping because it turns kids into smokers'. But if vaping all but eradicates smoking it won't.