Sorry – what follows is a rant – but is something so fundamental to how your faithful blogger thinks I really had to put this to paper (the virtual sort).
Was in a conversation with a friend recently who was urging me to quit the ecig industry – saying we feed off peoples’ addiction. I quite firmly insisted that helping sell ecigs is actually helping people take the first step towards a healthier lifestyle because electronic cigarette cartridges do not contain tar and other carcinogens that are really bad for you.
So he lectured me on the fact that any form of addiction is bad for you. I told him I did not deny that but the reality is that it is actually quite hard to quit nicotine and in practice it is easier to substitute cigarettes for ecigs. But he brushed it off as an excuse to sell products that he classified were in a ‘gray area’. So I asked him if it is ok to sell nicotine patches and nicorette gum. He quickly said ‘yes’.
I asked him how ecigs were different from these products – chemically I mean. He agreed that there was a little difference but countered that ecigs felt like the real thing while gum and patches felt more like traditional medicine and did not indulge the smoker in their ‘fix’ fantasy. So ecigs were somewhat like fat-free cheesecake to a dieter. It does not kick the addiction but merely introduces a healthier alternative. We both agreed to this.
Then I made the lofty (but true) statement that if I helped 10,000 people to permanently convert to ecigs from tobacco cigarettes over the course of a year I would likely positively impact families and help save at least 3,000 lives. So this is really a rewarding and fruitful profession. We may not be doctors but reduce the chances that someone has to see their doctor in the first place. He vehemently shook me up and said that I should not pretend that I am helping society but was in this merely for the profit motive. If I really wanted to help society and others I would instead take up the medical profession and not choose a profession in a grey area such as selling ecigs.
I left it at that. I guess different people do think differently. I can’t bring everyone else to see my point of view. If he were a smoker or a vaper he would probably have understood me better?