I totally agree with you, John. As I did my research for this piece, I couldn’t help but notice that there’s a very intriguing divide that has developed between anti-smoking activists on this issue, and I suspect it exists for precisely the reasons you cite in your comment.
On one side, you have anti-smoking activists who take a very narrow view of this issue. They see vapor that looks like smoke and contains nicotine, immediately equate it with smoking, and instinctively move to attack it in much the same way that they’ve been attacking traditional tobacco. There’s a distinctly authoritarian tone to their campaign, as though they’re more interested in destroying the culture around vaping/smoking than they are in saving lives.
On the other side, though, you have anti-smoking activists who take a broader and more nuanced view of things. They recognize vaping’s potential as a smoking cessation strategy, and they want to exploit that potential for the benefit of smokers who have struggled to quit. However, they also do recognize the risks associated with it and want to make certain that those risks are mitigated to the greatest extent possible.
I think the divide between these activists is rooted in the observation you made about how our society has a tendency to want to break everything down into a good-versus-evil story. That’s also why I think vaping advocates should consider adopting a similar approach and start framing their position on this issue as the most morally defensible position, which I genuinely think it is given the millions of lives that could conceivably be saved by e-cigarettes.
Anyways, thank you so much for the kind words, and for taking the time to read and comment. Have a wonderful night! :)