It’s an Emergency! A Crisis! A Catastrophe! We’re All Going to Die! Arrrrgh! (Part 3)

 

Steve Marriott was a talented songwriter and guitar player who fronted seminal rock bands Humble Pie and The Small Faces. As was de rigueur for rock musicians at the time, he was also an egomaniacal jerk, drug addict and alcoholic. In April of 1991, he decided to light up a fag in bed after a night of carousing and died of smoke inhalation in the resulting fire.

He was not alone. According to the National Fire Protection Association, in the United States, over 4000 fires a year are caused by smokers, resulting in about 500 deaths and 1000 injuries. Of course, Marriott died in England. I can’t find the morbidity and mortality stats, but smoking appears to be responsible for about 2800 fires in Great Britain every year. If they were proportional to the U. S., that would mean 350 deaths and 700 injures.

What if e-cigs had been a thing in 1991? Somehow, I doubt that Marriott would now be on the geezers’ tour along with surviving members of The Small Faces and Humble Pie. To (mis)quote Donald Westlake, guys like that don’t last. There’s a good probability that he would have been dead of an overdose or cirrhosis or some other misadventure before the Y2K disaster. I can, however, guarantee that if had been a vaper instead of a smoker he would not have died in a house fire.

I don’t use either regular or e-cigarettes, but I’ve always been surprised by the antipathy to vaping. It’s definitely less nasty than smoking. As a libertarian, I oppose the mandatory bans on smoking in public places. I will admit, however, that bars and restaurants are more pleasant than before those bans. I’ve also hung around vapers; they put out large clouds of mist that quickly dissipate and leave no smell, haze in the air or dirty film on tables.

My friends who have switched from smoking to vaping have nothing but praise for e-cigarettes; they report improved health and none of them want to go back to coffin nails. Of course, this is anecdotal. Nevertheless, it appears that vaping has put a big dent in cigarette sales. I’ll bet makers of nicotine patches and anti-smoking counselors are not happy either… and I think we’ve figured out where the opposition to e-cigs comes from.

Back in August, I read an article in Medscape: First Likely Vaping Death Reported in the US. Here are the first paragraphs:

An individual who had recently vaped and was hospitalized with severe respiratory illness in Illinois has died, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said today in a news briefing. 

It’s the first death potentially linked to e-cigarette use.

In an update to an ongoing investigation, the CDC said today that, as of August 22, there are 193 potential cases of severe lung disease in 22 states that could be caused by e-cigarettes and vaping. That’s 40 more cases than a day earlier, when the CDC reported a total of 153 possible cases, as reported by Medscape Medical News. 

Notice all the weasel words in that report: Likely, potentially, could be? I have some questions. What underlying health problems did the patient have? What was the substance used in the vaping device? I tried to find actual details of the case online, without luck.

Now it’s several weeks later and, mirabile dictu, the number of respiratory cases is over 400, and the number of deaths is either 4 or 6 or 7. Again, the details are hard to find, but it appears that various illegal and unauthorized substances have been used in those vaping devices. In that case, it is not the device that’s the problem. If you go blind after putting acid in an eyedropper, the eyedropper is not the cause, dying after drinking strychnine from a sippy cup doesn’t mean we need sippy cup control.

I don’t know if there are any long-term adverse effects from vaping. Neither does anyone else. I do know that nobody has died from a fire caused by an e-cigarette. How do I know that? Because if it happened, that would national news for weeks.

Vaping helps people stop smoking; even if vaping causes long-term health problems, it would be really hard for those to be worse than the effects of smoking. Of course, we are hearing none of this. Instead, we are subjected to a constant barrage of reports about a small number of people who have misused the product.

We’ve seen this before. A vanishingly small percentage of legal gun owners misuse their weapons and the solution is to ban guns. This, of course, will leave the vast majority of law-abiding gun owners vulnerable to criminals.

The Earth’s climate is changing and the effects, both good and bad, are currently unknown. Some of this change may be caused by mankind’s use of fossil fuels. Again, how much this affects the climate is also unknown. The bad effects of climate change are publicized and exaggerated while the good effects are almost never mentioned. Instead of working on decreasing the bad outcomes and increasing the good, the solution is to get rid of fossil fuels. This, of course, will impoverish us and make it less likely that we’ll have the resources to actually address the problem.

So, I’m not buying the hysteria about vaping. Even if all the bad outcomes being raved about are caused by vaping, it’s still safer than most other vices. Maybe I’ll check it out myself.

Published in Healthcare
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There are 20 comments.

  1. Jimmy Carter Member

    Follow the money.

    If tobacco sales are down due to vaping, then less taxes are collected by the government (especially all those healthcare taxes). And We all know that We can’t have that, now can We? 

    • #1
    • September 14, 2019, at 3:14 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  2. Randy Webster Member

    Actually, we are all going to die. It’s just a matter of when. Only a couple have avoided death, and only one recovered from it. Oops, sorry. Two.

    • #2
    • September 14, 2019, at 3:21 PM PDT
    • 9 likes
  3. Jimmy Carter Member

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    Actually, we are all going to die. It’s just a matter of when. Only a couple have avoided death, and only one recovered from it.

    Uh… “spoiler alert!”

    • #3
    • September 14, 2019, at 3:23 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  4. MarciN Member

    There’s a lot of crony capitalism and liberal-causes arrows at work here causing this alternative to smoking to be criticized and possibly banned.

    First, the tobacco lawsuits of the nineties resulted in the tobacco companies’ pumping a tremendous amount of money into the nonprofit anti-smoking world. There are little committees in every town across the country where there is an executive director making money from the tobacco companies to stop people from smoking. I know this because a friend of mine has a daughter who has one of those executive director’s jobs. It’s good money. They have worked themselves out of a job, however, because only something like 20 percent of the adult public smokes anymore. So now they are looking for things to do.

    Nicotine has no deleterious effects on anyone. The vaping craze is a good alternative–it might be better for some people than drinking alcoholic beverages all night or snacking. It’s also helping people quit the traditional cigarettes.

    But these little nonprofits, which of course usually coalesce into regional nonprofits, need something to do. Some have gone off to fight marijuana, but that’s a losing battle, as they seem to know. Most are going after the local vaping sellers.

    Second, the anti-smoking gums and patches industry is big business now. People mistakenly think that the tobacco industry is acting against the vaping industry. But my information is that actually, the tobacco companies are the ones investing in vaping as an alternative revenue source. Their success is putting a dent in the income of the pharmaceutical suppliers of nicotine in the patches and gum. Since these particular pharmaceutical companies have favorite-child status in Washington–the anti-smoking movement is a huge political force–we’re not hearing about their lobbyists out to put a stop to the vaping industry.

    It’s a tragedy to see this happen. Like the original post, my understanding is that the vaping health problems came from people putting something other than the original vaping product into the vaping equipment. That is the not the fault of the vaping manufacturers.

    • #4
    • September 14, 2019, at 3:31 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  5. PHCheese Member

    Reminds me of the joke, “ do you smoke after sex?” Answer, “ I don’t know I never looked”.

    • #5
    • September 14, 2019, at 4:01 PM PDT
    • 10 likes
  6. GLDIII Temporarily Essential Thatcher

    It takes a lot of creative obfuscation to get the agreed upon correct narrative.

    Before you can never let a crisis to go to waste, first it must be manufactured.

    • #6
    • September 14, 2019, at 4:30 PM PDT
    • 11 likes
  7. Randy Webster Member

    Jimmy Carter (View Comment):

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    Actually, we are all going to die. It’s just a matter of when. Only a couple have avoided death, and only one recovered from it.

    Uh… “spoiler alert!”

    Sorry to surprise you.

    • #7
    • September 14, 2019, at 4:31 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  8. E. Kent Golding Member

    Perhaps neither vaping or smoking is a good idea. And if you want THC, perhaps vaping isn’t the way to deliver it.

    • #8
    • September 14, 2019, at 6:26 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  9. E. Kent Golding Member

    I am a conservative. I trust old fashioned, tested, ways of delivering poisons more than new fangled ones.

    • #9
    • September 14, 2019, at 6:43 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  10. Randy Webster Member

    E. Kent Golding (View Comment):

    I am a conservative. I trust old fashioned, tested, ways of delivering poisons more than new fangled ones.

    That’s what being conservative means.

    • #10
    • September 14, 2019, at 8:49 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  11. Clifford A. Brown Contributor

    JosePluma:

    We’ve seen this before. A vanishingly small percentage of legal gun owners misuse their weapons and the solution is to ban guns. This, of course, will leave the vast majority of law-abiding gun owners vulnerable to criminals.

    The Earth’s climate is changing and the effects, both good and bad, are currently unknown. Some of this change may be caused by mankind’s use of fossil fuels. Again, how much this affects the climate is also unknown. The bad effects of climate change are publicized and exaggerated while the good effects are almost never mentioned. Instead of working on decreasing the bad outcomes and increasing the good, the solution is to get rid of fossil fuels. This, of course, will impoverish us and make it less likely that we’ll have the resources to actually address the problem.

    So, I’m not buying the hysteria about vaping. Even if all the bad outcomes being raved about are caused by vaping, it’s still safer than most other vices. Maybe I’ll check it out myself.

    The Lab Coat Left hard at work, with the connivance of their GOPe corporate confederates.

    • #11
    • September 15, 2019, at 1:16 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  12. I Walton Member

    People do dumb things like smoking. Some of us quit, others moved to less dangerous alternatives. The issue here is the harm they do others like forest fires and increased health care costs for the harm they impose on the rest of us. These should be the concern of the rest of us and we need to think about it.

    • #12
    • September 15, 2019, at 5:29 AM PDT
    • Like
  13. Slow on the uptake Thatcher

    I Walton (View Comment):
    The issue here is the … increased health care costs … they impose on the rest of us.

    That is the only legitimate justification that comes to mind for this issue and any number of others (like, mandatory brain buckets for bikers).

    And for the most part, the increased health care costs that accrue to me due to someone else’s foolishness are made mandatory for me by our good friends in DC.

    • #13
    • September 15, 2019, at 6:07 AM PDT
    • Like
  14. Randy Webster Member

    Slow on the uptake (View Comment):

    I Walton (View Comment):
    The issue here is the … increased health care costs … they impose on the rest of us.

    That is the only legitimate justification that comes to mind for this issue and any number of others (like, mandatory brain buckets for bikers).

    And for the most part, the increased health care costs that accrue to me due to someone else’s foolishness are made mandatory for me by our good friends in DC.

    If you want to see liberty constrained, just wait til we have universal health care.

    • #14
    • September 15, 2019, at 6:55 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  15. Doctor Robert Member

    I am a great fan of vaping. I recommend it to my patients unreservedly. None have been harmed by it. It allows them to quit smoking. As Mr Sanders said about bread lines in commie countries, “That’s a GOOD thing!”.

    My home is a newly clean, wonderfully fragrant place now that my 29 year-old stepdaughter has given up Newports for a vape device. My wife, who used to sneak a smoke on the back porch, now vapes with her to their mutual delight.

    It’s just nicotine and water vapor.

    I have been waiting for the current outburst of vaping’s faux-risks. The libs have been in hysterics over vaping since it first became available. The posts above explain why. The greatest reason, I believe, is their love of authoritarianism, their insistence on controlling other peoples’ lives.

    And there’s the money…

    • #15
    • September 15, 2019, at 6:58 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
  16. Steve C. Member

    Doctor Robert (View Comment):
    And there’s the money…

    I think you’re supposed to follow it!

     

    • #16
    • September 15, 2019, at 7:49 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  17. OccupantCDN Coolidge

    PHCheese (View Comment):

    Reminds me of the joke, “ do you smoke after sex?” Answer, “ I don’t know I never looked”.

    Reminds me of the older joke:

    Sex on TV is very harmful. She keeps falling off.

    They know the older quote from Ben Franklin “Passion governs, and she never governs wisely” this is why they must gin every issue up to a panic, impending disaster. If we let our passion carry us away, we’ll do something foolish, like vote for them. Allow them to carry off their agenda. 

     

    • #17
    • September 15, 2019, at 8:21 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  18. Randy Weivoda Moderator

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    Slow on the uptake (View Comment):

    I Walton (View Comment):
    The issue here is the … increased health care costs … they impose on the rest of us.

    That is the only legitimate justification that comes to mind for this issue and any number of others (like, mandatory brain buckets for bikers).

    And for the most part, the increased health care costs that accrue to me due to someone else’s foolishness are made mandatory for me by our good friends in DC.

    If you want to see liberty constrained, just wait til we have universal health care.

    Indeed. Activities that have an element of risk to them and a low level of participation will have people calling for their banishment. Just as they say that nobody needs a gun whose magazine holds more than ten rounds, they will say that nobody needs to ride rodeo, ski downhill, ride motorcycles, or skateboard.

    • #18
    • September 15, 2019, at 8:45 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  19. cirby Member

    Doctor Robert (View Comment):
    It’s just nicotine and water vapor.

    Not exactly.

    For one thing, glycerin is more-often the carrier chemical in vaping.

    For another, the vast majority of people who vape use flavored vape fluid, which is where the “what’s actually in it?” question comes in. Quite a few manufacturers use diacetyl in their flavorings, which is certainly NOT harmless when inhaled (look up “popcorn lung”). Fortunately, they’re starting to move away from that one, but there’s no real regulation at all for the myriad other flavors and additives that home-grown vape shops have been using.

    One of the suspect chemicals in those vaping injuries and deaths is vitamin E acetate. Harmless when ingested or applied to the skin, but apparently pretty bad for you when inhaled after being heated in a vaping device.

    The real issue isn’t the vaping itself – it’s the amateur chemists who have been tossing all sorts of weird ingredients into their super-cool vape formulas.

     

    • #19
    • September 15, 2019, at 9:55 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  20. MACHO GRANDE' (aka - Chri… Coolidge

    Remember the good old days, when all the Commies were doing was repressing hundreds of millions and creating really bad shoes?

    At least we had Ronnie Raygun back in the day, with his Commie Neutralizer.

     

    • #20
    • September 17, 2019, at 3:15 AM PDT
    • Like