Vaping Is Big Tobacco’s Bait and Switch

Cigarettes hooked generations of teenagers. Now E-cigs might be employing more of the same questionable marketing tactics.

To nobody’s surprise, the tobacco industry is pushing a new kind of smoking device — the e-cig or vape pen — that it says is far healthier than traditional cigarettes… Notice that their vernacular hammers “Safety” and “Healthier” and doesn’t mention that these devices are probably harmful.

“Harm Reduction” means it won’t hurt you as badly as cigarettes… It does not mean it is a healthy activity.

Of course, there is no mention that these devices are being falsely promoted as “Health Enhancing Devices”.

A Little History

I was 14 when I started smoking cigarettes, and so were most of my friends. It was summer and we would walk to the municipal pool. We cut through the local cemetery to shorten the walk and we chain-smoked cigarettes the whole way.

Little did we appreciate the irony of beginning a lifelong addiction in the same place where it was destined to end.

We smoked for lots of reasons: We smoked to defy our parents who told us not to smoke while they were setting the opposite example by being Smokers themselves.

We smoked because smoking was forbidden and cigarettes were easy to buy.

We smoked because we thought it made us look tough and masculine. At least, John Wayne and Tom Sellick made it look Macho.


If not John Wayne, it was the Tarryton guy with the black eye telling us “I’d rather fight than switch.”

Effective Marketing

All of that — the appeal, the access, the illicitness of cigarettes — was by design. By the time my friends and I were born, cigarette makers had stitched their products into the fabric of our culture so thoroughly that not even a century’s worth of research tying those products to an array of slow, painful deaths was enough to deter many of us.

Tobacco companies glamorized smoking and made cigarettes a diet tool and a matter of high fashion. (Virginia Slims). They made smoking a feminist act.

They didn’t just assure the public that it was safe to smoke; they even used doctors to push safety of their brands.

Polishing the Deception

And the more they came to understand marketing their own product, the more they advertised cigarettes to the young. Most people who don’t start smoking by the end of adolescence never will. The cigarette makers knew that. They knew they had to target Kids to replace 400,000 smoking deaths every year in America alone.

Tobacco remains the leading cause of preventable death in the United States. Smoking kills some 480,000 people a year — more than AIDS, car accidents, illegal drugs and suicide combined — and costs $170 billion in annual health care expenditures, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

E-cig makers say, and some health experts believe, that e-cigs could help lower these terrible numbers, because they contain far fewer toxins than traditional tobacco cigarettes. The thinking goes that if all current smokers switched to these devices, the burden of disease and death could be dramatically cut.

FDA Role

Since he assumed his role as Director at the Food and Drug Administration two years ago, Dr. Scott Gottlieb has tried to strike a balance between encouraging adult smokers to switch to e-cigs and keeping the devices away from minors.

Teenagers face disproportionate risk from smoking, partly because nicotine is known to harm the developing brain.

That plan backfired last year, when teen vaping reached epidemic proportions. Dr. Gottlieb has since tried to put the industry in check by, among other things, forcing e-cig makers to devise plans for keeping their products away from kids.

There are still many unanswered questions about the safety of e-cigs.It’s unclear how well they work as a smoking cessation tool. And while they are almost certainly safer than regular cigarettes, they are not necessarily safe.


Health officials know next to nothing about the flavorings or about other chemicals generated by the heating of e-liquids. They also don’t know how many teenagers who start using e-cigs will move on to tobacco products.

Until these crucial questions can be honestly answered, it’s best to err on the side of caution. At Stop for Life , we continue to teach and support total abstinence as the prefered method to stop smoking.

10 Replies to “Vaping Is Big Tobacco’s Bait and Switch”

  1. Hi John

    I have spoken to many people who are vaping trying to stop smoking and recently I read an article that vaping can cause the lungs to get what is called crackle lung which is very dangerous to peoples health like cigarettes.

    I feel if people take your course and don’t use anything artificial to “help” them stop smoking they will have much better results as they have true support and from an ex-smoker as well- Well done and thank you for this post

    I am going to share this as many people who smoke as possible

    Keep on helping people John 🙂

    1. Hi Vicki,

      My best explanation of Crackles comes straight from a Wiki search:

      Crackles are often associated with inflammation or infection of the small bronchi, bronchioles, and alveoli. Crackles that do not clear after a cough may indicate pulmonary edema or fluid in the alveoli due to heart failure, pulmonary fibrosis, or acute respiratory distress syndrome.

      This means: “If it ain’t Oxygen, why would you put it in your lungs? Vapor is air with suspended particles. It sounds like the moisture from the Vape causes the inflammation and infection… That’s my educated guess.

      We still don’t know yet what the long term consequences of vaping will be because it hasn’t been around long enough to measure.

      Thanks for referring me to your friends… Please get back to me with their success stories !


  2. An interesting read, I got one for my mum as a smoking cessation tool after reading the 100+ page from the FDA and talking with her doctor regarding the research and potential risks associated.

    I have to agree abstinence is the best tool! I look forward to reading more from you on the topic and when further research becomes available.

    1. Hi Belinda,

      Even though your Mom has taken up Vaping, my book can also be used to break that addiction as well. 

      I appreciate that you enjoy and look forward to my blogs, but I hope that my readers are not missing the point that the entire program is available immediately through the site. The blogs contain information that comes directly from my book, so there is no need for anyone to wait for further research… We already have the solution.

      Best wishes….

  3. Hey,

    thanks for this enlightening post on the potential dangers of vaping. I myself do not smoke, but many of my friends do. And I have never trusted new devices claiming to be perfect, which is the case of e-cigs.

    I am glad you are warning about this product since many of the people I know who vape seem to feel much better about themselves than when they used to smoke. Which in itself is great, but it makes them forget that this activity still has unknown dangers that need to be taken seriously.

    1. Thanks Alex,

      I appreciate you pointing out that unknown dangers are still dangers to be taken seriously.

      Take care!

  4. Hi  John. 

    I would like to thank you for your article. I am a current smoker for 30 years……OUCH ( I don’t like to admit that, not even to myself.) I have tried many ways to quit smoking, vaping has been one of them. It did not help me. I have tried cold turkey, cutting back and a pill. The pill did help me quit, but it was very expensive and I started smoking again. Smoking seems to be my stress relief.

    You would think after 3 heart attacks that I should be able to lay these stupid things down. I want to quit, but I am having a very difficult time doing it.

    After reading your article I am going to subscribe to your news letter and praying that I can quit for life.

    Thank you for helping people


    1. Hello Lee Ann,

      Please don’t miss the whole point of the website articles. 

      It is to give help and direction to Smokers who want to stop smoking and hopefully to provide motivation and direction. The entire Stop for Life program outlines the 5 Day Program

      The articles address various topics related to stopping smoking, but they do not individually assist you.

      Please come back and post your success story with us.


  5. Hi, I’ve carefully watched and read the articles on your “Vaping Is Big Tobacco’s Bait and Switch”. I read an tropic that vaping can cause the lungs to get what is called crackle lung which is very dangerous to people’s health like cigarettes. E-cig makers say and some health experts believe,that e-cigs could help lower these terrible death numbers of peoples.

    Thanks to you  I am sharing your post as many peoples who smoke as possible.

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