The way to get people to stay away from evil e-cigarettes and smokeless tobacco is to play with their emotions. At least so says a study from a group of researchers that includes acolytes of Stanton Glantz at the University of California-San Francisco.
Lucy Popova and Pamela Ling have been part of the Glantz family for many years, and have authored or co-authored lies ranging in size from tiny fib to huge whopper. Fun fact: Ling also starred for a season on MTV’s “The Real World” reality show in the 1990’s.
Nowadays, Ling and Popova are interested in how anti-tobacco zealots can use human emotions to make people less interested in “alternative tobacco products.” Why? Because they don’t like alternative tobacco products, and they don’t think adults are capable of making those kinds of choices on their own.
The study itself is pure junk. They showed smokers and non-smokers advertisements for smokeless tobacco and vapor products, some with warnings and some without. Then they asked the participants to rank various emotions the ads invoked. You can tell it’s real science because they used “multivariable hierarchical linear regression analyses for openness to trying alternative tobacco products.”
What’d they find? “Different emotions were associated with interest in different products. Disgust was associated with reduced interest in moist snuff and snus only, while anxiety was related to lower interest in e-cigarettes but not smokeless tobacco. This is perhaps not surprising as use of smokeless tobacco (and associated spitting, spitting jars, wads of chew) frequently is viewed as disgusting, especially among nonusers.” Ewww, wet tobacco is so gross!
Vaping didn’t disgust most of the participants though. Instead, the viewers of the ads were anxious. “In contrast, anxiety might be more pertinent to e-cigarettes as consumers are frequently uncertain about the health effects and unknown risks of these novel products.” Well, yeah — because you and your colleagues have been working overtime to create that uncertainty!
They found that, especially among smokers, e-cigarettes often evoked hope. “We do not know exactly what ‘hope’ meant to the respondents, but given the fact that the highest levels of hope were elicited by e-cigarette advertisements, especially among smokers, we can surmise that it might have been either hope of quitting smoking with the aid of e-cigarette or hope of continuing to use nicotine safely with a less harmful product.”
Well, we can’t have that. I quit smoking with e-cigarettes, every vaper I know quit that way, and according to CDC survey data, at least two million Americans have also done just that. But Popova and Ling think that’s just awful. The authors think vaping should be discouraged, and they think they know how to do it.
“Antitobacco messages could focus on giving smokers hope about quitting by using proven and regulated means, such as counseling, FDA-approved nicotine-replacement therapy, and by using messages that raise their self-efficacy,” they write. “Public education campaigns should consider using messages that lower hope associated with tobacco products but increase hope for cessation or life without tobacco.”
So smokers are hopeful that vaping will work (because it can). Kill the hope, say Popova and Ling, and give those poor bastards some gum and patches. They deserve the same old stuff they’ve been trying for the last 20 years, and that’s all they should get. No hope for you, smokers.