Fed up with false reports on e-cigarette safety that highlight greatly exaggerated e-cig dangers, the grassroots Smoke Free Alternatives Trade Association (SFATA) is taking action.
The non-profit, grassroots e-cig organization has simply had enough of seeing e-cig research that is so clearly slanted make the headlines. E-cigarette research is a vital component of growing the industry and getting the word out there about these products, but not if it is as misleading as it has been thus far.
People want to know the answer to the popular “are e-cigs safe” question, and the provocative conclusions that are being publicized simply lead people to assume e-cigs are terrible. This isn’t acceptable to the leaders and members of the SFATA, and they are beyond angry about it.
The non-profit Smoke Free Alternatives Trade Association is turning that anger into more than words, they are turning it into dollars that can spur action on the are e-cigs safe issue. Their SFATA recently held a fundraiser that saw over $110,000 donated in a span of three hours, showing that these folks are more concerned about bad press than iffy reports of e-cig dangers.
The general feeling among the members is that e-cigarette safety, while it certainly is something to keep track of, doesn’t compare to what these former smokers endured. The e-cigarette research that pops up inevitably has a negative spin and the conclusion reached is that there is massive bias going on. More than that, some have simply labeled it a misinformation campaign.
One of those who falls into that group is Stefan Didak, the co-President of the Northern California SFATA. Didak spoke to Mirror Online about this, saying “Several state funded tobacco control coalitions have taken their approach too far and crossed a few lines that we are going to have examined by lawyers.”
He went on to insist that “Misleading arguments can and will end up in court in front of a judge,” threatening to take the legal route against disseminators of false e-cig research. While we don’t know if this is the official position of the Smoke Free Alternatives Trade Association or merely a way to reflect the seriousness of the issue, it shows how far the anger has risen against the mass amount of false information out there.
Electronic cigarette critics beware, keep lying about e-cigs and you may find yourself in court. SFATA has had enough.
If you have been following us here at ECCR or simply following the e-cig industry at all, you know that the negative reports regarding e-cigarettes have come fast and furious at times. This isn’t necessarily because reporters care so much about e-cigarette safety and feel they have to warn the public. No, more and more we see half-truths and bad e-cig research propped up as hard facts that could lead smokers to think e-cig dangers are a reason for them to stay away and keep smoking.
This is a terrible thing for all of us and especially for those looking for a genuine alternative to traditional tobacco cigarettes, an alternative millions have found in e-cigarettes.
So why have so many journalists been so willing to chime in with stories that will answer the are e-cigs safe question negatively? Part of it, it seems, is how these stories play out in the media. We all know the famous “if it bleeds, it leads” saying from news television. That can really be expanded to “anything frightening will grab people’s attention.”
People are much more likely to read something that is negative and shocking than they are to read something positive. This is essentially the point that Professor Robert West makes. West, from the University College London’s Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, explains, “Bad studies on e-cigarettes are easy to do and easy to get into top journals, which are hungry for publicity.” The opposite is also true he says, as “Good studies are hard to do and are difficult to get into top journals if they do not lead to scare stories.”
All of this makes it increasingly difficult to find unbiased information on electronic cigarettes. If there is much more of a chance in having your work seen if the conclusions are negative, why would researchers not put a negative slant on their data? More attention, more funding for their next study.
Even if the bias is unconscious or can be said to be a simple issue of how they frame the problem, this is a big problem. “The only way to combat influence over public opinion would be to present the facts… combined with political pressure through lobbyists,” Stefan Didak explains. “To top it all off [there will be] some specific litigation against the worst offenders who knowingly engaged in publishing misleading information.”
Whether or not that is the best way to combat this or not, we do know that there is a problem and many in the vaping community are simply furious at the current situation.