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Mainstream Media

Discussion in 'Media and General News' started by JustMeAgain, Apr 3, 2009.

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  1. JustMeAgain

    JustMeAgain Ultra Member Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Apr 3, 2009
    Springfield, MO
    Hi all....

    I've been lurking here for awhile and now since I'm a full fledged member :D, wanted to add a thought.

    Other than the segment on the show The Doctors, I am just not seeing enough in the way of positive discussions of ecigs in the media. I keep wondering why when a show like the Today Show devotes so much time to helping people quit smoking and they discussion options available, yet they never mention ecigs.

    There is a large number of smokers out there who have never heard of ecigs, and I think that if more people are aware of these and the more people who are using them while they are still available it will become more difficult to withhold any kind of approval or enforce a ban.

    Yesterday I watched yet another segment about the evils of smoking (like we don't already know this stuff) and witnessed yet another failure to bring the potential of ecigs to more people's attention. So, I sent the Today Show an email. I'm pasting the email below.

    But I think that nagging mainstream media into a discussion of this product might be helpful in making them more readily available. I also think that there are people who seem to want to brush this product under the rug, and that they need to be called to task.

    Anybody agree with me or am I off on some crazy tangent? Not that that hasn't ever happened before...:p

    Here's the email I sent: (note: when trying to post this I learned that since I've not posted here before I can't include URL's. No problem, but I did include a link to Senator Lautenburg's request regarding the FDA and a link to opensecrets that showed what he'd received in campaign contributions from the pharmaceutical world.)

     
  2. JustMeAgain

    JustMeAgain Ultra Member Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Apr 3, 2009
    Springfield, MO
    hmmm...my email disappeared...gonna try pasting it here:

    Here's the email I sent: (note: when trying to post this I learned that since I've not posted here before I can't include URL's. No problem, but I did include a link to Senator Lautenburg's request regarding the FDA and a link to opensecrets that showed what he'd received in campaign contributions from the pharmaceutical world.)
     
  3. JustMeAgain

    JustMeAgain Ultra Member Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Apr 3, 2009
    Springfield, MO
    Not sure why I'm having problems pasting the email, but trying it again....


    I am very disappointed in the lack of information presented on your show regarding the anti-smoking campaign and cigarette taxes.

    Recently you had a segment on helping people to quit smoking, and you mentioned a website where viewers could discuss this segment with Dr. Nancy Snyderman as well as other experts. I posed a question there asking about the same issue I am addressing in this email, but received no response.

    Part of the discussion in Congress at this time is in regard to electronic cigarettes. In case you are unfamiliar with this product, it is a battery operated device that delivers nicotine - without tar or the other carcinogens - and completely eliminates the issue of second hand smoke. It allows the individual to to mimic the act of smoking, and offers replaceable nicotine cartridges in various strengths and flavors as well as a nicotine-free option. The ingredient in the cartridge other than nicotine is propylene glycol, a substance that, according to the Phillip Morris website is already in traditional cigarettes.

    To my knowledge - other than a brief segment on the show The Doctors - this product has been sorely lacking any mainstream media attention.

    I see public officials and media experts touting the dangers of smoking and, during a time when so many face economic challenges, we respond by financially punishing those who use tobacco. Yet here is a product that could be a valuable tool in the arsenal of those anti-tobacco warriors fighting the oft mentioned 'war on tobacco'. Instead we are subjected to a campaign that only wastes public funds by showing a pitifully crying child lost in a train station. I think most rational people would assume smokers do not want to abandon their children let alone die from cigarettes. It is naive and ridiculous to think that a commercial of a child crying is going to have any real impact on an addiction. If those making these tear-jerker ads truly cared about those children, they would be focusing their sometimes rabid efforts on at least providing them a smoke free environment.

    I do not own an electronic cigarette or have any financial stake in the future of this product. I decided to delay the purchase until I am sure which of the many different brands and styles might work best for me and assumed I would be hearing more about this in the media as interest grew. Unfortunately, the only information is what is available online, and rather than seeing this ground breaking invention embraced and whatever testing would be required fast tracked in order to get them into the hands of smokers as soon as possible, it has been suggested by Senator Frank Lautenberg they be banned by the FDA until they are 'proven safe'.

    And during this, the media continues to drone on and on with the same tired choices, which if successful for the majority would make this conversation moot.

    I am not well versed in the percentages of campaign contributions by industry, but a quick search indicated that Senator Lautenberg received $128,250 in contributions from Pharmaceuticals/Health products.

    Interestingly, an electronic cigarette is a close relative of the nicotine inhaler. Other than ensuring that the nicotine delivered is as labeled, I don't know what sort of testing Senator Lautenberg believes is needed. The argument against them seems to be more semantics: e.g. That promoting them as 'smoking cessation device' rather than an alternative to traditional cigarettes treads into medicinal territory. Quite frankly, if it is less harmful than tobacco, even choosing to use them on a continuing basis is a dramatic improvement.

    Contaminated food products arise on an almost weekly basis, and it appears that the FDA is already overburdened. To delay availability of an invention that could help millions of people seems counterproductive to the professed efforts of Senator Lautenberg and other like-minded individuals.

    With all of the recent attention given by the Today Show to anti-smoking crusaders, I believe it is your responsibility to bring this alternative to a more public forum and to raise the question as to why those who are concerned about the welfare of smokers would prefer to ignore this potential . At this time, the electronic cigarette appears to be a viable alternative, and until those who wish to make them unattainable are successful, they are available. To neglect to address this situation and bring all options to the table defeats your intended purpose as a public watchdog and fails your audience.
     
  4. SnarkyClark

    SnarkyClark Full Member

    Mar 13, 2009
    Just a note, the largest news organization in the Northwest USA (NWCN) just ran a lengthy piece about e-cigarettes. It was quite favorable, with the medical expert pointing out that they do not help break the habit (hand + mouth) involved with nicotine addiction in current smokers, so he could not see them being a practical smoking cessation aid and should not be classified or thought of as such. (Hence an excuse for the FDA to chill out a bit)

    They went to some bowling alleys and talked to people using them. At one the owner actively promoted them and there was a big mob of parents sitting and e-smoking to one side while their kids bowled in a "healthy smoke-free environment" (the owners quote).

    Generally quite positive and refreshing. They briefly mentioned that the FDA "was currently looking into them" but no-one they talked to seemed to care. You get the feeling that the FDA has lost a tremendous amount of credibility with the general public in these parts at least. The possible ecological benefits where briefly brought up - a big hot button in these parts. No more millions of discarded cigarette butts and cardboard boxes, etc.

    Some smokers they talked to said they tried and they didn't like them. When asked why the primary reason was "the taste" - not close enough to regular cigarettes it seems.

    Perhaps the greater Northwest can become a haven for e-cigarettes. Just purely on a perceived "green" standpoint might be enough of a reason around here.

    Just a heads up that some mainstream media are open and friendly to the idea of electronic cigarettes.
     
  5. strayling

    strayling Ultra Member ECF Veteran

    Feb 25, 2009
    Seattle, USA
    Here is a fairly positive video report from a local news channel, 5 News in Arkansas.
     
  6. jamie

    jamie Ultra Member Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Supporting member
    Jun 3, 2008
    USA
    JustMeAgain... I really like your letter. Thanks for sharing it. :)
     
  7. Toby

    Toby Unregistered Supplier ECF Veteran

    Dec 10, 2008
    York UK
    What an excellent letter and a great idea!

    It still surprises me how most people (and smokers) have still not heard of, or seen, the electronic cigarette.
     
  8. TropicalBob

    TropicalBob Vaping Master ECF Veteran

    Jan 13, 2008
    Port Charlotte, FL USA
    Some e-smokers expect what they are not going to get in mainstream media reports. Any "fair and balanced" report on e-smoking today, in any publication or broadcast, will include the very important facts that the WHO questions them and the FDA has said they are illegal to sell or market in America. Those facts cannot and will not be ignored by any professional reporter.

    Right away, some here will cry "bias."

    No, it's not. It's balance. And if the report is for broadcast, the reporter will find the most outspoken professional, because s/he doesn't speak "science", won't answer yes or no, and, most importantly, won't be boring. E-smokers will be turned off as s/he denounces the unknowns that must be balanced against perceived positives that have no scientific proof.

    Just a prediction: No one who cheers for e-cigs is going to be happy with any major report in major mainstream media. All the cheerleaders will hear is the negative -- an essential part of any fair and balanced report.

    I burst out laughing at one post the other day, where the poster said the reporter should have come back with "You know, it's true that ...." That is not reporting. That is commentary. That might be found in non-professional blogs, but not in mainstream media. And for very good reason, if you just think about it.

    I always want both sides. Then I'll make up my mind.
     
  9. SillyPutty

    SillyPutty New Member

    Mar 31, 2009
    NY, USA
    This is good discussion, here folks. We're starting to get to the nuts and bolts of the PR issues that seem to be driving vapers everywhere bonkers.

    JustMeAgain pointed out many of the relevant issues we have with the FDA/regulatory problems. But the focus was on expecting the media (and through hem the Pols) to just "do the right thing."

    TropicalBob has some really good points that everyone should let settle in, too! The media is interested in presenting more than one opinion for this issue; they do not always do a good job of finding the "best" one, as we define it, but they will do it. If we can make some noise and present some good, entertaining, experts to them then we can do wonders for the cause. Right now, we're lucky if a reporter actually speaks with someone who knows how to vape.

    This (PR) is the battleground we should focus on, IMHO. And we should not expect a red carpet to be rolled out for us. Just saying...
     
  10. PowerfulDot

    PowerfulDot Full Member ECF Veteran

    Mar 17, 2009
    Seattle, WA USA
    Thanks SnarkyClark! I went to their website and looked around, and even google site searched and couldn't find a link to the story. Did you see it on TV, or catch it on their website? I'd love to see the story. (although they may not have posted it, yet)
     
  11. JustMeAgain

    JustMeAgain Ultra Member Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Apr 3, 2009
    Springfield, MO
    TropicalBob, I wholeheartedly agree with you. While fair and balanced is what we look for in any news report, although human nature dictates that it's more fun to stir the pot a bit and interesting stories increases viewership, and all sides need to be fully represented and should not be ignored. So I would fully expect the controversy surrounding this product to be exploited.

    But I really don't know if that matters. I know that when I first learned of ecigs, I had an 'ahha' moment and my mind instantly compared them to nicotine inhalers and assumed they were the same thing with the added attraction of allowing the user to still retain the physical motions that we associate with smoking.

    Keeping in mind that I am in the sticks of Missouri - where a corn cob pipe is still considered revolutionary by some - lol - but I have yet to run into another person who has heard of electronic cigarettes. And I ask a lot of people if they've heard of them. I am amazed that this product is not more well known.

    Meanwhile, there's a group that wishes to sweep the whole concept under the rug - if this tactic makes me wonder about their true motives, then it will make others wonder as well. The idea of putting a this into the hands of an entity that can't even fufill it's main mission - food safety - while at the same time withholding a product that has the potential to help millions needs to be brought to the attention of more people.

    I said in my first post that I have not yet bought an ecigarette, but unless I am missing something, could it not be referred to as a glorified nicotine inhaler? I don't say this to offend anyone on the boards, but to illustrate how very wrong it is to try to ban ecigs when another product that is so similar, yet legal, shows that the problem is obviously not in the product itself but who stands to makes - or lose - the money from it's sale. We're allowed to purchase nicotine gum over the counter, so what's to stop me from chewing a whole pack and suffering from a nicotine overdose? No one is trying to protect me from myself there.

    SillyPutty said it right by referrring to this as public relations. Making more people aware of the possibilities of this technology would increase demand, making it more difficult for those who oppose the ecigs to be successful and, I would hope, also subject the true motivation of their opposition to public scrutiny.
     
  12. TropicalBob

    TropicalBob Vaping Master ECF Veteran

    Jan 13, 2008
    Port Charlotte, FL USA
    I don't disagree with you, but would offer these little truisms:

    News initiates with a "news peg." That peg gets a story a place on a newscast or in the paper. When WHO says e-cigs aren't proven, that's a news peg and stories pop up with that lead fact. When the FDA says e-cigs are illegal to sell or import, that's a news peg and results in new stories leading with that new fact.

    When an anti-tobacco senator calls for a ban, that's news. When four major health organizations support him, that's news. When e-smokers initiate a petition, that is not news. Sorry. It's just the reality of the business, balancing "big" against "trivial". And it's done all the time, in every newsroom.

    Naturally, every subculture in the country thinks news sources are snubbing or abusing its pet project. So they head to a blog to become a choir singing for the faithful. On the blog, they blame "mainstream media" for ignoring them.

    In the end, they won't change the news business. On the other hand, look how successful some e-cig sellers have been in getting publicity for their brand by issuing press releases. News organizations are so strapped today that they'll often run a press release without further reporting. Shameful, but it happens.

    Just don't expect it to happen with "Good Morning, America" or "60 Minutes."
     
  13. strayling

    strayling Ultra Member ECF Veteran

    Feb 25, 2009
    Seattle, USA
    NWCN rebroadcast reports from other local channels. From the description, it sounds like the one from King 5 discussed in this thread.
     
  14. SnarkyClark

    SnarkyClark Full Member

    Mar 13, 2009
    I looked all over for it yesterday, but to no avail. It was one of their "filler" pieces so was not archived. NWCN is a 24hour news channel and they only appear to keep the high impact/buzz-worthy stuff around. Sometimes they throw in 5-7 minutes to pad the rest of the hourly rotation on slow news days.

    Guess the issue was not remarkable or important enough to warrant a regular report. Which is what I think is the rule rather then the exception. As much as we are reluctant to admit, I think most of America (civilians and politicians alike) don't even really care about e-cigarettes one way or the other.

    This is not an epic good versus evil battle here, just a tiny vocal minority on both sides of the issue - like two class clowns loudly arguing in the corner of the playground. E-cigarettes are effectively a tool/pawn for different political groups to use to further various larger agendas and grievances.
     
  15. SnarkyClark

    SnarkyClark Full Member

    Mar 13, 2009
    FYI, they do have their own news journalists and oftentimes carry original content. But yes, the majority is (usually edited) stories picked up from the four member affiliates (KING, KREM, KGW, and KTVB). One note is that they are higher rated and watched then CNN Headline news in the greater northwest.

    The story I saw was that KING piece, but with a different intro/commentary and a decent amount of editing. Some things were taken out and some things were added back in.
     
  16. strayling

    strayling Ultra Member ECF Veteran

    Feb 25, 2009
    Seattle, USA
    Yep, I didn't mean to imply that NWCN don't do their own stories too - clumsy wording on my part.
     
  17. Toby

    Toby Unregistered Supplier ECF Veteran

    Dec 10, 2008
    York UK
    Please don't forget that most 'news' is ultimately pedantic and makes the listener/viewer feel ultimately powerless. It seems to be more about mass hysteria coupled with attempted entertainment (there surely must be many books about it).

    But the topic along the lines of "Hey wow, here's a revolution in the partake of nicotine" is just boring for most people. Most people don't smoke anymore, and it is severely marginalised. It ain't cool - you're a down and out.....

    The pharmaceutical companies obviously know the potential profits, hence the Nicorettes et al, and hence the presumed banning of a better alternative. They are surely developing their version...

    But this thread is meandering away from the initial premise that surely, one of the supposed elements of 'news', is some kind of public information and about raising awareness. In the UK, we do still have quite a lot of genuine elements of that in certain news quarters. And so why not for a device that can improve quality of life and hopefully extend it too.
     
  18. jamie

    jamie Ultra Member Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Supporting member
    Jun 3, 2008
    USA
    An exploration of Tobacco Harm Reduction is an excellent topic for a show like "60 Minutes". Or just Harm Reduction in general.

    Sweden stats vs. US stats by itself should be a profound "news peg". Perhaps Sweden doesn't issue enough press releases. ;)
     
  19. JustMeAgain

    JustMeAgain Ultra Member Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Apr 3, 2009
    Springfield, MO
    While it may not be epic, I do feel there is a degree of good verses evil here...when people parade around loudly touting their grievances regarding the activities of others - in this case let's use the second-hand smoke complaint - and something comes along to eliminate the issue and it is similary attacked, then one of two things are at work: They are misguided or their concern is not genuine, and I think there we're seeing a mix of both here.

    This is about money masquerading as concern, and to put financial gain over the health of people is evil.

    Not to be redundant, but I could march into Walgreens today, fill a cart with Nicorette and patches and go home, cover myself with patches and chew gum until I fell over dead. Yet no one is limiting my access to this dangerous product because they've got their profit. If ecigs had been developed by a pharmacutical company, I would imagine that by now I'd be able to march into that same Walgreens and purchase it as well. If the patches and gum still required a prescription, then all of this might make a bit more sense.

    Toby said that most people don't smoke anymore, but in the US, - according to the American Heart Association - 26.2 million men and 20.9 million women smoke. The BBC says there are 10 million smokers in the UK and that one in four Britons over 16 smoke. That's a lot of cigarettes, Nicorette and patches to sell, and maybe a lot of future beds to fill in the hospitals so the medical industry stays healthy.

    Yes, they've tried to make us uncool and even down and out, so maybe you don't see us around as much, but we're still out there, us class clowns, arguing in the corner (lol funny analogy, Snarky...I've felt like one more than once :rolleyes:)

    Another thought just occured to me: In the US, health insurance companies pretty much run the show these days they, dictating what doctors can and can't do, how long you can stay in the hospital, always with an eye to the bottom line. I wonder what they've had to say about ecigs. They seem to have an opinion on everything else.
     
  20. TropicalBob

    TropicalBob Vaping Master ECF Veteran

    Jan 13, 2008
    Port Charlotte, FL USA
    They would say these are unapproved products. Insurance won't pay for unapproved therapies, treatments or products. End of conversation on insurance companies.

    You are correct, I believe, that if Big Pharma had patented, gotten approval of these, and then marketed them, we'd all be home free. But noooooooo. They had to be thrown on the market as unapproved techno toys from China -- and the price for that improper route to market is about to be assessed.

    Note the "gotten approval" part. Big Pharma understands the system and has specialized lawyers to guide a new drug to approval (and it's not a piece of cake, by any means). The drugs they sell -- for the most part -- are approved ones. Ours are not.

    Jamie, I think the best we might hope for is a lengthy piece on an NPR show like "All Things Considered". "60 Minutes" might do a piece on the throttling of the harm reduction movement -- and an excellent piece it could be. Such a piece could include the furor over e-cigs. There are WAYS to get exposure, but rants and one-sided opinions will get form-letter rejections.
     
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