Forbes writer Corbin Barthold recently dropped an excellent opinion piece discussing the contradictory effects of “anti” ads and campaigns. The writer set his aim on vaping in this specific piece, though it can be held up amongst any “abstinence” only campaigns that dominate the United States of Puritans. The author does a great job at striking the balance between effective anti-campaigning, and the damaging effects of fear-mongering.
Many ads denounce the Juul pod for containing as much nicotine as 20 cigarettes, even though each podis meant to provide many cigarettes’ worth of vaping timeCorbin Barthold, Forbes
In the quote above, it’s clear the writer doesn’t ingrain any bias in the piece, and it’s also clear a bit of research was employed (go figure!). But the best part about the piece is how the writer understands how destructive fear-mongering and half-truths can be when the goal is truly keeping teens away from adult products.
Bringing up the Public Health England studies, and understanding the nuance of the topic is key to getting the discussion correct. The writer than goes on to discuss the dichotomy between the coddling of our teens versus “latchkey” oversight. Barthold leaves the answer up to the reader to decide which is the more effective approach. In my own opinion, harm reduction is truly the only way to minimize…well…harm. You’ll NEVER stop teens from doing what they want. Ever.
But lastly, at the end of the article, the writer touches on how these Anti-campaign groups have an insatiable thirst for cancelling. Unfortunately, I think this is where most of the argument should be had. We are to remember, Truth Initiative and other Anti-groups’ sole purpose is to make money (or make their donors money). That is all. Harm reduction, let alone health, is the excuse. Truth is a result of the Master Settlement Agreement, and the gigantic conglomerate it turned into is by no means a result of virtue. It’s a business. If the goal were to keep teens & children healthy and away from tobacco, we’d embrace vaping and other forms of harm reduction much like over in the UK. But because that isn’t the goal, Truth has no issue spending a few mill on shitty ad campaigns to continue receiving settlement money. Like the author writes
When such organizations achieve their mission, will they close their doors? Of course not.