By J. Ervin Bates “the Ervinator”
Since my baptism into the ranks of Advocacy, I have read a LOT of articles, studies and other blog posts about the safety and efficacy of vaping, as it relates to smoking cessation, tobacco harm reduction and safety. I have also attended some meetings and watched others, where a seemingly endless parade of “Healthcare Professionals” march to the podium to deliver what I can only classify as a blatant attempt to keep smokers smoking. As a fellow Healthcare Professional, and a newly minted member of the Medical Organizations supporting Vaping and Electronic cigarettes (M.O.V.E.), I am appalled to see the behavior of some of them!
I always believed that a Doctor, no matter their specialty, had a duty to do everything in their power to help guide their patients into a healthier lifestyle. For years I had been told that I needed to stop smoking, and I know many of you have heard the same ‘sermon’. Yet, for those who have finally achieved a smoke-free (or reduced smoking) lifestyle, some of these same doctors are now preaching that e-cigarettes are bad, or ‘…We don’t know enough about them”. This bothers me, especially in view of the fact that there is so much research readily available to them today! It begs the question, are they too lazy to do the research, or is there something more to this? The answer, I am afraid, may have several layers to it.
I recently spoke with a retired physician of more than 35 years in practice, and his insight was thought provoking. “Some doctors will not admit they don’t know enough about a particular treatment, so they refuse to see anything but what they know”, said my friend. “Their pride is such, that they cannot allow themselves to be proven wrong, or that someone else might have new information on an emerging form of treatment…no matter how successful it might be”. I was shocked, to say the least. How on earth could a society of learned men and women be so overcome with pride that they have forgotten their primary mission! Yet we see them, day after day….week after week, proclaiming that “We don’t know enough about vaping and e-cigarettes yet”, or my personal favorite, “It will take years to determine the effects and efficacy of this new technology”. To that I have to say, “BUNK!”
In the work I do each day as a Hospice Aide, I see people who are in their final chapter of life. Some have dementia; some have Alzheimer’s Disease; some are dying of various forms of cancer-and some are directly linked to smoking. I do my best to remain strong for them, meeting their daily needs (whatever those needs may be), but I cannot help but feel a bit helpless when I see a 53-year old woman struggling for each breath, knowing there is nothing I can do to help her-and also knowing that her 35 years of smoking ultimately led her to this place in life. I do not judge her-in fact, I thank her, because she was one of the reasons I chose to quit smoking last July, and begin vaping. Seeing her take her final breath that January day in 2012 left an indelible impression on me, and I purposed that I would find a way to stop smoking, so my wife and children might be spared such a scene in my final days.
As a former smoker as well as a Healthcare Professional, I find it morally and ethically necessary to share my smoking cessation story with others.
For the smoker, I share my journey through Tobacco Harm Reduction (THR)-and ultimately complete cessation, in the hopes that they will find it within themselves to follow my example. In the nearly 8 ½ months since I stopped smoking, I am proud to say I have successfully been responsible for at least a dozen people who joined me. And when they ask, “Is it safe”, I simply smile and tell them, “I can tell you this-it is SAFER than smoking, and research, thus far, has shown nothing negative”. That is accurate, and anyone willing to invest a few short minutes on Google will find scads of research, which will support my position.
For the non-smoker who just wonders what I am “smoking”, I take the opportunity to explain my contraption, what it does, and how it has helped me stop smoking. Invariably, that leads to more questions, which allows me an opportunity to invite them to read more about it. One of the articles, among my nearly 200 collected to date, is a wonderful piece by Canadian RN, Kellie Forbes. “Vaping the Truth” is a simple 21 page document, complete with citations, and it is written in a way that is highly educational for people of all walks of life. From the citizen, to the physician, to the legislator, all can read and digest the information in it easily. If you would like to have a copy for yourself in PDF format, please visit the Michigan Smoke-Free Alternatives Coalition page on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/groups/msfac/
For me, it’s all about Advocacy and Education. We have a duty to share this message, and believe me, if I ever read a negative piece of research that was properly vetted, peer reviewed and presented, I would be among the FIRST to share it! After all, I am responsible for the information I share as a Healthcare Professional. If only others in my field felt the same way…
J. Ervin Bates (Erv) is a new face on the scene of Advocacy for the vaping industry, and host of “Locked & Loaded with the Ervinator”, Saturday evenings from 8-10pm on http://vapers.tv/vapetrixnetwork Please visit his state Advocacy page, “Michigan Smoke-Free Alternatives Coalition” on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/msfac/
J Ervin Bates is a dog tag wearing member of the Vaping Militia. The views expressed in this article are of the author. If you are a dog tag wearing member of the Vaping Militia, and wish to write an article for www.vapingmilitia.org please contact Alex Carlson at firstname.lastname@example.org