Pictured: The Washington Post’s global headquarters on K Street
The Washington Post is proud of its motto, “Democracy Dies in Darkness” and implores you to pay for a subscription because, “We Dig Deeper.”
But based on its recent work on a federal flavored vape ban, it appears some at the Post not only didn’t “dig deeper”, they didn’t even bother to leave their desks to get a shovel. Or a teaspoon.
In a Nov. 13 editorial, the top editors called for a national ban on flavored vapes, which could turn millions of adult vapers into criminals overnight, force many to return to smoking cigarettes, and shutter at least 10,000 mom-and-pop retail shops just before the holidays. No big deal.
The editorial has many problems but one phrase stands out, exposing the authors’ total ignorance of the importance of flavors:
“Only tobacco-flavored vaping fluids would be legal, allowing former smokers access to nicotine-laced liquids in a flavor to which they are accustomed” states the Post in its privileged view from its gleaming K Street office.
Any adult vaper would immediately recognize the problem with that statement. Flavors are crucial to vapers because the flavors specifically do not remind them of tobacco. The flavors allow them to quit smoking cigarettes.
Very few vapers want to go anywhere near tobacco-flavored vapes. Most consider them to be disgusting. If the Post editors couldn’t bring themselves to visit vape shops and talk to adult vapers, they could have learned this fact immediately with a cutting edge tool known as the World Wide Web.
If the Post editors were indeed aware of the importance of flavors, their desire to impose a flavor ban is cruel. Their attitude is: Let them vape cake. Tobacco-flavored cake. Quit or die, in darkness.
480,000 Americans die of smoking-related illnesses each year, and vaping is the most successful tobacco harm reduction tool ever invented. In fact the Royal College of Physicians and Public Health England have found that the products are 95 percent safer than conventional cigarettes.
It gets worse. On Monday, two Washington Post health reporters dismissed the vaping community as “Astroturf.” Fake grassroots. The vaping community has been sneered at and ridiculed by the media for years, and recently were even dismissed as bots. Along comes the Post to call them Astroturf.
You see, the Post’s reporter-sleuths based this on the fact that…wait for it…vapers used a hashtag. Specifically, #IVapeIVote. Certainly the threat of losing a life-saving product, the threat of losing your livelihood or your job, and being deemed a criminal under federal law didn’t motivate people to contact their elected officials.
The authors were clearly incensed that President Trump had the audacity to hit the pause button on a runaway flavor ban. In the same piece, they suggested the flavor ban pause was anti-woman and “orchestrated by corporate interests.”
The article begins with this sentence:
“THE BIG IDEA: President Trump is spurning the women who have his ear to side with male advisers as he kowtows to a pressure campaign orchestrated by corporate interests.”
Next, the reporters said hitting the pause button on the ban meant “Trump continues to campaign like a populist even as he governs like a plutocrat, and the republic continues its descent toward corporatocracy.”
Is this the Washington Post or the Oberlin student paper? It’s the Washington Post, specifically its Health 202 vertical, which is supposed to give readers a sober analysis of current health policy.
Speaking of plutocrats, Michael Bloomberg is spending $160 million on a special project to impose a flavor ban on the peasants.
Finally, let’s give some credit to the Post reporters who have indeed done diligent reporting on the vaping issue, namely Laurie McGinley and Josh Dawsey. Most recently, their reporting served readers with many new details of the process by which Trump listened to feedback from Americans and hit the pause button, after seeing the intensity of the grassroots pushback against the flavor ban.
Credit also goes to Washington Post local reporter Rebecca Tan, who actually conducted interviews onsite at several vape shops in the DC suburbs. As you can imagine, the busybody, nanny-state bullies who run the government there want to impose numerous policies that would shut down nearly all of the vape shops in the area. The title of the article: “Liberal DC Suburb Not Swayed By Opponents of Vaping Restrictions.” Members of the Montgomery County Council had the same unsympathetic, prohibitionist attitude as the Washington Post editorial board.
Oh well, at least the New York Times editorial board got it right.