January 02, 2014

Lazy Media Recycles E-Cig Bashing Physician Piece As New

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If you happened to check out the Florida Times-Union on January 1st, 2014, one of the first pieces it published on its site for the year comes from radio talk physician Zorba Paster.  According to Paster, he got a lot of mail regarding a piece he had done on electronic cigarettes and “not all of it complimentary.”    Basically, a bunch of vapers emailed him about the failure of other products to get them away from smoking and the success and promise of electronic cigarettes.

In response to the mail, Paster claims that he did his homework.  His “homework” barely took more than a 30 second search on Google.

“I went back and did my homework. The FDA, World Health Organization and American Medical Association are against e-cigarettes because they have not been proven to be safe. No reliable research has been done to see whether they are harmful.”

Paster provides absolutely nothing else to the discussion other than to belittle anyone that would “want to inhale an unregulated, untested chemical into your lungs.”

But that’s not really the story here.  Paster was one of the earliest public naysayers against electronic cigarettes as far back as December 2011 when he claimed a new tobacco lobby for battery-powered cigarettes was coming along to ruin anti-smoking efforts.

The piece that ran in the Times-Union yesterday first appeared last January word for word.  The piece, even then, was close-minded, lazy, and condescending.  But, Paster could find a lot more supportive evidence for e-cigs today than he would have a full year ago.  The problem here is with lazy media, recycling outdated stories.

Now perhaps the media reached out to Paster and he simply kicked them the same thing that he slopped together a year prior.  We don’t know.  But regardless of why a piece a year old ran as new, it did happened.  And it does damage.  Anyone reading the piece today may seriously think that there’s no research on the devices.  At this point, that’s not even misleading.  It’s just plain wrong.

Paster’s piece contributed nothing to the serious discussion of electronic cigarettes.  At the time, any amount of real research would have turned up this NY Times piece on the new devices that really digs in on what’s going on and the opportunity they offer.

Paster could certainly still have been against electronic cigarettes at that point, but at least he could have mounted more of a defense than some other folks says so, but I won’t even say why they claim the devices are dangerous.

This is the kind of crap the electronic cigarette industry and community will be dealing with — quite possibly — forever.  It isn’t enough to respond to the wild inaccuracies in the piece, we need to point out that it isn’t new or original and was out-dated even when it was a new piece.

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