This past Friday, national Fox stations Fox News and Fox Business both ran pieces about electronic cigarettes. Fox News ran a somewhat fluffy piece on the first vaporium (e-cig bar/shop) in Manhattan while Fox Business ran an interview with Victory Electronic Cigarette company CEO Brent Willis. As a refreshing change of pase from other pieces that have run recently, both presented electronic cigarettes as an opportunity for smokers rather than a danger to everyone.
The Fox News piece takes a look at the Henley Vaporium, a vape lounge in the Soho area of New York City. The piece doesn’t dig too deep on the topic — and it doesn’t need to. Mostly, it covers the impressive new trend and enthusiasm for a way to “smoke without smoking” and enjoy the act in places that New York laws have banned smoking from for years.
Perhaps most unique about the piece is the focus the interviewer puts on his ability to use a zero nicotine electronic cigarette, given that he’s not a smoker. Even as the majority of people in the U.S. have come to know of electronic cigarettes, many still are surprised to hear that zero nicotine is an option. Although some opponents will point to this as a potential gateway for people — leading them from “harmless” zero nicotine use to some nicotine use to outright smoking — it’s more likely that people will use low and zero nicotine electronic cigarettes as a way to step away from the drug rather than towards it.
The Fox Business piece delved a little more deeply into the arguments surrounding electronic cigarettes. But like the Fox News piece, it has an interesting moment that people should see more. The CEO admits that he’s not a smoker — probably having something to do with his father passing away due to smoking complications from a 3-packs-a-day habit. But as a non-smoker he expresses a wish to help people who have thus far been unable to quit. He believes the products can help.
Non-smokers are primed to hate smoking and look down on smokers. And yet, they tend to be the one’s pushing regulations, making decisions about smoking policies, and controlling when smoking is acceptable. Smokers are by no means a majority. Many tend to be ostracized for the habit. Many non-smokers won’t take anything a smoker says about the habit seriously — often assuming it’s just the words and excuses of an addict.
Unfortunately that means in some circles only non-smoking representatives of electronic cigarettes will be heard. Willis is one of those representatives. Yes, he has a business agenda, but as a non-smoker, he wouldn’t be in the industry if he didn’t see true opportunity.