Since they first appeared for sale to the general public, the amount of misinformation spread about e-cigarettes has been nothing short of staggering. Despite the fact that a switch to vaping could save the lives of as many as a billion people – hence the title of the documentary – there has been much opposition to the distribution and sale of electronic vaping products across the globe. The reasons for this opposition are difficult for many ex tobacco smokers to understand, which is why the documentary makers wanted to set the record straight.
Lies Based on Untruths
Many of the lies about e-cigs that are currently in circulation are based on supposedly scientific studies that were carried out with the express intent of discrediting vaping products, by proving they were actually more dangerous than tobacco. One of the most well-known was a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, which claimed that the vapour produced by e-cigarettes contained more formaldehyde than conventional tobacco products. It was this study that caught the eye of the man behind the documentary, filmmaker Aaron Beibert, and caused him to launch his own investigations. It turned out that those responsible for the study intentionally overheated the e-liquid they used, thus producing very misleading results.
Who Is Responsible for All the Misinformation?
The biggest question as far as most people are concerned is not what lies are being told but who is behind them: who has the most to gain from discrediting vaping? It is this question that A Billion Lives sets out to answer. We don’t want to give too much away and spoil the film for anybody who is planning to watch it, as we ourselves most certainly are, but we don’t think anybody will be too surprised to learn that the main culprits include major pharmaceutical companies and national governments.
Pharmaceutical firms and governments have a clear incentive to discredit vaping products: money. In the case of governments, it is the billions of tax dollars collected from smokers across the globe every year and in the case of big pharma it is the profits from nicotine substitutes. The fact that anti-smoking groups are also involved in the spread of misinformation is somewhat harder to understand but we are sure all will be revealed once the film is released.
Winners Either Way
Major tobacco companies seem to be interested observers rather than active participants in the battle. When being interviewed by My Beibert, one tobacco executive made it quite clear that in the event smokers continued to convert to vaping for health reasons, his company would be happy to sell e-cigs instead of tobacco products.
Tobacco companies are not involved in some crusade to save conventional smoking; they are in business to make money. If they can make more money by investing in vaping rather than tobacco, then it should come as no surprise that they are quite prepared to do so. On the other hand, if tobacco wins out, they will continue to make money in the same way they have for decades.