Samantha Bee, we get it, you’re a comedian. Your job is to take something in the news and put a fresh, hilarious spin on it. If by “fresh,” we mean pandering to the general public, which has a distorted image of vapers, you’ve done just that. Congratulations, Samantha Bee, your eye-opening piece about vaping and the FDA was anything but original.
If you missed the short video that was aired on Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, you can catch it here, but I wouldn’t bother. You can actually piece together what it looked like by taking every stereotype of vaping and every joke made about vapers and smashing it all together in a three-minute clip. It’s easy to be frustrated when comedians jump on vaping, but come on, it’s an easy target. Is it the entertainer’s fault for not taking a more cleverly satirical angle by, say comparing the mass media’s scare tactics with Reefer Madness-type propaganda, or is it our fault for not letting the media see that there’s more to vaping than giant clouds and giant ear plugs. In short, it’s the mass media’s fault for not covering the truth, but it’s also on us to help change the public perception about vaping. The Public Perception of VapersThe media has done everything it can to make vapers look like the bad guy, and this video is no exception. They call us bros, dudes, and even d-bags. I’m not going to use that word because it’s immature and childish. It certainly isn’t journalistic, but you see it all over the place in so-called articles about vaping. The general public thinks that every vaper likes to blast loud music and blow giant clouds. The general public sees vaping as a trend, as a fad. The general public’s misperception of vaping is why there’s also a misperception about vaping appealing to teenagers. To really understand vaping, writers should get to the roots of vaping, and see what your average vaper really looks and acts like. The Reality of Vapers Many vapers have tattoos and piercings, and many vapers don’t. There are vapers of every race; there are vapers with grandkids and kids. There are wealthy vapers and vapers who live paycheck to paycheck. They have one thing in common: Most vapers are former smokers who use e-cigarettes as a smoking alternative. It’s nothing to joke about; in fact, it’s pretty serious business. Unfortunately, not even statements from Public Health England and London’s Royal College of Physicians can help the American media take vaping seriously. I only recently started seeing serious articles about vaping in the U.S. —after the FDA finalized its deeming regulations. Is it too little too late? Shed the StereotypesThere’s not much we can do to keep mass media from brainwashing the public, but we can take small steps to get there. It’s our responsibility to share posts like this, to share our personal stories, and to make informed arguments instead of responding with anger. The best advice I’ve seen in awhile came from Phil Busardo’s epic Facebook rant, in which he wisely reminded vapers to take themselves seriously and to be respectful, “What we ARE fighting for your is your RIGHT to NOT watch you mother, your father , your sister, your brother, your grandmother, your grandfather, or your best friend lay in bed dying of cancer.Let’s wake up.Let’s grow up.Let’s represent this industry in the best possible light,Let’s realize just how important it is.”