It is funny how short the public’s attention span is on a given issue. We are like fish in a fish bowl staring at the distortion of a kernel of sand through the glass. That is until someone taps on the bowl.
Only a few months ago we were fixated on the legal aspect of marijuana being brought out of the shadows into respectability. At the time we didn’t realize it might be the least of our worry as a society. No one saw the genius of the tobacco industry. While we were debating pot they introduced Vaping and it is legal because no one was aware. Why are we paralyzed to act?
Why is it the educators and institutions aren’t being listened to?
Lets flip back a few pages of history and see how we’ve done legislating public and social behavior. Prohibition, remember your history? My father used to say it was the only time the church and mob were on the same side. The church railed against the devils drink. The mobs behind the scene were for prohibition because it was a golden goose for the gangs. Prohibition failed because the average guy wanted a beer after work that was from a reliable regulated source.
Why did marijuana outlast it’s critics? Some say it’s because the FBI in the United States, was about to be unfunded as it was formed to enforce prohibition. It was decided that pot would be societies next enemy. At the time cocaine was made illegal a few years before in 1922 so something legal had to be illegal to get societies attention. The law is always one step behind because a new road has no legal precedent. I use cocaine as an example. The quest to make cocaine illegal started in 1912.
The Marihuana experiment failed some say because of science selling its soul to the government. There was an educational documentary produced and exposed to students well into the nineteen fifties that everyone laughed at or ignored. It was called Reefer Madness. It was not educational it was propaganda produced in 1936 It showed addicts tearing their hair out and going mad in a state of withdrawal. The big problem was many young people were smoking it and knew it wasn’t true. The result? The authorities damaged their own credibility.
For decades there was evidence of the damage to health from smoking. Again the tobacco industry, some in the medical field and in government representatives of tobacco producing States and scientists with vested interests denied the truth. Again the public institutions damaged their credibility.
Their was one or two victories in the public acceptance arena that did succeed. Mostly because people saw the wisdom and consequences of not complying with the law. Drunk driving and seat belts. The public supported the concept of both but the road to acceptance was slow. The first serious legal penalties started in the sixties but the heavy hammer came down for seat belts and drunk driving around nineteen eighty.
Smoking is an ongoing battle, one group gives up the habit as the young people start but it is becoming less acceptable. So now to Vaping. While we fought over marihuana the tobacco companies introduced Vaping. It was legal because due to the fact it was new there was no law except it contained nicotine.
Compare it to sport, cigarettes are like boxing used to be Vaping is like kick boxing is the focus today. It is new and a novelty for the moment like swallowing gold fish in the nineteen twenties. The problem is it is a product that can do harm yet like booze and cigarettes and even marihuana. Vaping is legal. Making it illegal will drive it underground.
Oh the law is trying to catch up with feeble attempts like outlawing flavored vape. Seriously that is the response along with reducing the nicotine content. It is also illegal for minors. Good luck with that. Remember your youth? Dixie Cups were made for drinking whiskey out back of the dance halls I recall
No I am not sticking up for the tobacco industry, I am merely pointing out we have to be aware of societies credibility when educating as to the dangers and we have to understand what farmers already know. New pests and challenges are always just around the corner and we have to be ready with honest answers and a concept of what consequences there might be