“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” This was stated by the 18th-century philosopher George Santayana. Uneducated, behavior repeating over and over is because of the inability to connect current situations to past events. Every new and improved theory is immediately followed with blind support, even without substantial evidence. Proving theories takes time, even with the amazing advancements in technology, and cannot be expected to be perfect the first time it’s discovered. People are impatient though, and too quick to accept new ideas that have little to no proof, just because one source says it’s true.
They assume the theory-based information they know at the time, is the final conclusive truth. Every space theory, or way to diet better, or to make smoking healthier, is seen as an absolute miracle and is fully endorsed, disregarding any previous similar cases. Smoking has changed over the generations and while some solid research has been confirmed, it is a new invention which brings new and unanswered questions. Smoking has been around for quite some time, research shows evidence that the ancient Mayans may have used to smoke through hand rolled leaves.
It wasn’t until the mid-1800’s though that the infamous cigarette became popular. The height of sales for cigarette companies was around the 1950’s multiple factors played into this, a major one being the invention of the Bonsack cigarette rolling machine- it could produce over 100,000 cigarettes a day, an immense increase from the 200 a day that was hand-rolled by women and children. The high supply allowed for lower prices and quantity demanded increased. Media was taken advantage of with the huge spike in production and started promoting the use of cigarettes.
The used all the simple but effective persuasion techniques. Bandwagon was used to make it seem like more and more people were smoking, then because others wanted to be like everyone shown in the media, they picked up smoking as well. They also used celebrity endorsements which further enforced the idea that everyone, specifically accomplished people were smoking. One major celebrity was James Dean, a short-lived actor was often seen in films and photographs with a cigarette in hand, he was an icon for teens who also quickly picked up the habit.
Everyone was swept into the wave of smoke which at the time had no evidence of any harm to their health, and by the time the evidence had been discovered most were addicted already. It wasn’t until 1964 that smoking was officially declared an unhealthy habit. A report was written titled “Smoking and Health” by Surgeon General Luther Terry and ten other researchers, scientists and doctors, a mix of both smokers and non-smokers. All of whom quit smoking after discovering the confirmation of the effects of smoking on human health, specifically the link to cancer. In 1964 around 42% of the American population were smokers and by the 2000s that number was cut in two.
Some people continued to push off the evidence as coincidence or incomplete and continued to smoke. Despite this, the research and published report had a major impact and dropped the use of cigarettes. In the paper he also called out for action to advertise the unhealthy effects, claiming part of the responsibility should fall to the government. By the 1970’s there were smoking bans in public places like transportation and restaurants, and you had to be over the age of eighteen to purchase a pack of cigarettes. Today in 2018 the dangers and harms of smoking cigarettes are well-known and proven facts. People are still addicted though and needed fixes of nicotine “Cigarettes are the number one cause of preventable death in the United States, killing 480,000 people every year.” (Ross, John.)
In 2006 a relatively new idea was brought into the US, the electronic cigarette usually just referred to as an e-cig, was advertised as a perfectly healthy and safe way to smoke and also a way to cut back. It was invented by a man in China to help his father quit smoking and quickly grew into a major company before spreading to the United States. An article reviewed by a medicine physician estimated “e-cigarette use [has risen] by 900 percent among high school students from 2011 to 2015.” The same general techniques used by cigarette companies was and is being used to promote vapes and electronic cigarettes now. Mainly social media platforms such as snapchat and Instagram are used to target younger high school aged kids. Everyone is seen doing tricks in videos or trying the newest flavors.
They make flavors that would be appealing like fruit loops, mint, any flavor that can be thought of, is likely to be found. It wasn’t until ten years later in 2016 that e-cigs and vapes were officially stated as a danger to people’s health. It can be argued that while not completely healthy, e-cigs are the better alternative and can help people quit smoking the well-known dangerous cigarettes. People who believe this aren’t making the link between the exact same story with cigarettes as the “healthy” alternate vapes. It’s misunderstood that two different products can have similar effects, even though they have distinctive unique features.
A Red Bull and Rockstar, two types of drinks, both will still keep a person up because they’re energy drinks- it puts caffeine into your body. When you’re smoking, it’s putting substances into your lungs aside from oxygen which is natural, so there is going to be unnatural effects different from how the body usually functions. They believe the alternative electric smoking doesn’t have nearly the same amount of risk as cigarettes do. Cigarettes as well weren’t presumed to be even remotely dangerous, until over a decade after they were introduced in the United States, about the same time period as it took for e-cigs. The reason there still isn’t much evidence showing the negative effects of vaping is that there hasn’t been enough time lapsed to see the effects it can have over time.
There’s has been years and years to see what kind of impact smoking cigarettes has had on health but vapes have only even been in existence for a few decades. There’s also the argument that they can be a great way to help wean addicted smokers off of cigarettes, research though has shown most people don’t make the trade off and use both. It also pulls in younger generations, many teens who don’t even smoke to begin with take up vaping and e-cigs because of the gained popularity and how the image is portrayed in social media.
Both electronic cigarettes and original cigarettes started off as a new product, both quickly embraced by the public simply because the media told them it was safe. It was a product nobody thought had any type of consequence. The Guardian has written multiple reports on the new wave of electronic cigarettes one was titled “The Evidence Keeps Piling up: e-Cigarettes Are Definitely Safer than Smoking.” This article was written by Linda Bauld in December 2017 claiming vaping was much safer than smoking but just a few months later in 2018, a new article was written stating more tests have been done showing that vaping might have the same effect as second-hand smoking. “Nicotine in e-cigarettes may convert into DNA-damaging chemicals, mouse trial indicates, but critics say results are irrelevant to humans.” (Sample, Ian)
Within a few short months, it had already made a jump from much safer to at least as bad as than second-hand smoke. This just shows how fast research moves and how rapidly new information can be found. First looks and results aren’t always correct because of the speed things can change and be discovered. As an alternative, electronic cigarettes and vapes, with the given information, is the better option for current smokers. However, a better bad is still bad, and if not already addicted the healthiest option is just to not pick up the habit at all.
Too little is known about this new product, and blind faith is being put into it because of the lack of evidence, the same way people did with cancer-causing cigarettes. “History repeats itself and history never repeats itself are about equally true.” – G. M. Trevelyan, American historian of 1800 gives this quote explaining that while the same scenarios don’t repeat the same type of situations does. Different scenarios occur every time but most if not, all have the same general backbone. Electronic cigarettes and vapes are different from the original cigarette but both are just ways to smoke. They were both new ideas with negative effects people ignored because they wanted to continue with the addictive habit.
When a new alternative was presented they didn’t want to think that it could possibly be unhealthy and didn’t see the connection. It can be ignored or pushed off as insignificant because of the lack of information, but more time will show the same conclusion as more data is able to be gathered and more research and experiments can be done. Unenlightened actions repeating from history is caused by blindness to like situations. While there are very little solid and confirmed results of smoking e-cigarettes, it’s just an obvious sleeker replication of the cigarette, with the same negative impacts.