June 2016

A Chat with The Daily Caller Reporter Guy Bentley

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By Tony Ottomanelli II

The Daily Caller news organization reporter Guy Bentley has written countless articles on vaping and E-cigarettes. If you’ve ever read an article on vaping that has been shared across social media, you’ve undoubtedly read his work.

Bentley believes vaping to be very fascinating, for many reasons — first and foremost that it is likely the best option for those who wish to quit smoking. So, rather than choosing to create head-turning headlines, Guy simply covers stories and logically breaks down the facts about vaping because he believes in it.

“The only valid research data is truthfully based on the proper statistics,” he said. Thus, studies summarized on inaccurate data are not valid research results.

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What he finds interesting about E-cigarettes and vaping is the Public Health factor involved. He noted how people have not had success using all of the smoking cessation alternatives. For instance, nicotine gum, the nicotine patch or even the pharmaceutical solution known as Chantix have all been highly suspect in their efficiency.

“Vaping is something completely born of the market,” Bentley said. He said that he became intrigued by the vaping industry due to the giant “wave of innovation” and how vaping has been “proving to be a very effective solution” for those who are trying to quit smoking.

“Vaping is a brilliant private sector mechanism for a public health need,” he said. “I’m interested in it from those aspects.”

A life-long interest in technology only served to further his interest in the industry.

“This is an absolute textbook example of the baptists and bootleggers problem (meaning moralists and merchants)” Referring to the public health community as the Baptists and the pharmaceutical industry as the merchants.

“There are those in the public health community that seem to be militantly against nicotine use,” Bentley said. On the moralistic side, the public health sector, the “baptists,” believe they can take the abstinence only approach, claiming these nicotine delivery devices are hazardous.

Then on the merchant side, the “bootleggers,” we have the pharmaceutical and tobacco industries who see vaping as a threat to their business.

Bentley said that he doesn’t consider his work necessarily “PRO-Vaping,” yet he believes ”we need evidence on these products and in a free society, grown human beings should be able to choose what products they consume.”

In essence, he is fascinated by the phenomenon of the vaping industry. He said that e-cigarettes and vaping devices “are voluntarily being used by individuals trying to quit smoking, they’re not a burden on anybody and they’re not causing an economic drop either.”

Bentley is motivated by the fact that there are so many questions surrounding the topic.

“What we need to find is why is there so much misleading research on the subject,” he said. “Who is interested in that research? And why is the media being so complacent?”

Within his profession, many of his colleagues are under pressure to receive attention by garnishing sexy headlines. Reporting on something far more dramatic is a great temptation for a lot of reporters.

“A lot of people within the media will simply glance over a press release without looking at any other bits of information or do any other types of independent research or try to listen to any other types of opinions, ultimately sensationalizing the negative stories about vaping and e-cigarettes,” he said. “When considering stories about research studies, the media members are not looking into how these studies were conducted or whether they are credible, they simple gaze over the bullet points and report them as facts.”

Bentley believes the people suffering the most from the mass amount of misinformation floating around are those who have been smoking for 20, 30 or even 40 years — because they are the ones asking “Why should I switch to vaping?”

“It is unquestionable that vaping is safer than regular cigarettes and for the FDA to clamp down on the independent industry is absurd,” Bentley said. “The fact that someone will still have the ability to pick up a pack of regular cigarettes at the gas station, but the vape shop down

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the street will be shut down is entirely counterproductive.”

The biggest fear is that smokers who are desperate to quit smoking could have their right to seek out a healthier alternative completely taken away from them.

“There will be an obvious economic impact with thousands of
people affected from not being able to bring paychecks home,
jobs will be lost, small businesses will be closed down, people who
may not be able to work any other type of strict background
requirement occupations will have their businesses stripped out
from under them,” he said.

“There are a number of ramifications, but now is not the time for vapers to lose hope or give up. If vapers can mobilize themselves into a coherent constituency, then they can make a huge impact. So, now is the time to mobilize. Contact your legislators, make your voices heard in a reasonable, rational, and positive way. If vapers want to defend their right to vape and protect the industry that is helping them to quit smoking, this is what they need to do.”

The public health movement has been very skeptical and outright hostile towards the private sector and the free market. One reason is that vaping remains unregulated by any public health bureaucracy.

It is clear that there is a general hostility and skepticism of free enterprise and private sector solutions to address a public health issue. The public health movement, in most aspects of lifestyle regulation, in regards to what you can vape, eat, drink, smoke is essentially an anti-choice movement.

The vaping phenomenon could very well be one of the most significant public health advances in human history.