My journey into vaping

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A tale of two toxins.

This is a cautionary tale of how bad science, a lack of understanding of the facts, and distorting the picture through confirmation bias can have unintended consequences.

Two mystery toxins for you today. One wears a halo, and one has horns and a tail. Both are consumed daily, We regularly feed these toxins to our children, one of them as a treat, and one of them (at tiny insignificant trace amounts that really don’t have any effect) in foods that we consider healthy. Both are highly toxic to animals, and the one we feed our children as a treat has killed many hundreds of pets. Both are alkaloids, and addictive by some standards set for the definition of addiction. I’m going to call them Tee and Enn. Please try and think outside of your knowledge of what these substances are and look at the information objectively, which would you consider more dangerous?

Tee is an alkaloid found in many sweet food products, and is also found in some beverages. It has properties that make it potentially addictive, although this is downplayed and not seen as important. It is a myocardial stimulant as well as a vasodilator, it increases heart rate, and also dilates blood vessels, causing reduced blood pressure. It has potential as a bronchodilator, and is being investigated as a cough suppressant. It is also a diuretic. It is a stimulant similar in effect to Caffeine. It has been suggested that Tee may be a contributing factor to obesity, heart disease and the onset of diabetes, although this is probably the result of the way in which it’s consumed. Many people are treated for allergic reactions to it, overdose is more common than is realised, and it kills many pet dogs every year without hitting the headlines. It is sold without any warning of even trace amounts despite its addictive and allergic potential. No one considers it to be harmful, and no one wants it eradicated from society.

Enn is also an alkaloid is found at trace amounts in foods, most commonly those from the nightshade family. It is most often consumed in ways that are frowned on by society. It is reportedly highly addictive, although it has never been proven to cause addiction or withdrawal when used to treat disease without the other ‘minor’ alkaloids which commonly accompany it. It increases blood pressure and heart rate. It is vasoconstrictive. It is both a stimulant (similar in effect to caffeine) and a relaxant depending on how it is used. It has potential for the treatment of a lot of diseases. A lot of studies link its consumption with heart disease and cancer, although this is almost certainly the result of the way in which it is consumed. Overdose is uncommon and cases of poisoning are relatively rare considering how common Enn is. Any cases of poisoning whether fatal or not hit the headlines with total hysteria. It is sold with huge health warnings plastered all over everything that contains it. There is talk of eliminating it from society altogether, although it can be consumed in ways that significantly reduce the harm of the most common form of consumption.

Given these data I’d consider that Tee is more of an issue than Enn. Tee is Theobromine, the alkaloid active in chocolate, cola and one of the active alkaloids in tea. And Enn is Nicotine and it wears horns and a tail. I have produced a junk science scare piece here deliberately; none of it should be taken at face value in any way. My point is that how we look at the substances around us is distorted beyond reason by our own bias. I am not suggesting that we ban chocolate or put health warnings on tea. What I am suggesting is that we try and step outside our bias for or against a substance and look at new evidence objectively.

Why, then, ’tis none to you, for there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.


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