Sensationalism vs. Journalism In E Cigarette Reporting

A recent incident about an outgoing flight in Portland Oregon in the United States has highlighted the unfortunate tendency of the mainstream press to demonize e-cigarettes and sensationalize any news item even remotely related to the devices.

Prominent among the recent reports of passenger removed from a Continental airlines flight was the fact that he brazen lit up an e-cig –only in the smaller type was it revealed that his choice to vape when the devices have been banned by the FAA for use on airplanes was a small part of his removal from the flight. More potentially frightening and likely the true cause of the removal were his attempting to hit other passengers, assaulting (and thankfully not making physical contact) with a flight attendant as well as invoking the name Osama Bin Laden. The unruly passenger– a teenager–has been booked on the very serious charges of interfering with a flight crew and disrupting a flight. That he attempted to vape should have been a minor footnote to this story, not the screaming headline.

As was shown in last week’s news item about an e-cigarette supposedly exploding in a Florida man’s mouth and seriously injuring him, it has become standard operating procedure for “news” to be based on “sexy” keywords and short on actual reportage of facts. In that case the man was smoking a dangerously amped up “mod” he’d put together himself, and not a reputable brand of any known e-cigarette on the market.

It is a sad commentary on our times that sensationalism sells and not only news but mass entertainment has become a parade of freak shows and misinformation. That a product with a proven track record as a smoking replacement is being presented increasingly in the media as something dangerous and criminal is more evidence of a very disappointing and destructive trend.