Tuesday, 15 October 2013
Power not Truth
Today is the birthday of Friedrich Nietzsche, the German philosopher.
How does this relate to e-cigs ? I hear you ask.
Well, I was browsing around and reading a bit about the chap and suddenly one of his famous quotes jumped out and hit me. It seemed to resonate with many of the issues surrounding the discussion of e-cigs in general, and the political process in particular.
"All things are subject to interpretation , whichever interpretation prevails at a given time is a function of power and not truth"
I take that to mean that for any given subject there are several interpretations, and that the prevailing view belong to those that have to most power, not that which has the most truth.
To my mind, this perfectly sums up the debate around electronic cigarettes amongst Politicians and the Media, and is especially correct when applied to the discussions surrounding the Tobacco Products Directive.
With e-cigs, there is the truth - and then there is the interpretation of the truth by those with the most power.
The truth is that e-cigs provide a gateway for smokers to change from tobacco smoking to a much less harmful alternative - the interpretation by those with the most power is that e-cigs provide a gateway for young people to start smoking.
The truth is that e-cigs are orders of magnitude less dangerous that smoking - the interpretation by those with the most power is that we do not know about the total safety of e-cigs and so they cannot be recommended.
The truth is that e-cigs can provide a choice to nicotine users, in terms of the range of different devices and flavours that make them a better choice for vapers than tobacco - the interpretation by those with the most power is that e-cigs inconsistent and therefore need regulating.
The truth is that the fast growing use of e-cigs normalises the idea that smokers have a choice - the interpretation by those with the most power is that e-cigs glamourise smoking.
I could go on.
The truth is out there - it is how it is interpreted that counts.