7 Jan 2015 — By Oliver Kershaw
A huge social media backlash has erupted in the wake of an anti-ecigarette campaign by the San Francisco Department of Public Health. The #curbit campaign, which equates the risks of smoking with vaping, consists of billboard posters around SF bay area with a strong focus on the BART and MUNI public transport systems, and social media postings cautioning against the use of vapor products.
Within 24 hours of launch #curbit hashtag was comprehensively hijacked on Twitter, with graphical parodies of the campaign and tweets expressing dismay over it. Clive Bates, a former head of antismoking group ASH UK and a strong supporter of electronic cigarettes tweeted: “I can’t see a single positive comment. Suggests you have no credible base for this contrived and deceitful campaign”.
Writing on E-cigarette-Forum.com, Bill Godshall, director of nonsmokers’ rights group Smokefree Pennsylvania and pro e-cigarette advocate wrote: “The San Francisco Deptartment of Public Health launched a campaign of lies about e-cigs to demonize, scare and lobby for more unwarranted vapor product regulations. CurbIt campaign tries to kick smokers and vapers to the curb.”
Local e-cigarette businesspeople are furious. Geoff Braithwaite, CEO of Tasty Vapor said: “They hope to rely heavily on the stigma that nicotine has inherited because of the medium that has been historically used to deliver it, i.e. combusted tobacco products. It’s a scare tactic. And apparently an effective one.” And some are considering what legal options are available to challenge the campaign, Mark Burton from SoCal SFATA chapter says:
“SmokefreeSF may find itself in an interesting position, in that many of its public statements appear to be factually incorrect and it’s #Curbit campaign will likely have an impact on vapor product businesses. As such, I imagine that business owners may well be exploring the possibility of litigation against the organization and the city. If litigation is pursued, it should have a large impact, regardless of the outcome, on county and municipal E-cig policy as those entities would be on notice that should they make arbitrary and capricious decisions or implement programs and the like that appear to suffer from some level of conflict of interest, they may well be held accountable.”
Famed anti-tobacco activist Dr. Stanton Glantz of UCSF features heavily on the Curbit website, and in Twitter #curbit hijacks. Glantz has been a long-time opponent of e-cigarettes, and was recently awarded the “2014 anti-smoking myth of the year award” by Dr. Michael Siegel of Boston University for “publicly spreading the myths that electronic cigarettes have been found to be a gateway to smoking among youth and that electronic cigarette experimentation leads to a lifelong addition to nicotine.”
Even more egregious than the Orange County Public Health Dept funded http://notsosafe.org campaign
See rebuttal site http://notsoeducated.org