Gaze Upon the Worst Anti-Vaping Poster Ever and Despair

The great state of New Jersey idiotically compares vaping to jumping out of an airplane without a parachute.


My home state of New Jersey has many things to be proud of, from being the only state of two colonial colleges to hosting the first baseball and college football games to having the only official Twitter account that routinely traffics in "your mom" jokes. Sadly, it now has something to be just as ashamed of as its number-one ranking in toxic dumps, its role in the Hindenburg tragedy, and its absolute bottom-of-the-barrel standing in the Tax Foundation's State Business Tax Climate Index.

I speak of this anti-vaping poster, which comes via the Twitter feed of Commentary's Noah Rothman and asserts that "vaping is as safe as skydiving without a parachute!"

This is not simply wrong, it's unbelievably wrong, for all sorts of obvious and not-so-obvious reasons. For starters, the death rate of jumping out of airplanes without parachutes is 100 percent (the odd Vesna Vulović story notwithstanding). For vaping, not so much. In fact, even New Jersey's official site for anti-vaping propaganda admits that there is only a single confirmed case of a Garden State vaper—out of what must be hundreds of thousands if not millions of users—dying from illness related to electronic cigarettes. The site also links approvingly to an article from last October that notes there are at least two "vaping epidemics" at play. The first, writes Cristine Delnevo of Rutgers, "is the outbreak of more than 1,000 vaping-associated lung injuries nationwide, which appears linked to vaping THC, marijuana's psychoactive ingredient, and has caused more than 25 deaths, includng one in New Jersey. Separately, there is the skyrocketing rate of nicotine vaping among youth, with its risk of long-term addiction." For what it's worth, neither of the vaping devices pictured above are the sort that use the black-market THC cartridges that have been most plausibly linked to most serious illnesses, let alone deaths.

But when you're dealing with propaganda, it's best not to get too lost in the weeds (perhaps especially when the propaganda is somehow related to weed). When targets of such communications realize they're being lied to, they tend to tune out all the information from official sources because they know it's not really unbiased, scientific, or seeking the truth.

As it stands, there is every reason to believe that vaping is, as Reason Senior Editor Jacob Sullum recently told me, saving the lives of countless individuals who would otherwise be smoking conventional cigarettes and developing all of the illnesses and medical conditions associated with them. For more on that, click below.

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  1. The Life of Julia comes to an unceremonious end.

  2. What happened to Ohio? Was The Jacket born in New Joisey and moved to Ohio and now (I think) in Wash DC?

    1. Gillespie was born in NJ. The Jacket’s origin story predates the dawn of the universe.

    2. Nick Gillespie was born in Brooklyn and grew up in New Jersey, The Jacket itself arose abiogenetically from the primordial ooze.

    3. Hey now. Ohio.

      We got the Browns. The Bengals.

      Never mind we suffered enough. Hey New Jersey other than being next to New York you got what?

      1. They’ve got two football teams too embarrassed to admit that’s where they are

  3. The so-called “epidemic” of teen vapers that can lead to nicotine addiction is one of the biggest “bait-and-switch” schemes out there.
    Nicotine is indeed one component of tobacco that makes smoking cigarettes addictive (or at least habit-forming for you Szasz fans out there). But it isn’t nicotine that makes cigarettes so bad for you. It is the tar and the other by-products of burning the tobacco leaf and inhaling the smoke.
    Vaping nicotine can become habit-forming. But the harmful elements in cigarettes are, by and large, missing from vaping.
    In and of itself, I am not familiar with any significant research that nicotine itself is uniquely hazardous. As a matter of fact, based on the fact that nicotine can have both a stimulative AND calming effect, it wouldn’t surprise me if there could be therapeutic uses for nicotine (sans the cigarettes).

    1. I don’t know if there’s any research that shows nicotine by itself to be hazardous in regards to lung cancer. Nicotine can of course cause other issues like any chemical can when taken in excess.

      Also, there are some studies that show that Nicotine is beneficial for certain medications and I heard once, but haven’t verified, that to date, Nicotine is the best cognitive enhancer known to medical science.

      1. Nicotine is the best cognitive enhancer known to medical science.

        Que Rand’s “Fire of the Mind” speech.

      2. Nicotine is the best cognitive enhancer known to medical science

        Better than caffeine? Including cost/benefits concerning addiction?

        Please supply a link, if you have it.

    2. Nicotine in reasonable doses has a few known negative health effects (some rare cases of ischemic chest pain and heart palpitations, lowered sexual arousal response in men, and, as a match to its addictive nature, various issues regarding withdrawal).

      On the other side, it reduces appetite, reduces need for sleep, and improves concentration.

      1. Oh, also on the positive side, it’s also known to reduce risk for Parkinson’s, helps alleviate the symptoms of Alzheimer’s, and helps alleviate depression.

  4. “imminent and inevitable death.”
    It never ceases to amaze me the combination of stupidity and/or mendacity out there. It suppose it shouldn’t amaze me anymore. But, just when I think we have reached peak derp…….

    1. Pretty sure that was irony, in the body of the tweet, to draw attention to the sheer magnitude of the lie on the state-funded propaganda poster.

  5. hey they scored Miss New Jersey for the psa above

  6. Kids aren’t stupid. And when they figure out they’re being lied to by people with power and authority, it has a habit of backfiring. Unless Jersey is trying to create libertarians who distrust the state, in which case they’re off to a good start.

    1. Actually they’re being taught dependence on the state, and Common Core. Some of them will attain clarity in high school, but most of them will fall in line upon graduation.

    2. They are raising kids to distrust this weak state and go all out for a Big Happy Socialist State.

    3. It’s true. They demand more government to fix the previous batch.

  7. Good to see my tax money going to a stupid cause like this. I’d hate to see it wasted.

  8. How stoned do you suppose the graphic artists were who created that poster?

  9. Not to defend the guy too much but the following Tweet:

    Noah Rothman

    There have been no longitudinal studies, so no one knows the long term effects of vaping. And, also, you will surely die.

    Even if agreeable, sounds a bit sarcastic about the messaging. And at least some of the replies are less agreeable with messaging and NJDOH’s overall sentiment.

  10. The very sad irony to all the health hysteria of the past 20-30 years about smoking, trans-fats, AIDS, seatbelts, etc. is that life expectancy is declining in the US when you would think we would all be living nearly forever by now. I guess even the experts agree it’s too soon to blame vaping for this, or they would have by now.

  11. I liked it better when Tide Pods were the biggest threat to Millennial Health.

  12. They all still have a long way to go to be as idiotic, laughed at, and ignored as the 1936 film and trailer “Refeer Madness”.

    1. They all still have a long way to go to be as idiotic, laughed at, and ignored as the AGW cultists


  13. “This is your brain on anti-vaping hysteria. Any questions?”

  14. vaping is as safe as skydiving without a parachute
    So you’re saying it is safe to skydive without a parachute?

  15. Vaping nicotine with PG, VG and some flavoring carries all the risk of fast food. Too much is likely not good for you, in moderation it is likely harmless.

    Research shows this.

    Now, black market THC carts are risky. Ironically government is why they are dangerous. If it was legal it would be much more transparent. The government literally caused the recent THC vaping problem.

    1. Vaping nicotine with PG, VG and some flavoring carries all the risk of fast food. Too much is likely not good for you, in moderation it is likely harmless.

      Research shows this.

      The ‘moderation’ message you’re making, while brainless, is not wrong but the underlying corollary you’re using to convey it is absolutely retarded. As a rather fundamental physical principle vapors and vaping is inherently more moderated than eating. Inhaling a quarter pound of anything would be difficult, even over the course of a full day. Eating a quarter pound is trivial. There’s tons of workplace inhalation data showing the hazards of inhalation relative to other forms of consumption. Three squares of McDs every day is almost certainly worse for you than working the grill and inhaling the vapors 8 hrs. every day. Three squares of McDs in combination with 8 hrs. of sitting is almost certainly worse.

  16. For starters, the death rate of jumping out of airplanes without parachutes is 100 percent (the odd Vesna Vulović story notwithstanding).

    So . . . not 100% then?

  17. I vaped for a couple of years, gave it up cold Turkey when my vaporizer broke and I didn’t feel like ordering a replacement (this was well before vape shops were on every corner). Welp, guess it’s time to try my luck at skydiving!

    Note: I was vaping for weight loss, never smoked cigarettes (except a few cloves in college) maybe nicotine addiction is self selecting to smokers because if you’re not hooked, you’re not going to suck on those gross ash sticks just to look cool.

  18. Didn’t government promote largely the same propaganda about drugs (mostly pot) and, if you go back further back in time, alcohol?

    It’s like they have to be at war against some substance at all times, or they fear people may start to question authority. It’s like the perpetual war against East Asia and various other locations in Nineteen Eighty-Four.

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