By Edward M. Bury, APR (aka The PRDude)
Several years ago, a friend and I were discussing our careers. My friend held creative positions in advertising and back in the 1970s worked on a major cigarette brand. A non-smoker, I asked my friend whether she faced any personal issues by helping to sell a product that caused serious ailments and death for generations.
“Well,” my friend said, “It’s still legal to manufacturer and sell cigarettes.”
Fast forward to today, and the focus is on another kind of legal smoking product — e-cigarettes. Over the past several months, the manufacturers of e-cigarettes have been embroiled in controversy regarding their products and the impact on people.
This recent news story reports about lab tests that revealed toxins were found in people sickened by vaping; nationally, the grisly fallout from vaping is sobering: More than 2,000 sickened and at least 39 killed.
Manufacturers of vaping products claim e-cigarettes help adult tobacco smokers quit cigarettes, which on the surface has merits. Yet, given the now regular news coverage of the harmful fallout vaping has created for some users, perhaps that contention is way, way misguided.
For this post, I wanted to learn more; so, I visited the American Vaping Association for insight on the health concerns related to vaping. I found an article on the “facts” related to illness and death, which cites statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that cite a high percentage of those who got sick used illegal THC vaping products.
There is a Contact page for the AVA, but it’s a little challenging to find because the link is within a drop-down menu accessed by three small horizontal bars to the right of the masthead. And, the AVA site does have pages devoted to news, testimonials, how to donate and more, all accessed from the somewhat hidden drop-down.
The question to the AVA: Why almost disguise the way viewers reach critical pages on your site?
Back to the anecdote that started this post: Vaping remains legal in the United States. So, to colleagues in the public relations and other communications mediums:
Would you represent the AVA or a vaping products manufacturer as a client?
I’ll start: No.
Public relations should be predicated on doing something beneficial for society. I don’t agree with the vaping industry’s altruistic mantra that their products help adult smokers kick the tobacco habit.
Your thoughts are highly encouraged.