Imagine researchers develop a pill that prevents cancer, heart and lung disease. Side-effects include increased focus, attention and memory, and reduced stress and anxiety. Because of these side-effects, the pills are dependence-forming… and some teens start to use them…
The pills are dependence-forming because people ENJOY having mildly increased focus, attention and memory (that’s why we drink coffee and tea). And people LIKE having mildly reduced stress and anxiety. So, like any product meant only for adults, teens get ahold of them….
…as teen use grows, two massive unaccountable foundations step in. They begin an aggressive campaign to exaggerate harms. They claim this new drug causes gum disease, nose bleeds, seizures, baldness, acne, depression… …and that it’s a gateway to other drugs.
It turns out teen use was just a fad, so that drops. But the 2 foundations increase their propaganda to reduce teen use to zero. Soon, 60% of adults believe, incorrectly, that a drug which demonstrably reduces cancer, heart & lung disease, is as harmful as those diseases.
So…This is where we are now. Only instead of a pill that prevents cancer, heart & lung disease we have #SaferNicotine alternatives that help smokers quit. The oddity of this moment is profound:
(This piece was written by Charles A. Gardener, PhD, in this tweet.)