Thanks to Joe L, my good opinion of Melania Trump has taken a knock:
Since when has there been “a growing epidemic” of e-cigarette use? She’s not the first to abuse the term. From the Foreword of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control :
The WHO FCTC was developed in response to the globalization of the tobacco epidemic. The spread of the tobacco epidemic is facilitated through a variety of complex factors with cross-border effects, including trade liberalization and direct foreign investment.
epidemic noun (DISEASE) [ C ] the appearance of a particular disease in a large number of people at the same time: a flu epidemic
Neither cigarette smoking nor e-cigarette use are diseases. If a large number of people start doing something (like reading books or playing guitars) it doesn’t mean they’re suffering from an epidemic disease. For something to be a disease there must be an associated lack of ease, or discomfort or disability. There is no discomfort or disability associated with smoking cigarettes (or reading books or playing guitars), and so the pastime is not a disease., and if large numbersof people take up the habit of reading, playing, or smoking, it’s not an epidemic.
But perhaps Tobacco Control really does see the habit of smoking as a disease? And regards the sight of someone lighting a cigarette as not different from them becoming covered in spots or sores, and running a high temperature? The appearance of the cigarette between the lips is for them the symptom of the disease of smoking. It’s perhaps not that smoking is a cause of diseases (like lung cancer, which is a genuine disease, with considerable terminal discomfort associated with it) but that smoking is itself the disease.
Why else would they refer to the “tobacco epidemic” if they didn’t think that smoking was itself a disease?
Of course, once you can see smoking as itself being a disease, then you can also see reading books and playing guitars as diseases as well. And of course you can see any unusual opinion about anything as a diseased opinion. Perhaps you see ideas propagating throughout societies as no different from flu viruses passing from one person to the next?
The Tobacco Control mindset is perhaps the expression of a medical perspective on life that sees absolutely everything in terms of epidemic diseases. So the Beatlemania in the 1960s was a global epidemic disease. And perhaps the rise today of what’s called “nationalist populism” is another global epidemic, or pandemic. Same with mini-skirts and mobile phones and cheeseburgers: All epidemics. And if trees get covered in leaves in Spring, that’s another epidemic. And when they die in Autumn, that’s another epidemic. And on clear nights you can see the epidemic of stars in the space around us. Might this be the insanity of Tobacco Control? To see everything as disease?
I don’t think there’s a tobacco epidemic. I don’t think smoking is a disease. I don’t think vaping is a disease either. Or reading books, or playing guitars.