The Astroturf Arguement, an Emerging Prohibitionist Tactic?

Normally, I don’t cover fellow blogs in the news section, that’s for the site of the week (or really random site every few weeks).  However, there was an interesting post on a blog penned by a professor who’s been under fire for a recent paper critical of the e-cigarette Industry. The professor wonders if the rapid responses to his paper on social media may have something more to them.

So what should we make of e-cigarettes?

So what do I conclude from this experience? There is clearly a dedicated, highly vocal community using devices that look nothing like cigarettes. Many of them are, doubtless, deeply committed to harm reduction, but I argue that they miss the much bigger picture. However, given what we know about the tobacco industry, now that it has jumped on the e-cigarette bandwagon, it would be foolish to ignore the possibility that some of those responding with such speed and intensity to any challenge to e-cigarettes represent industry-manufactured Astroturf rather than spontaneously emerging grassroots.

Now before I get to the point here, the article talked about a lot of people who replied to the report were less than civil. I in no way condone that behavior. I think if you’re trying to get a point across, being respectful is the best way to do so. Personal attacks do nothing but make you look like the bad guy.  Anyway, I’ve seen accusations of Astroturf pop up before, mostly in EU surrounding the TPD. It seems that in this case, if you have a group of very passionate, vocal consumers the best way to counter is to simply accuse them of being a construct of evil industry players. For some reason the idea of people really caring about this subject is lost (or willfully downplayed).

 

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