The following is a guest post by Fr. Jack. All guest posts (even ones published today) are strictly the opinions of the poster.
The ASSI (Anti-Smoking & Science Inventory): a Tool for Assessing: Anti-Smoking & Science Syndrome (ASSS)
Anti-Smoking & Science, Educationally Deprived Disorder (ASSEDD)
Abstract. The damage caused by smoking is well known. Smokers who quit smoking with the use of electronic
cigarettes are often met with suspicion; after all, the actions of “vaping” are similar to “smoking.” This is normal. However, left unchecked without the benefit of good science and research this suspicion can develop into a serious illness.
The term “ANTZ” (Anti-Nicotine & Tobacco Zealots) has often been used to describe the illness, but has proven to be insufficient to explain the disease and its various stages.
The ASSI Inventory was developed as a simple way to diagnosis this illness, determine what stage the illness is (“disorder” or “syndrome”) and what treatment may be appropriate. The Inventory is designed for self-administration or to use to diagnose politicians, tobacco control bureaucrats, annoying relatives, etc.
To take the ASSI: Answer “yes” or “no” to the following questions, for yourself or someone you know on their behalf.
Use a pen or pencil and simply mark your answer on this sheet or another piece of paper. (Those greatly opposed to
electronic cigarettes may find it easier to use a crayon.) Scoring and resulting diagnosis will follow.
1. Do you think that using smokeless tobacco is about as harmful as smoking cigarettes?
2. Do you think tobacco companies started or control the electronic cigarette industry?
3. Do you believe that many kids are using electronic cigarettes and then moving on to smoking?
4. Do you believe that there is scientific evidence demonstrating that flavors in electronic cigarettes are enticing kids
into a lifetime of nicotine addiction?
5. Do you believe that you can become addicted to vaping electronic cigarettes?
6. Do you think that being married to someone who is addicted to smoking tobacco cigarettes is worse than being
married to someone addicted to gambling?
7. Do you think nicotine causes cancer?
8. Do you believe “second-hand” vapor from an electronic cigarette is dangerous?
9. Do you believe that the liquid used in electronic cigarettes contains anti-freeze?
10. Do you believe that the American Lung Association and the American Cancer Society are doing people a favor by
opposing electronic cigarettes?
11. Do you have serious doubts that vaping electronic cigarettes can help someone quit smoking?
12. Do you believe that vaping causes cancer or heart attacks?
13. Do you believe that you are more likely to get cancer from vaping than from using a cellphone?
14. Do you tend to refer to use of electronic cigarettes as “smoking”, or the vapor as “smoke”?
15. When you see someone using an electronic cigarette, do you tend to see them as a foolish person who is promoting
smoking rather than as a smoker trying to quit smoking?
Give yourself (or the person you are assessing) one (1) point for each “yes” answer.
If your score is 1-6: You are symptomatic of Anti-Smoking & Science, Educationally Deprived Disorder (ASEDD), but
have not fully developed the disorder. This stage is usually treatable with science and education. See casaa.org,
If your score is 7 or above: You definitely have ASSEDD. You need to take both a statistics class and a research
methodology class at a regionally accredited college or university, do a thorough study of the above websites, and seek
professional help available at a local vape shop. Completion of these treatments may put you into remission, but you will
only be considered cured if you can abstain from press releases from tobacco and pharmaceutical companies for a
minimum of five years.
If your score is 9 or above: At this stage you have moved from being ASSED to being a full blown ASSS (Anti-Smoking &
Science Syndrome). Like Axis II personality disorders, at this stage the condition may be untreatable. You may consider
yourself a Public Health Luddite. You ignore good science and research and/ or espouse Junk Science to promote your
Luddite philosophy. This Syndrome will make you unwittingly push smokers back to tobacco cigarettes and subsequent
disease and death, and the only ethical outlet for your illness is participation in closed chat rooms with fellow sufferers
of the Syndrome.
Anecdotally, some symptomatic relief has been reported through use of psychoactive medication and active
participation in the Flat Earth Society (flatearth.org), though no conclusive studies have been done. For more
information visit www.vapingforthegreatergood.org.
Discussion. Like with all who suffer with addiction, people with ASSS or ASSED rely on the ego defense mechanism of
denial in order to continue with their absurd positions, and rationalization to explain away the harm they are causing to
smokers by trying to restrict or eliminate what science has shown to be a relatively safe, evidence-based tool for
smoking cessation. This argues for the disease concept of ASS illness and the possible influence of genetics and/or
maladaptivity of certain neurotransmitters in the brain, making the source of the sickness the limbic system.
Differential Diagnosis: Some researchers will argue that the disease concept would apply only to some sufferers, but
that many others develop it purely out of a desire to protect profits (e.g. representatives from the tobacco and
pharmaceutical industries) or grant money (e.g. some “tobacco control” advocates), and that greed is the simply the
ultimate cause of their actions. If this is the case, the illness would be considered centered in the pre-frontal cortex .
By itself, the ASSI Inventory cannot determine the origins of the illness; other diagnostic tools must be developed.
Conclusion: The ASSI Inventory is in primary developmental stage; long-term studies and psychometric validation will be
necessary. Early results, however, indicate that you can bet your ASSI is accurate.
Note: The developer of this inventory is Fr. Jack Kearney, M.Div., CATC IV, CATE, CAIC, CSCC, a certified smoking
cessation counselor and professor of addiction studies and harm reduction. He has no financial connection with any ecig
vendor or any company that profits from smoking or smoking cessation. This Inventory may be freely distributed. It
has been submitted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal. Once published the author has the option of naming it
after himself, at which point one will be able to refer to him/herself as having been JACK-ASSEDD or a full blown JACKASSS.