One of the most difficult things about this disruptive technology is how to defend it against the naysayers who are, like the Luddites of old, trying to destroy what they do not understand. It is frustrating beyond tolerance at times, to hear our lifesaving technology reduced to being perceptually more harmful than smoking itself.
Those of us who have been on the front lines face endless repetition of the same pseudo-scientific lies and misrepresentations at every turn. We are besieged by the very people we thought would be our biggest supporters. After all, don’t the various health groups share the same message: “If you smoke, stop”? And that is exactly what we’ve done! Having failed at every other method available, we found a way out of the trap of smoking for the nicotine and dying from the tar. Shouldn’t we be welcomed as a light in the darkness?
Our efforts have been to refute bad science, to call out the lies and misrepresentations. We are succeeding in muting the drum beat of disinformation. Sadly, this is not enough. Our problem is that we are small in numbers, and though we all possess great passion, we simply cannot change the narrative where it counts by constantly playing defense. Against enemies who are more experienced, organized, and funded it seems we haven’t a chance.
But we live in a world where we have seen brutal dictators toppled by student movements; whole sea changes in the political landscape brought about by a small group of dedicated people with a simple message. What I want to explore with you is how we can do the same thing and finally begin to change from playing defense against our enemies to becoming a force against which our enemies must defend themselves. In short, I want to share a few ideas on how we can change the narrative and WIN!