By Dr. Jim Ferguson

Sometimes I feel like the crowd behind the Pied Piper of Hamelin. You recall the legend of the Piper whose job was to remove rats from a town in Germany. Then, when the town’s people refused to pay the Piper, he spirited away the children of the hamlet. Sadly, the rats of the Washington Swamp are in cahoots with the media, and Americans listen to, and some blindly follow, media-pipers like the children of Hamelin.

Of the many media-influenced crises, the latest issue in the headlines is vaping. The word vaping is derived from the root word vapor. Experts at the CDC (Center for Disease Control) are investigating reports of lung disease associated with vaping in more than 400 people. And as a reaction, India has banned all e-cigarettes and the state of New York banned flavored e-cigarettes. Neither banned smoking tobacco.

Perhaps it is our drive-through culture, our passion for fast-food or preference of news in sound bites which makes us prone to knee-jerk reactions. I have observed that people tend to ignore problems until a crisis develops, and then they overreact, often swinging to the other extreme. It would be much better if we moved carefully to analyze and then correct a problem rather than lurching toward the opposite pole of an issue. But, that doesn’t seem to be the American way.

Currently, there are over 1 billion smokers in the world (one in seven). The largest number of smokers are in China and India; however 15% of Americans still smoke, despite strong scientific evidence that partially combusted carbon (tobacco) causes heart attacks, strokes and lung disease. I predict future research will find that inhaling partially combusted marijuana leaves will cause similar cardiovascular and lung diseases. The notable difference is marijuana delivers the psychoactive drug THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and tobacco delivers the psychoactive drug nicotine. And make no mistake, any drug which is psychoactive has addictive and abuse potential.

Nicotine affects both the pleasure and arousal centers of the brain. To put it in layman‘s terms, nicotine “puts you on your game” and at the same time calms your emotions. Nicotine also increases the work of the heart by elevating blood pressure and heart rate. The drug suppresses appetite, but research has shown no carcinogenic effects. As a result, nicotine patches and gum can be safely used as part of a smoking cessation program.

In 2003 a new nicotine delivery system was developed and first marketed in China. This utilized the vaporization of a nicotine and water solution which was then inhaled into the lungs for absorption. The initial e-cigarettes were small and looked much like an actual cigarette. We are now into the third generation of e-cigarette devices with rechargeable batteries and modifiable cartridges. Unfortunately, there is little standardization of nicotine cartridge contents which are sometimes adulterated with heavy metals, toxic substances and carcinogens. Furthermore there have been no studies on the long-term safety of vaping. And especially disturbing are flavored vaping solutions of nicotine, increasingly used by adolescents and teens. Aside from the toxicities of unknown chemicals, nicotine is a gateway, psychoactive drug. And black market liquids for vaping THC solutions are obviously dangerous.

We live at the bottom of a sea of air. If you were able to ask a fish about the water in which it swims, it might reply, “What water?” Similarly, we may take for granted clean air until it has been fouled, as in Beijing and many other cities in China, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. We may also take for granted that our lungs efficiently extract oxygen from the atmosphere and eliminate carbon dioxide waste. That is until you have shortness of breath from smoking associated lung damage like COPD (chronic obstructive lung disease).

Imagine a myriad of tiny balloons connected to an intricate system of conduits. Microscopically, the tiny air sacs of the lungs (balloons), where oxygen and carbon dioxide are exchanged, might be envisioned as of bunch of grapes on stems. The stems connect to ever larger stems and stalks to allow passage of respired air. We have two lungs, whose surface area for gas exchange is equivalent to a tennis court. At least until the air sacs and tiny stems are destroyed by smoking, chemicals or radiation.

The vapors of Washington and especially those of Jerry Nadler’s Judiciary Committee are fouling America’s airways. Even the media (90% are card-carrying Democrats-Progressives) are having vapors over their Democrat-Progressive colleagues in Congress. The media are apoplectic over the ineptitude of Nadler, the disgusting Stephen Cohen of Memphis (aka chicken-fingers) and other Democrat hacks like Sheila Jackson Lee.

But Congress is not alone in hatred-driven insanity which destroys rational thought. The NYT is the media’s vanguard, and its latest disgusting Kavanaugh hit-piece is evaporating into shame. Increasingly, it is obvious to rational people that if you give the Democrats more power they will turn America into California and our streets into those of Baltimore and San Francisco. But, oh, have you heard? Trump is sending the EPA to sanction San Francisco for its soiled streets and homelessness. Hold on Democrats who run Los Angeles, Portland and Baltimore. Trump is on the way to help fix your mess!

You may not like Trump’s style, but he stands up for America. He has produced jobs, a booming economy, and the lowest unemployment in decades with record employment for blacks, Latinos and women. China’s mercantilism is being opposed, the odious Iran nuclear agreement is gone and Iran, as well as North Korea, are subject to crippling sanctions. NATO members are paying their fair share for their own defense, illegal immigration is down, the wall is being built and the globalist-Progressive utopian vision is being thwarted. Humans are tribal. And at this time we do not have the maturity for a World government, and we should remain distrustful of multinational corporations who owe no allegiance to America.

Though the battle continues and is painful, I believe America is winning. I have always said “If you pull the tale of a donkey, it brays. The vapors of the Democrat-Progressives and their media handlers are evidence that we are on the right path. Tweet on, Mr. President.