The Case for the Vape

The contraption is now associated with a deeply concerning and sometimes deadly illness. It’s also a much-needed antidote.

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About the Show

If Then is a show about technology, society, and power. Each week, the hosts take you on a lively tour of the tech news that actually matters, from fake news in your Facebook feed to the algorithms that want your job to the Uber drivers who want a job with benefits. With news-making interviews of key tech-industry figures, fascinating academics, and top tech journalists, we explore not only how the technology that’s shaping our world works, but the ideas, ideologies, incentives, and biases that underlie it.

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Episode Notes

Host Shannon Palus discusses how today’s vaping panic is connected to the rise of the cigarette with Jacob Grier, author of the new book The Rediscovery of Tobacco: Smoking, Vaping, and the Creative Destruction of the Cigarette. Grier argues for a nuanced view of tobacco and nicotine, and has thoughts about just how much parents should worry if their teen comes home with a Juul. They also discuss why Sweden’s solution for tobacco risk reduction serves as an enviable model.

After the interview, Aaron Mak joins for this week’s edition of “Don’t Close My Tabs.”

Podcast production by Justin D. Wright.

Stories discussed on the show:

Shannon’s Tab: “Lemons Have Replaced My Deodorant,” by Jane Larkworthy

Aaron’s Tab: Prisoner Assessment Tool Targeting Estimated Risk and Needs (PATTERN) Interactive Tool

Jacob’s book: The Rediscovery of Tobacco: Smoking, Vaping, and the Creative Destruction of the Cigarette

Jacob’s stories on vaping for Slate

If you have a question or comment, you can email us at ifthen@slate.com.

If Then is presented by Slate and Future Tense, a collaboration among Arizona State UniversityNew America, and Slate. Future Tense explores the ways emerging technologies affect society, policy, and culture. To read more, follow us on Twitter and sign up for our weekly newsletter.