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At the outset of a study focused on e-cigarette use among young people, we wanted to experiment with holding a group discussion on an online e-cigarette forum, but we also worried about how forum members would receive us in our capacity as researchers.

The wars over e-cigarettes – their health effects, how safe they are, how they should or should not be regulated – had grown ugly, and we had seen colleagues harassed online and/or professionally sidelined because they were perceived as either too anti-vaping or too pro-vaping.

In the US, e-cigarette conflict has been dominated by two “sides.” The two sides we will describe next don’t apply to all participants in the e-cigarette wars. Instead they are generalizations that represent the polarized nature of e-cigarette discourse, with an emphasis on the perspectives of vaping advocates online.

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