Unsurprisingly preventing adults from accessing safe alternatives to tobacco does not lead to declines in smoking rates.
The tobacco epidemic plagues a combined 1.1 billion smokers worldwide, with 35 million smokers in the United States alone. Thanks to reduced-harm alternatives such as nicotine patches and vapor devices, smoking rates have plummeted to their lowest in recorded history.
San Francisco, home of popular industry leader Juul Labs, recently banned vapor products entirely from being sold in stores or online. Officials claim the purpose of the move is in the interest of public-health, meant to curb cigarette smoking.
Government officials continue to question vaping’s efficacy as a smoking cessation tool while enacting regulation, which treats it similar to smoking. Members of the vaping community and other vaping enthusiasts criticize these bans for preventing access to responsible adult smokers looking for a reduced-harm alternative.
Despite the decline in smoking rates and growing body of peer-reviewed evidence highlighting its efficacy as a smoking cessation aid, governments around the world have continued to demonize and regulate vaping. These rules and regulations, such as complete bans on all vapor products, actively restrict access by adult smokers looking for reduced harm alternatives.
Banning Vaping Backfires
San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to ban sales and distribution of vapor products within the city. The city is the home of Juul Labs, the largest vapor device manufacturer in the United States.
The ordinance prohibits the sale of vapor products in brick-and-mortar retail outlets, as well as online sales shipped to addresses within the city. The law joins another that prevents the manufacture, distribution, and sale of vapor products on city-owned property.
City Attorney Dennis Herrera had co-authored the ordinance and celebrated the final vote by the board. “This is a decisive step to help prevent another generation of San Francisco children from becoming addicted to nicotine,” Herrera says.
Juul Labs responded to the vote in a statement released to the press, noting the ban will create new challenges for the city. According to a spokesperson for Juul, “full prohibition will drive former adult smokers who successfully switched to vapor products back to deadly cigarettes, deny the opportunity to switch for current adult smokers, and create a thriving black market instead of addressing the actual causes of underage access and use.”
Vaping Over Smoking
Evidence is continually emerging, highlighting the viability of vaping as a smoking cessation aid and reduced-harm alternative to smoking. In independent studies performed by Public Health England and the Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, researchers found vaping to be 95% safer and 93% safer than smoking, respectively.
This type of research can showcase how vaping may be the greatest tool at our disposal to help smokers quit. Researchers from the University of Louisville found vaping to be the single most effective smoking cessation aid available, even beating out prescription alternatives such as Chantix.
A study published by the Journal of Aerosol Sciences found that vapers have a 57,000 times lower risk of cancer when compared to smokers. Researchers concluded particulate matter found in vapor was much less harmful than larger carcinogenic particles found in smoke.
Despite all of this evidence, the public at large continues to have a negative view surrounding vaping. A study conducted by Public Health England, found only 13% of adults think vaping is less harmful than smoking, with 26% believing it’s just as harmful, or worse.
There have been increasing regulatory crackdowns on vaping by governments at both the local and national levels. Despite this, complete prohibitions like what we’ve seen in San Francisco are more uncommon.
Complete prohibition is a direct assault on the rights of responsible adults to decide what to do with their bodily autonomy. These unconstitutional bans are in direct contrast with the freedoms we have as citizens.
The vaping community needs to hold lawmakers responsible when they take away our rights as responsible adults. This sort of regulatory overreach is exactly what served as a catalyst for revolutions throughout history.
Members of the vaping community and other vaping enthusiasts must remain committed to civic engagement and staying informed about the benefits of vaping. Now more than ever, it’s vital for us to challenge misinformation and unjust laws whenever they arise.
How do you feel about the complete prohibition of vaping? Do you believe governments are going to far in their regulatory overreach? How has vaping improved your own life? Let us know in the comments below. Please like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and check back here for all the latest news regarding vaping.
(Image Credit – Unsplash – https://pixabay.com/photos/people-adult-woman-smoke-a-3252561/)