Concerns are growing over the future of vaping as several different battles are happening at the same time
It’s no shock the vaping industry has a public perception problem. Despite a growing pile of peer-reviewed evidence supporting their value, many still call into question if they do more harm than good. Unfortunately, things have gotten so bad over the last year that at least one financial analyst believes this year could come to be a “make or break” year for the vaping industry. Washington based analyst, Stefanie Miller sees the increased attention from the FDA over e-liquid flavors as just one of several catalysts pointing the vaping industry toward a severe conflict.
While this battle between critics and supporters has been going on for almost as long as modern vaporizers have been around, they’ve become increasingly volatile as both sides dig in. Advocates of vaping point to all the research which seemingly proves e-cigarettes are valuable harm reduction and smoking cessation tools. At the same time, critics worry what sort of impact acceptance of vaping is having on the youth, worrying they’re ultimately leading kids to a life of smoking. Regardless of the debate, one thing is clear. 2019 will go down as an important year for the vaping industry.
The Financial Perspective
Stefanie Miller has grown her reputation as a financial analyst over her career with Washington based firm, Height Capital Markets. One of the main parts of her job is tracking trends within different industries, including the e-cigarette market. She believes the concern over teenage impact has the potential to be a serious problem for the continued existence of vaping as we know it. The panic which is growing among parents and legislators is feeding into their desire to restrict e-liquid flavors for everyone. At the rate things are currently moving, Miller believes we could see a nationwide flavor ban by this time next year.
One of the most significant factors behind the climate around vaping is the rampant misinformation. It’s unfortunate how many people don’t seem to even understand vaping and smoking are different processes. As mentioned, most parents seem to be worried that acceptance of vaping will somehow lead their children to a life of smoking. Miller hit this point on the head when she said, “The idea that these companies could be creating and even profiting from nicotine addiction in youth who may eventually transition to combustible cigarette use is devastating to regulators and certain factions of the public health community.”
What The Research Says
Once you take a look at the actual evidence, these concerns over teenage vaping mostly disappear. A report by Action on Smoking and Health asked over 60,000 students about their relationship with smoking and vaping. They concluded only between 0.1% and 0.5% of non-smoking teens are ever picking up vapes on a regular basis, let alone starting to smoke. This makes more sense when you realize e-cigarettes have been shown to be the best smoking cessation tool we have at our disposal. Researchers concluded vaping is even more likely to lead to a successful quit attempt than prescription drugs.
We’ve also got a ton of reason to believe vaping is much safer for you than continuing to smoke cigarettes. Public Health England first reported back in 2015 that vaping is at least 95% safer than smoking, but this wasn’t the last time a similar number was found. In fact, as recently as last month a study concluded that vapor contains 93% fewer toxicants than cigarette smoke. But to really understand how much better for you vaping is, consider the report published in the Journal of Aerosol Sciences which concluded the excess lifetime cancer risk of a vaper is about 57,000 times lower than a smoker from a similar background.
Ask most experts, and they’ll tell you the most significant thing facing the vaping industry is the continued lack of public perception. Polls have found that only around 13% of adults understand how much safer vaping is than smoking, but twice as many seem to believe e-cigarettes are just as, if not more dangerous. This simply cannot continue if vaping is ever to reach its full potential as a harm reduction and smoking cessation tool. Stefanie Miller and her colleagues agree this year is a significant challenge for the industry. If we don’t throw all our support behind it now, it may not be much longer we even recognize the vaping industry in America.
Do you think this is going to be a make or break year for vaping? Are analysts like Miller overreacting in your opinion? What’s the best way to teach others about vaping? Let us know what you think in the comments, and don’t forget to check back here or join our Facebook and Twitter communities for more news and articles.