A new release from the FDA attempts to paint vaping in a bad light, but ultimately highlights that e-cigarettes are incredibly effective
Vapers in America have become very accustomed to dealing with shady behavior from the FDA. Going as far back as the heavily contest PMTA, the FDA has often butted heads with the vaping industry. Over just the last year they’ve pulled unannounced raids on companies like Juul Labs, even after they complied with official requests, as well as dropping heavy new flavor restrictions on the industry without so much as any evidence to back them up.
Well, they half-heartedly tried to remedy this concern earlier this month when they finally offered up some of the data used to inform the new policies. Unfortunately, they also used this as an opportunity to cast major aspirations on the efficacy of vaping as they claimed vaping among high schoolers is up 38% since just last year. But taking a more in-depth look at the data they used as well as the other information we have, a very different picture starts to emerge.
An In-Depth Look
While the FDA did finally offer up some of the evidence they’re using to inform their so-called “blitz” on vaping, they hardly showed us everything. We’re supposedly getting the full report sometime in 2019, but for now, we have no choice but to wonder how they’re justifying these new regulations. The data we did get suggests that the number of teens vaping has increased nearly 40% since the start of 2017. But what they don’t fairly acknowledge is that this figure includes any teens who have vaped even once in the past 30 days. So while they tout these figures as indicating a new epidemic, the number of teenage vapers seems to match up with the same amount of teens who had been smoking previously.
This theory is only backed up when you take a look at the smoking rate trends at the same time vaping has exploded onto the scene. In fact, the CDC announced just last week that the smoking rate in the US reached an all-time low, just 14%. The decline in smoking rates has only sped up in countries that allow smokers to use vaping, a far cry from the often referenced “gateway effect” that would usher in a new generation of smokers. Rather, it seems vaping has instead given smokers another powerful option for smoking cessation help, leading to more success stories.
The Effect On Teens
The question of how much impact vaping has on teens is an important and tricky question to answer. We must always strive to protect the children, but at what point is this argument more of a shield for anti-vapers than teenagers? The FDA loves to point to the “teen vaping epidemic” as a primary reason for more strict regulation. But they’ve never given us the hard data that makes them so sure of this issue. This gap in evidence is even more astounding when you realize the peer-reviewed evidence we do have on the topic paints a very different picture than the FDA.
A study conducted by Action on Smoking and Health of over 60,000 students concluded that only between 0.1% and 0.5% of non-smoking teens are ever picking up vaping on a regular basis. While that’s already a tiny portion of the total student population, the rate of non-smoking teens becoming full blown smokers must then be even lower. When combined with the research which proves vaping is at least 95% safer than smoking, as well as being the best smoking cessation tool we have, it starts to become very clear why the fight for vaping rights matters so much.
The FDA is seemingly hell-bent on painting vaping in a negative light. No matter how much positive information is published, they will always focus on their imagined problems. The only thing that could potentially sway our legislators is if enough people get on board with the harm reduction and smoking cessation benefits of vaping. A poll published back in 2017 found that only around 13% of adults understand how much safer vaping is than smoking, but this number seems to be increasing. We’re still very far from where we need to be, but there is hope. That’s why it’s so essential we inform all the smokers in our lives about the many benefits vaping offers. Regardless of what the FDA would have you believe, if we ever want to live in a world that’s free of cigarettes once and for all we must take advantage of all the tools we have, especially ones proven so game-changing.
Do you think the FDA is actively suppressing information they don’t agree with? What’s the best way to teach others about the benefits of vaping? What’s the most critical part of vaping rights to you? 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.