Health officials in Washington are currently in talks over a new set of vaping taxes aimed at curbing teenage usage
Vaping continues to be the cause of plenty of debate among the public health community. On the one hand, they’ve been shown to drastically reduce the level of harm a smoker is exposed too, but some still have significant concerns about their impact on teens. As such, the vaping community is preparing for several major battles over the continued efficacy of their harm reduction and smoking cessation products this coming year. Only time will truly tell what becomes of these proposed regulations and taxes.
One thing that will undoubtedly make things harder for the vaping industry is the very low amount of people who understand vaping is much safer than smoking. We’ve known since 2015 that vaping is at least 95% safer than smoking, thanks to Public Health England, and studies since have only corroborated these findings. Despite this clear results, Action on Smoking and Health found that only 13% of adults understand how much safer vaping is than smoking. So as 2018 winds down, many have concerns about what 2019 has in store for the vaping community.
Ramped Up Regulations
After a tumultuous couple of years for vaping, things may reach a head in 2019. Between the FDA’s continued pursuit of an e-liquid flavor ban, and reports indicating that teenage vaping increased significantly in 2018, many analysts are worried that this is a make or break year for the vaping industry. Likely the most common regulation proposed for the vaping industry is increased taxes on vaporizers and vaping products. Supporters of these taxes point to data which suggests states with the highest taxes on vaping have seen decreases in teenage vaping.
Meanwhile, vapers say making it harder for them to get their preferred products will ultimately lead to a mass relapse among adult smokers who had successfully quit smoking with vaping. Regardless, the number of states with vaping taxes is continuing to rise, with some going as far as a 95% tax on the wholesale price of vaping products. This level of tax is even more ridiculous when you realize that after instituting their 95% tax, Minnesota saw a nearly 50% increase in teenage vaping over the next three years. Utah could be the next state to go down a similar route, with their Governor, Gary Herbert, saying a new tax on vaping could be implemented as soon as their next budget passes. These regulations are all the more detrimental when you consider all the positive research proving the value of e-cigarettes.
The Full Picture
Making the threat of increased taxes worse is the peer-reviewed evidence supporting vaping. We already mentioned that vaping is at least 95% than smoking, but other research has shown that the excess lifetime cancer risk of a vaper is around 57,000 times lower than a comparable smoker. We also have plenty of reason to believe that vaping is the best smoking cessation tool at our disposal, as researchers tested all the most common methods and concluded that vaping is even more successful than prescription drugs.
But probably the most crucial piece of evidence lost in all these new regulations and taxes is that the teenage vaping epidemic is vastly overblown. Studies of over 60,000 teens concluded that only between 0.1% and 0.5% of non-smoking teens are ever picking up vapes regularly. That means the overwhelming majority of teenage vapers had previously been smokers. It also means that far fewer than even 0.1% of non-smoking teens are ever ending up full-blown smokers due to vaping.
Vapers have been faced with plenty of difficulty and criticism ever since e-cigarettes first hit the scene. But now it seems things may be starting to take a turn for the worse. With mounting pressure from parents, institutions like the FDA are turning up the heat on vaping companies. They claim to be worried about the long-term effects on teens, but they’ve never shown any of the evidence they’re using to make this point. They apparently didn’t read the massive scale report by Action on Smoking and Health, or they would understand how much is at stake if we severely inhibit vaping choices. Smoking continues to kill more people every year than almost anything else, which is why we should be supporting a tool proven to help people quit. Instead, the FDA and state legislatures are moving to place harsh bans and fines on vaping products that only undermine the value e-cigarettes offer.
Are you worried about your vaping rights in 2019? What do you think is the biggest issue facing the vaping community moving forward? How should we work to teach more people about the value of 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.