Experts at the 2018 Global Tobacco and Nicotine Forum claim that access to affordable vaping supplies must be taken seriously by health advocates
Even in this day and age, where smoking rates are on the major decline, tobacco smoking is a worldwide phenomenon, with nearly 1.1 billion smokers globally. This habit directly results in six million deaths each year and another 890,000 deaths through second-hand smoke. A single cigarette contains thousands of chemicals, over 200 of which are carcinogenic chemicals, that can cause a myriad of health problems and diseases. 80% of smokers wish they had never taken up cigarettes in the first place.
All the damage smoking does is not simply a first world problem either. It affects people across the globe regardless of wealth. Experts on substance use are now saying that vaping should be more than just a privilege, but actually a human right. With that being the case, they believe the costs need to be brought way down and kept down so people in poorer countries can afford to make the switch to vaping instead of continuing to smoke.
Helen Redmond is one such expert on substance use, out of NYU’s Silver School of Social Work. Redmond addressed an audience at the 2018 Global Tobacco and Nicotine Forum in London, saying “as a harm reduction device, prices need to come down” and stressed that it is people living in poorer countries who would benefit the most from vaping technology. Vaping would not only help improve people’s health, but it would be more cost-effective long-term as well. Redmond also addressed how people view nicotine, which many mistakenly feel is intrinsically linked to tobacco usage. “Nicotine is not a dirty drug,” says Redmond in addition to helping wain people off smoking, “it helps with depression and anxiety.”
Other experts weighed in as well such as Viscount Matt Ridley author, and member of the House of Lords. He said, “The best way to get people to give [smoking] up is to innovate with technology.” Ridley feels that other vapers rights need to be addressed as well, saying that restricting the use of vaporizers could be seen as an infringement on human rights. These restrictions, in his opinion, will prevent more people from taking up vaping. Ridley also noted that public opinion is against them due to the media’s “scare stories.”
Finally, Karl Fagerstrom a clinical psychologist addressed audiences at the conference and called for more research on the benefits of nicotine. Fagerstrom believes that nicotine may be able to help people suffering from Alzheimer’s and depression, but also emphasized the need to move away from combustible tobacco products.
The Research On Vaping
Vaping has been proven, by many studies, to be extremely beneficial for smokers. Even stacked up against other nicotine replacement therapies, it has been shown as effective. A study out of the University of Louisville found that when compared with NRTs like nicotine patches, gums, and even prescription medications like Chantix, vaping is the most effective tool for smoking cessation.
It also has the potential to significantly improve the health of smokers. A study published in the Journal of Aerosol Science found that the likeliness of a person to develop cancer, beyond their own genetic disposition, is 57,000 times lower for a vaper than it is a smoker. Additionally, Public Health England published work all the way back in 2015 which found vaping to be at least 95% safer than smoking.
Tobacco companies know that vaping is a threat to their business, and they see the writing on the wall when it comes to cigarettes. Most acknowledge that moving forward they see a world without cigarettes. The Global Tobacco and Nicotine Forum is an industry-wide event. While some businesses and attendees are hard set against vaping. The director of the group Counterfactual calls these actions part of a “hostile and focused” campaign. But even in this tobacco centric environment there many experts, officials, and speakers willing to acknowledge and actively work towards the end of tobacco.
They know that smoking is a worldwide issue that must be solved. The best way for vaping to reach its full potential in the fight against tobacco is for the general, non-smoking, non-vaping public to understand and accept it. When social norms and the country’s laws both legitimize vaping for harm reduction and smoking cessation purposes then smokers are more likely to take up vaping and make the switch. This becomes especially true when more emphasis is placed on educating the public about the peer-reviewed evidence.
Do you feel that affordable vaping is a human rights issue? What do you think about vaping restrictions in your workplace? Did affordability play a part in your switch? 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.