The US Surgeon General recently issued a scathing criticism of vaping after staying mostly quiet for the last couple of years
Unfortunately, it seems debate is just an unavoidable part of life for the vaping community, as hardly a day goes by without some type of negative story published. The vast majority of these stories are based on either extremely rare accidents or anecdotal connections between vaping and teens. Supporters of vaping have a growing pile of peer-reviewed evidence which supports their value, but many people remain unconvinced. These critics are positive acceptance of vaping, regardless of the value they provide, will ultimately have negative consequences for the younger generation.
The base of this argument goes that by legitimizing vaping for harm reduction or smoking cessation purposes, it will send the message to teens that they’re harmless and non-smokers should try them. While it is of the utmost importance that we always strive to protect people too young to understand the consequences of their actions, research proves that in this case, teens aren’t at nearly as much risk as the media would let you believe. Despite the strong evidence in support of vaping, the US Surgeon General Jerome Adams recently took aim at the vaping industry.
The General’s Report
Jerome Adams has been the US Surgeon General since September 2017 after he was nominated by President Trump. Since being confirmed, he’s actually been quite quiet on the subject of vaping, especially when compared with what his colleague, FDA Commissioner, Dr. Scott Gottlieb has been up to over the last couple years. Sadly, this didn’t mean he was secretly supporting vaping from afar, as he recently made his position clear during a news conference aimed explicitly at rebuking the vaping industry. He too centered his gripe around the impact vaporizers are having on our youth. It should come as no surprise then that he attempted to use the same tired old misguided arguments as everyone else to make this case.
For starters, he tried to use a statistic you often hear, but actually means very little when you understand the context. He claimed the number of teenage vapers has nearly doubled over the last few years, but that doesn’t explain how they determine what a “vaper” is. By their wording, any person who has tried a vaporizer once in the last 30 days is the same as someone who frequently vapes throughout the day, every day. It doesn’t take a stats genius to tell you this logic doesn’t make much sense and is mainly used to mislead people. Another blatantly misleading piece of “evidence” used by Dr. Adams is the fact one Juul pod contains nearly as much nicotine as an entire pack of cigarettes. But the way they talk about a Juul pod, you would be led to believe vapers regularly use an entire pod for a single session. This is simply untrue and only highlights the technically true, but ultimately misleading nature of most of Dr. Adams’ arguments.
Support For Vaping
Dr. Adams may remain skeptical about the value of vaporizers, but most of the reputable and repeatable research we have on vaping indicates it’s the hands-down choice compared with continued smoking. Back in 2015 we first found out that vaping is at least 95% safer than smoking thanks to a report by Public Health England. But these days, it’s every few months we get a new study which comes to similar conclusions. Back in December, a team of researchers concluded e-liquid vapor contains around 93% fewer toxicants than cigarette smoke. To top things off, reports find the excess lifetime cancer risk of a vaper is about 57,000 times lower than a smoker with a similar background and history.
Going past the basic harm reduction value and there’s still a ton to love about vaporizers. We have reason to believe they’re not only an effective smoking cessation tool but the best we have at our disposal, according to research out of the University of Louisville. But to truly understand why these concerns over vaping are misguided, you have to consider the report of over 60,000 students which concluded only between 0.1% and 0.5% of non-smoking teens are vaping regularly. Which naturally means even fewer are ever ending up smokers thanks solely to vaping.
2019 is certainly shaping up to be the “make or break” year experts said it was going to be. Both sides are getting increasingly dug into their perspectives, with the hope of legitimate compromise all but dead in the water. That’s why if we want to ensure and protect our vaping rights, we must be working to spread all the positive information we have to those around us. Far too many smokers just don’t understand what they’re missing by never giving vaping a chance. So with smoking still killing more people every year than any other preventable cause, it’s only right we do everything we can to spread the word about the best harm reduction and smoking cessation tool on the market.
Do you think this type of struggle will have a significant impact on the industry? What’s the best way to start changing the narrative around vaping? What do you think is the biggest hurdle left for the industry? 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.