Baltimore recently became the latest city to ban on e-liquid flavors, but the logic behind their move is seriously flawed according to experts
Even in 2019, smoking is the leading cause of preventable death and disease around the world. As such, public health experts are always in need of effective ways to limit the number of people who still smoke. According to many vapers, and plenty of peer-reviewed evidence, e-cigarettes provide the perfect combination to facilitate successful quit attempts. As such, vaping is now seen as a major key to ending the fight against tobacco in a growing number of public health circles. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case everywhere as Baltimore recently became yet another major US city to pass an e-liquid flavor ban which, according to some experts, is ultimately working against their intended goals.
This type of legislation is becoming more and more popular as politicians struggle to get ahead of the so-called teenage vaping epidemic sweeping the nation. However, the majority of detailed evidence on this topic indicates the true nature of this “epidemic” may be quite overblown. Regardless, the vaping community is once again bracing for the impact of misguided and overbearing regulation.
Three New Bills
Last week the Baltimore City Council passed three bills all aimed at making their laws on e-cigarettes stronger and more precise. The two smaller bills changed the definition of e-cigarettes, as well as requiring vape shops to set up prominent displays which show the “health risks” of vaping. Councilman Leon Pinkett III led the charge on the biggest of the three bills, a ban on e-liquid flavors except for tobacco. According to the City Council, the main point of vape juices flavors is to entice the youth into using them. They give no credence to the radical idea that adults also enjoy fruity flavors, or that they increase the effectiveness of vaping as a smoking cessation tool.
Instead, they seemingly believe the only reason most people vape is for the flavors. Which explains why they believe banning them will magically get most vapers to stop vaping, while not reverting back to smoking. Unfortunately, experts believe that banning e-liquid flavors will ultimately increase the number of smokers a lot more than encourage vapers to quit both habits. Dr. John Buckell of Yale University published a report which concluded vaping bans lead to gains for Big Tobacco, as nearly 10% of vapers to revert back into smoking when these laws are passed. On the other hand, he found that if menthol cigarettes were banned while leaving e-liquids alone, Big Tobacco profits would drop by 5%. So the correct path should be evident.
Why It Matters
One of the most common arguments you hear when bans like this are passed involves the impact on teens. Indeed, in this case, the Baltimore City Council planted their reasoning firmly on ending the perceived epidemic. The truth is that large scale peer-reviewed research on the topic paints a much less scary picture. A report of over 60,000 students concluded that only between 0.1% and 0.5% of non-smoking teens are ever picking up vapes on a regular basis. That means even fewer are being “led” to a life of smoking by vaporizers. In fact, we have plenty of reason to believe that vaping is actually the best smoking cessation tool we have. A report by researchers at the University of Louisville tested all the most common smoking cessation tools and methods, ranging from cold turkey to prescriptions, and found nothing was more likely to lead to success than e-cigarettes.
Going further than the social impact, we also have plenty of reason to believe they’re dramatically safer than combustible cigarettes. Going back to 2015 we got our first report from a major public health agency, PHE, that vaping is at least 95% safer than smoking. As recently as last month this type of figure was reported in another study which found vapor contains around 93% fewer toxicants than tobacco smoke does. Bolstering these harm reduction numbers further is the report which concluded the lifetime excess cancer risk of a vaper is around 57,000 times lower than a demographically similar smoker. These astounding numbers show precisely why everyone should support vaping as a harm reduction and smoking cessation tool.
The logic used by the Baltimore City Council is seriously flawed and only likely to make their problems worse. They honestly seem to believe that by harming the vaping industry, they’re not at the same time helping Big Tobacco. It’s been shown over and over that when you make vaping less viable, more people revert to the much more dangerous habit of smoking. If they took the time to genuinely understand why vaping is so important, they wouldn’t be so quick to pass a bill whose primary goal is to “minimize sales considerably.” They’re playing right into the hand of tobacco companies. That’s why it’s so important that we spread the positive information on vaping to those in our lives who need to hear it.
Why do you think e-liquid flavor bans are becoming so prevalent? What’s the most important thing to keep in mind about the value of vaping? Do you think that flavor bans are a big deal or not? 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.