Vapers in Buffalo took to the streets recently to rally against an upcoming flavor ban pushed in the Empire State.
Tensions over the vaping industry have only risen since they first hit the scene over ten years ago. The debate over their safety has been exacerbated by the rise in teenage vaping and its perceived impact on smoking rates. So while evidence indicates the advent of vaping has only sped up the drop in smoking, it’s done little to quell concern among parents and legislators. As such, controversial e-liquid flavor bans have become increasingly popular, with New York being one of the latest states to go this route. But vapers in New York aren’t taking it without a fight, as a group of advocates recently protested the creeping regulation in downtown Buffalo.
A similar ban is looking increasingly likely on a federal level, as the FDA continues their fight against what they call a teenage vaping “epidemic.” They worry non-smoking students are picking up vapes and getting addicted to nicotine before eventually switching over to combustible cigarettes. Supporters of vaping point to the glaring lack of evidence supporting these concerns, while providing examples of independent peer-reviewed evidence which indicates vaping is a massively useful harm reduction and smoking cessation tool.
Late last week a group of vaping advocates met in downtown Buffalo to protest a new piece of legislation which would ban the sale of flavored e-liquids in stores across the state. While falling short of being an outright ban, the law ensures most retailers won’t be able to accommodate the requirements and specialty adult-only stores will likely become the only places to get flavored e-liquids in person. Now that the New York Senate Health Committee passed to ban last week, the entire Senate will be able to vote on the measure as early as this week. With a strongly Democrat-controlled state government, the controversial regulation is expected to easily pass whenever it is put to a final vote.
While critics remain skeptical over the impact of accepting vaping on teens, protesters believe the government would only be making things worse by passing the flavor ban. Brian Ellis, the Vice President of Yeti Vape stores, explained their stance. “Stopping flavored vape will actually go ahead and limit the availability of product to consenting adults. So, ultimately, by taking that product away, you’re now taking 92% of the products that we would have away from consenting adults.” Researchers are still undecided on the full impact of e-cigarettes, but there is a growing pile of evidence which strongly suggests they are an invaluable tool.
Research On Vaping
Taking a more in-depth look at the research on vaping and a clear picture of their harm reduction and smoking cessation value begins to emerge. Starting with the most common reason against acceptance of vaping, the impact on teens, we have a report of over 60,000 students from Action on Smoking on Health which concluded only between 0.1% and 0.5% of non-smoking teens are ever picking up a vape more than once or twice. A far cry from the supposed generation of non-smokers eventually led to a life of smoking. A report conducted by researchers at the University of Louisville may have some insight into why. The team wanted to better understand which are the most successful of the common smoking cessation tools. After collecting their data they quickly concluded that not only is vaping effective at helping quit, but it’s actually more likely to succeed than anything else.
The case is even stronger for the harm reduction value of vaporizers, with evidence going back years now. It was back in 2015 that Public Health England first published a comprehensive report which concluded e-cigarettes are at least 95% safer than smoking cigarettes. Over the last four years, researchers from around the world have continued to find similar figures, with a team reporting back in December that vapor contains about 93% fewer toxicants than cigarettes smoke. Finally, it seems the harm reduction value extends to cancer risk, as a report published in the Journal of Aerosol Sciences concluded the excess lifetime cancer risk of vapers is about 57,000 times lower than demographically similar smokers.
The imminent threat of a flavor ban is a significant issue for the vaping industry. If passed nationally, not only would it be a severe inconvenience to vapers around the country, but it could actually work against its intended goals. A report by Dr. John Buckell of Yale University found that if flavor bans are passed it could increase Big Tobacco sales, as some vapers revert without their preferred options. Further, he concluded if flavors were left alone, but menthol cigarettes were instead banned, it would decrease Big Tobacco sales by about 10% in just a year. With smoking still killing more people every year than anything else we can easily prevent, it’s as important as ever to find and utilize the best harm reduction and smoking cessation tools available, which has to include vaping. That’s why it’s so great to see vapers in Buffalo take to the streets to show politicians we won’t let our vaping rights get taken away without a fight.
Have you ever protested for vaping rights? Do you think this type of advocacy will help us educate people about the benefits of vaping? What do you think is the best way to protect vaping moving forward? 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.