From the start, vaping has been a popular aid to help people stop smoking cigarettes. For many, the long term health statistics are frightening when looking at cigarettes smoking. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, (CDC), reports that Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the United States.
The US government’s tactic is to reduce smoking rates of the adult population by the year 2020. However, this is primarily through implementing more regulations and higher taxes for those who smoke. Because these regulations include vaping products they are in fact prolonging this health epidemic. Furthermore, by not providing effective alternatives for harm reduction the root of this problem is not being addressed.
The UK has acknowledged the fact that the decrease of smoking is directly linked to the rise in vaping and has therefore endorsed it as smoking cessation tools. If the US would do the same this current health epidemic can start being reversed. If you look at reports from the State of Michigan and the CDC several trends become clear.
- In the midwestern states, the percentage of smokers of cigarettes remain above national average.
- According to MDHHS, almost two-thirds of smokers have tried to quit at some point.
- The percentage of cigarette smokers in Michigan is above the national average.
- The national average of 17.5% with Kentucky had the highest percentage at 25.9 and Utah was the lowest at 9.1%.
- An estimated 20.7% of Michigan adults smoked cigarettes in 2015
- Cigarette sales in Michigan peaked in 1981, at an estimated 1.4 billion packs. By 2015, sales had plummeted to approximately 440 million packs.
- The number of smokers has dropped a significant 11% from 2012 to 2015.
Adults age 25 to 34 are the most likely to smoke cigarettes, and senior citizens are the least likely. Latest data released by the CDC their research smoking rates amongst high school students were cut in half in only five years, between 2011 to 2016. The cause of this trend is without a doubt the use of vaping. Furthermore, each report mentions the fact that many are replacing smoking with vaping.
Consequently, the biggest danger of classifying vaping the same as cigarettes is that the CDC links smoking to 40 percent of all cancer cases, and 30 percent of deaths caused by cancer. Vaping products, which are known to be at least 95% safer than tobacco cigarettes, are treated just as the combustible counterparts. Therefore, whatever tax tobacco cigarettes are subjected to, so are vaping products. The taxes shouldn’t be the same and needs to reflect the harm reduction benefits those who vape are provided over smoking.
However, both the number of smokers and the rates of lung cancer are on the decline, partly thanks to the advent of vaping in Michigan. The state treasury officials have also attributed this impressive decline to the growing number of smokers switching to vaping. This is highlighted in their 2015 tobacco tax revenues report.
Now, let us look at new data by the CDC that is showing a surprising new trend. Smoking rates amongst high school students show a 50% reduction in only five years, between 2011 to 2016. Most noteworthy is that fact in 2016 smoking in that same period also dropped, from 9.3% to 8.0%. This shows strong downward trends of teens that smoke cigarettes.
Michigan, like many other states in Midwest, have a higher number of cigarette smokers. A number not reported is the second-hand smoke exposure to others from these smokers. On the other hand, this is not a cause for concern for those who vape. There is no chance for second-hand exposure or harmful health issues to face. For many, this can also be an incentive to quit smoking and make the switch to vaping.
Fortunately, the number of smokers and the rates of lung cancer are on the decline, thanks to the invention of electronic cigarettes or vaping. Cigarette smoking also increases the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes and a long list of other cancers. The reduction in harm to those who switch is significant. This alone should be enough to encourage the smoking population to make the switch.
Sadly, there has been a lot of false information and regulatory happy leaders who feel they know best for others. They ignore science and trends for those who really need help breaking a bad habit like cigarette smoking. Those in the UK and even in surprising places like Michigan are seeing how vaping can help lower rates of cigarette smoking.
Difficulty in accessing and at a similar price to its harmful counterpart, those who vape for health reasons struggle to do what is right. According to that State of Michigan, almost two-thirds of smokers have tried to quit at some point. There needs to be effective assistance for those who want to quit smoking. Those who vape are using the most successful method to make the change permanent. Making this switch is not as easy as it could be.
Adults in low-income households are three times more likely to smoke than households with an income of $75,000 or more. Surveys of those living in Michigan also show that smokers are more likely to be disabled (27% vs. 19% for non-disabled adults). If smoking cigarettes are cheaper or easier to access for these groups it is likely they will not vape. This is a concern for many health professionals who are working to make a difference and educate the public on harm reduction.
Good job to those in Michigan who are reversing a trend that started in the 80’s. They are seeing a less harmful delivery method to get nicotine changing the numbers. It is certain that if vaping were more accessible and cheaper there would be more people using it excessively. Despite these compelling reasons to vape we still must demand fair treatment. More importantly, we must voice the need to reverse the regulations for those who vape. Choosing a less harmful method shouldn’t be meet with roadblocks.
We can do more to stop the leading cause of preventable disease and death. It is important that the decrease in smoking rates is a direct result of the rise in vaping. We should be endorsing it as a smoking cessation tools and encouraged its use. This current health epidemic in the US shouldn’t be happening. If they adopted more vape friendly regulations, this could be a page in our history books instead of an ongoing saga.