The Philippines Department of Health recently decided to ban vaping in the same places as smoking
Vaping has only been around for the last 15 years, but it seems like the debate over their value has been going on forever. Despite not having much evidence in the early days, we now have a growing pile of evidence which suggests e-cigarettes are an invaluable harm reduction and smoking cessation tool.
Regardless, many legislators around the world have continued to be skeptical of the broader impact of vaping, and in most cases chosen to regulate vaping and smoking by the same set of rules. The Philippines recently became the latest place to do this when the Department of Health announced a plan to ban vaping anywhere smoking is prohibited.
Vaping advocates have blasted the decision for making it harder for vapers to keep using a proven safer alternative to smoking, while simultaneously forcing former smokers into close quarters with people actively smoking.
Only time will tell if this new ban has a more substantial impact on society, but it’s disheartening to see so many governments opt for this woefully misguided logic.
New Vaping Ban
It was just last week when the Philippines Department of Health announced an upcoming ban on vaping in all public places where smoking is currently banned. The law will have local governments in charge of stopping violators, as well as helping decide how to punish them.
This new law comes only two years after the Philippines decided to ban the use of cigarettes in public places across the country. Ruining the hopes of many vapers who had believed they were one of the few countries to understand the distinct differences between vaping and smoking.
Coming on the heels of another severe blow for vapers in the country, Congress recently approved a bill which imposed sin taxes on vaping products sold there for the first time. Worryingly, the new fee is set to increase by 5% every year indefinitely.
While vaping advocates have done their best to fight back against these encroaching regulations, the government has remained resolute in the misguided plan. Eric Domingo, the Department of Health Undersecretary, said, “We will work together to prohibit the use of vapes and e-cigarettes in public, much like the prohibitions on tobacco and cigarettes in public.”
Why Vaping Matters
Despite what many legislators believe, vaping and smoking are very different and ought to be treated as such. For instance, a report from San Diego State University tested the air quality in various types of homes, including smoking allowed, no smoke or vapor, and those who allowed vaping, but not smoking. After collecting all their data, the team concluded that while cigarette smoke dramatically degrades the air quality over time, the results from vaping homes were nearly identical to that of non-smoking ones.
A report out of the Kaunas University of Technology may offer some insight into why this is. They concluded that while smoke particles are relatively large and stable, vaping particles are tiny and break down almost immediately. So instead of sticking to the environment, they’re gone after only a few minutes.
Looking at the overall harm reduction value, and you have a ton to love about vaping. Reports going back to 2015 by Public Health England concluded vaping is at least 95% safer than continued smoking. More recent studies out of Roswell Park Cancer Institute found the toxicants in vapor are around 93% lower than in cigarette smoke.
However, perhaps more important than any of that, we have much evidence which suggests the teenage vaping “epidemic” is being blown out of proportion. In fact, a study of over 60,000 teens concluded that only between 0.1% and 0.5% of non-smoking teens are ever picking up a vape more than a couple of times.
The battle over vaping may still be ongoing, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less important now than ever. In fact, the more countries who opt for restrictive laws like these, the worse off we’re going to be in the long run.
If we don’t work together and get more countries to understand and utilize the many harm reduction and smoking cessation benefits of e-cigarettes, the vaping world could be significantly altered before we know it.
That’s why the best thing we can do is share the positive research on vaping with those around us. The more people who understand what’s at stake, the harder it will be for misinformation to win the day.
How important is it for vaping to be treated differently than smoking? What’s the most valuable part of vaping for you? What’s the best thing we can do to support vaping? 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.