After being encouraged to push through a potential flavor ban, many in the vaping community are worried about what the repercussions are.
Vaping regulations have become an increasingly large part of being a vaper. When e-cigarettes first hit the scene over ten years ago, most legislators didn’t take long to make their final judgment about their value. Despite their apparent ability to help people off cigarettes, and the growing pile of independent research supporting their harm reduction value, many are still convinced acceptance of vaping will ultimately lead to more smokers. As a result, we’ve seen increasingly harsh regulations brought to the table, including most recently a ban on all e-liquid flavors except tobacco and menthol.
While this flavor ban always had lots of support from legislators, the recent announcement from FDA commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb about his upcoming resignation gave some vapers hope about the next leader’s position on vaping. Unfortunately, it now seems that the FDA may force through this flavor ban in the next month, so they can get it made into law before the current commissioner leaves office. This news has drawn immediate criticism from the vaping community, who argue forcing through such a ban without adequately understanding the consequences could make things worse, not better.
This unethical pursuit of regulation was spurred on by none other than New York Senator, Chuck Schumer, who recently called on Dr. Gottlieb to force through a flavor ban before he leaves office next month. The Senator reasons that with Dr. Gottlieb leaving the FDA, the flavor ban currently in the pipeline is in jeopardy. To support his concern, Schumer used some blatantly false rhetoric, such as indicating teenage tobacco usage is at the highest rate in years, and vaping is the culprit. In fact, while teenage vaping has increased significantly over the last ten years, the number of teens who are smoking has actually plummeted. The misleading data presented by Schumer can only account for a reversal in teenage tobacco use if vaping is considered a tobacco product, which it unequivocally is not, since it doesn’t contain any tobacco.
While Senator Schumer wants a ban on vaping flavors passed in the next few weeks, many are quick to point out the value vaping flavors provide to adults, something even Dr. Gottlieb has admitted is integral to their effectiveness as a harm reduction and smoking cessation tool. It’s unclear right now if Schumer’s request will be met, but many in the vaping community are getting anxious. If passed, this would be the single most significant change for vapers in America ever. Unfortunately, some experts believe flavor bans like the one pushed by the FDA and Sen. Schumer would actually make things worse, as vapers without access to their preferred products revert to smoking.
The Case For Vapes
So while Chuck Schumer is busy crusading against vapes, we’ve never had more reason to support e-cigarettes for their smoking cessation and harm reduction value. Despite concerns over non-smoking teens picking up vapes, large scale reports on the topic seem to paint a vastly different picture. In fact, a poll of over 60,000 teens concluded that only between 0.1% and 0.5% of non-smoking teens are ever picking up a vaporizer regularly. This means far fewer are becoming full-blown smokers purely due to vaping. It’s also been shown to be one of the most powerful smoking cessation tools ever created. A study out of the University of Louisville concluded that not only is vaping good at helping people quit, but it’s even more likely to work than anything else.
Things are even more evident when looking at the harm reduction value of e-cigarettes. Going back to 2015 we got a report from Public Health England which concluded vaping is at least 95% safer than smoking. But that’s far from all. In fact, over the last several years we’ve gotten repeated reports which find similar levels of harm reduction. Even just a few months back researchers published findings that tobacco smoke has about 93% more toxicants than e-liquid vapor. Finally, we have evidence that the excess lifetime cancer risk of a vaper is about 57,000 times lower than a demographically similar smoker.
We simply cannot let this go down without a fight. The potential flavor ban was already going to be a significant fight for the community, so we can’t let Dr. Gottlieb’s resignation be a reason to force something as crucial as this regulation through. Not only does it take away the right of the next Commissioner to decide the direction of his administration, but it would also give the next leader the ability to pass the blame off if things go as poorly as experts suggest they will. Legislators have already done everything in their power to bleed the vaping industry dry, and haphazardly passed flavor bans only exacerbate this problem considerably.
What do you think about the flavor ban getting forced through? What’s the most important thing to remember about vaping? How should we work to support vaping to those around us? 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.