Even on slow news days, there’s no shortage of people claiming war on something. Drugs, cancer, women, the middle class – there are always groups fighting for or against something. Many fights come with finger pointing, judging, zero-tolerance mandates and black and white justice, throwing sensible thought and rational debate out with the baby and the bathwater.
Are Vaping Regulations the Next Big Fight?
The latest war appears to be against the vaping industry. Of course, there are lots of people out there fighting for e-cigarettes, but the people getting press these days are the anti-vaping folks who are – to put it politely – overreacting to electronic cigarettes. But as with many fights, the side with the most money and power tends to win. How is this battle going to shake out?
Battle of the Vape Bans
Cities and municipalities across the country are having knee-jerk reactions to a handful of flawed e-cig safety studies and screaming from well-meaning but ignorant anti-tobacco zealots.
This Japanese e-cig safety study has gotten a lot of alarming press lately, despite the fact that nobody has actually seen the “study.” When ignorance and irresponsible journalism mix, we all lose. E-cigs are now being lumped in with combustible tobacco cigarettes and are being banned in public places in states like California, Maryland and Kentucky.
But Vaping Looks Like Smoking!
Many vaping opponents feel that the simple act of inhaling and exhaling something that looks like smoke makes it tobacco smoking and, therefore, normalizes tobacco smoking again.
One of the highly debated benefits of e-cigarettes is that they don’t contain the thousands of harmful chemicals found in cigarette tobacco that are inhaled by the both the smoker and bystanders through secondhand smoke. But using an e-cigarette kind of looks like smoking, so it must be bad, right? Wrong. It’s not smoking. People are just going to have to get used to it.
We Just Don’t Know About E-Cig Safety
You’ve heard the clichés. Pick your favorite:
- The vaping industry is like the Wild, Wild West.
- E-cigs are dangerous and companies are trying to lure kids with sweet flavors.
- The vaping industry is just trying to keep people addicted to cigarettes.
- Vaping is a gateway to smoking.
- Big Tobacco owns all vape companies. (They absolutely do not, just in case you were wondering.)
With so many opinions and agendas, the debate about the safety of e-cigarettes isn’t going to end any time soon. And although e-cig opponents come from all corners of the world, they all seem to agree on one thing: We just don’t know. Even though the e-cig industry is reaching the end of its first decade, e-cig safety concerns still have tons of people saddling up their high horses.
Nobody can connect the dots between e-cigarettes and illnesses – not that they haven’t tried, but they just can’t. Vaping studies are being done, some results are being creatively interpreted – at least according to the scientists behind this EU study – and nobody trusts anyone so everyone seems to think that saying, “We just don’t know,” is the perfect excuse for a vaping ban.
But What About the Children? They Love Flavored E-Cigs!
When was the last time you heard of a public official banning childhood hunger? How about the last time you heard anyone saying that they wanted to give up more of their tax dollars to local schools? Or when was the last time you read about a mad rush to adopt the thousands and thousands of at-risk children in foster care in every single state in this country?
Yeah. All of this pearl clutching about the young kids getting their hands on cotton candy flavored e-cigarettes rings a little hollow. First, vape companies do not want kids using their products. Seriously. They don’t. We even have a partnership with LexisNexis® to prevent anyone under the age of 21 to order from our website.
Second, adults love our sweet vape flavors. We love fruit and candy and all kinds of other things that kids happen to also like. (Studies have shown that all adults used to be children. It’s a fact. You can look it up.)
Related: Who Says Flavors Are For Kids?
E-Cig Support from Congress? What?
It’s going to get worse before it gets better. There are too many groups with a horse in the e-cigarette regulation race. But one thing we didn’t see coming: Congressional support for responsible e-cig regulation.
This month it was reported that House Leader John Boehner is leading an initiative to keep the FDA from placing harsh e-cig regulations. He and other members of Congress seem to understand that there is no such thing as Big E-cig, and that expensive e-cig regulations would only benefit the very real Big Tobacco. While e-cig users come in all shapes, sizes and political affiliations, the industry needs this type of support, no matter what side of the political aisle it comes from.
Will Common Sense Win the Vaping Regulations Battle?
The media can continue to fear-monger about e-cig concerns while real, actual people responsibly enjoy the benefits of e-cigs. Vapers agree that children have no business around nicotine and that e-cigarette e-liquid should be kept out of harm’s way. Not many vapers are going to roll up to the maternity ward of a hospital using their e-cigarette, puffing away. Ditto for airline gates, school lunch lines and churches.
So who will win this next big fight over e-cig regulation? Call us dreamers, but we’re confident we will win. We may not have the big guns that our opponents have, but we do have science, rational thought and common sense on our side – not to mention a devoted, informed and passionate community of vapers.