How Allowing Public Vaping Could Foster Healthier Lives
A committee in the UK Parliament recently endorsed an end to the public vaping ban, citing how bans undermine the value of e-cigarettes
Vaping bans have become a reality for vapers across the globe. In the early days, vapers were allowed to vape almost anywhere, but as legislators grew worried about the perceived risks of vaping, harsh regulations became commonplace. They did this despite a lack of information linking vaping with damage, especially in regards to second-hand vapor. The result is now public vaping is banned nearly everywhere, even in e-cigarette friendly places like the UK.
Like most countries, vaping in the UK has been banned in most public spaces, including buses, trains, office buildings, and restaurants. Luckily, this may soon be coming to an end, as the Science and Technology Committee recently recommended that Parliament reconsider their public vaping bans. While it may sound like a controversial topic to many, according to the committee, these bans are ultimately doing more harm than good.
The Committee’s Recommendation
According to their own website, the Science and Technology Committee’s role is to ensure the UK’s policymakers are using the best available scientific and engineering information to make their decisions. In this case, they believe there is a dire need for more discussion about precisely how to deal with public vaping. They think that in regards to this concern, the government has been far too willing to merely equate vaping and smoking when dealing with regulation. Their main view is that it’s up to the government to do everything they can to ensure they have the most up to date information. To this end, they recommend the government continues their annual “evidence review,” while also starting an ongoing research program aimed at producing long-term research.
Another significant concern of the committee is the number of vapers, most of which are former smokers, who are currently forced to share permitted-use space with smokers. They are worried that by forcing these vapers to share space with people smoking, they’re ultimately putting former smokers at a much-increased risk of relapsing. After all, you wouldn’t force someone struggling with drinking to enjoy their chosen replacement in a bar, so why are we doing that to vapers?
This is especially true for those individuals dealing with mental health challenges. Not only are these type of people the most likely to be smokers, but they also have the hardest time quitting. That’s why the committee suggests that in these cases, patients should be allowed to vape inside, as opposed to being forced outside and exposed to traditional tobacco smoke.
The Science and Technology Committee is also suggesting changes to the way in which vaping is taxed. Currently, vaping and smoking are subject to virtually the same level of taxes, which only gives smokers one less reason to attempt a switch. That’s why they recommend a tiered tax system in which cigarettes are at the high end, vaping is at the low end, and heat-not-burn devices are somewhere in the middle. They believe that taxes ought to “directly correspond to the health risks that they present.”
We’ve got plenty of evidence pointing to the significantly reduced danger of vaping compared with smoking, and it’s only getting stronger all the time. Last fall research published in the Journal of Aerosol science concluded that the lifetime excess cancer risk of a vaper is around 57,000 times lower than that of a similar smoker. Not only that but a different study concluded that vaping is also the best smoking cessation tool we have, more likely to lead to success than even prescription quit aids.
Smoking is one of the worst things you can possibly do for your long-term health. At the same time, vaping has been shown not only to be at least 95% safer than smoking but also the best smoking cessation tool we have at our disposal. With that being the case, it’s vital we keep in mind that they should be treated differently. By merely equating vaping and smoking, legislators are only making it less likely that a smoker will ever give vaping a try. What’s worse is that even those who have successfully quit are always at risk of relapse, thanks to being forced into the same outdoor areas as smokers. The truth is that if we ever hope to live in a world that is free from smoking, we need to be supporting our best tools, not undermining them. After all, we don’t force other types of recovering addicts into small areas with their old vice. So we shouldn’t be doing it to vapers either.
Do you think it’s a good idea for the UK to lift their public vaping ban, if not why? What do you think is the biggest problem with the way we currently regulate vaping? How should we help spread the real facts on 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.