Another Misguided Regulation Threatens Vaping Industry

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According to reports, Texas may soon become the latest state to raise the minimum vaping age to 21.

The battle over how to regulate vaping has begun to reach a boiling point. Experts believe this could be a “make or break” year for the industry, especially given the mounting pressure from the FDA. The continued pressure has created an environment where polls indicate only around 13% of adults understand how much safer vaping is than smoking. What’s worse, nearly twice as many people believe vaping is just as, if not more dangerous. The caution over vaping was understandable when we didn’t know much about their impact. However, these days we have plenty of peer-reviewed evidence, and yet many legislators still choose to equate vaping and smoking at every turn. That’s precisely what’s happening now in Texas, where state legislators are ready to raise the vaping age to 21 alongside smoking.

There were mixed reactions to the news that yet another state is going this misguided route. Vapers blasted the move for succumbing to unfounded fears and seemingly not taking into account the growing pile of evidence supporting the substantial value of vaping. However, anti-vapers and many state public health officials defended the move, in spite of any benefit provided young adult smokers looking to quit. We’ll have to wait and see what comes out of this latest law change, but many experts are concerned these moves could start becoming more common than they already are.

Misguided Change

The idea of raising the smoking and vaping rate to 21 has been being floated by the Texas legislature for some time now. But just earlier this week a final draft of just this kind of bill finally made its way across the desk of Governor Greg Abbott. There wasn’t much controversy, with just a few minor changes suggested by the House and passed by the Senate. Experts believe the bill becoming law is basically a foregone conclusion at this point, with the move officially raising the minimum age to purchase, possess, or use a vaporizer from 18 to 21. The law would also require most offenders to pay a $100 fine. There was a small win for the vaping community, however, in that service members have been exempt from the law.

Texas will become the 16th state to make the same change, a trend that has some experts concerned a lot more are just over the horizon. While laws like these are sold to the public as perfectly reasonable, and only about protecting the youth. The truth is that by equating vaping and smoking in such explicit ways, you’re making it much harder for smokers to understand the genuine benefits of vaping over smoking. Vaping may not be 100% harmless, but plenty of research proves there’s no question which is more deadly.

The Evidence

We have a growing pile of peer-reviewed evidence which makes it abundantly clear vaping is much safer than smoking. In fact, back in 2015, we got our first large scale report which concluded vaping is at least 95% safer than smoking thanks to Public Health England. While that was one of the first significant reports, these days we get similar results quite often. In fact, at the end of last year, we got a report which concluded the toxicants in vapor are 93% lower than in cigarette smoke. But easily the most impressive piece of evidence we have for the harm reduction value of vaping is the report from the Journal of Aerosol Sciences which concluded the excess lifetime cancer risk of a vaper is approximately 57,000 times lower than a smoker with a similar background.

We also have plenty of research which supports the smoking cessation value of e-cigarettes. A report by researchers at the University of Louisville tested all the most common smoking cessation tools and methods to determine the most likely to succeed. After the team collected all the data, they reached some interesting conclusions. However, most importantly, they concluded not only is vaping a useful smoking cessation tool, but it’s actually more likely to be effective than anything else. We even have a massive report of over 60,000 students from Action on Smoking and Health, which concludes the teenage vaping “epidemic” is being overblown. In fact, they found only as few as 0.1% of non-smoking teens are ever picking up a vaporizer more than a couple times.

Implications

It’s never been more critical than now to continue fighting for our vaping rights. The more states who choose to equate vaping and smoking, the harder it will be ever to improve the public perception of e-cigarettes. If smokers don’t understand why making a switch is valuable, they don’t have much incentive even to try. So if we ever want to rid the world of smoking, we simply must support vaping instead of allowing our legislators to continue to undermine it.

Do you think a lot more states are going to follow suit? Does it matter if people equate vaping and smoking? How should we work to show others the value of e-cigarettes? 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.

Dustin has been vaping for almost a decade. He found e-cigarettes in 2008 and quickly became drawn to them as an early adopter. He's been writing reviews ever since and has established himself as a well-versed authority on the subject.

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