Why An Important Institution Is Finally Breaking Their Silence On Vaping
The American Association of Pediatrics finally has something to say about e-cigarettes; unfortunately, it’s nothing good for the vaping community
Vaping continues to be an ample source of debate between public health officials, legislators, and parents. As soon as it became a national phenomenon, arguments over how and when to regulate e-cigarettes have gone back and forth with little sign of ending in sight. Supporters point to the growing pile of evidence which suggests not only is vaping much safer than smoking, but it’s also an incredibly powerful smoking cessation tool. Those opposed to vaping disregard these reports and instead raise concerns over the impact acceptance of vaping is having on our youth.
Things have only gotten worse recently as the American Academy of Pediatrics recently came out against vaping for the first time. In a recent press release, the AAP called on the FDA to implement a series of strict regulations aimed at preventing teenage usage. Unfortunately, research indicates the impact of such regulations would be much more harmful than institutions like the AAP seem aware.
The AAP’s Perspective
Most Americans are familiar with the American Association of Pediatrics these days, but it actually started as a group of private pediatricians addressing the poor state of healthcare for children during the early 1900s. These days they remain one of the most influential and respected institutions when it comes to child health care, and as such this latest announcement is making waves. They first want the FDA to raise the national age of purchasing e-cigarettes up to 21 from 18 where it currently stands. Compared to what the other regulations they want implemented, this is actually fairly reasonable. There’s plenty of evidence which suggests raising the drinking age from 18 to 21 significantly decreased access by minors since it’s much less likely a minor is friends with someone over 21.
The real glaring problem with these suggestions is the last two proposals, which take things much too far. For starters, they want a total ban on all e-liquid flavors that aren’t tobacco, which thanks to the FDA already pushing for this, could become a reality sooner rather than later. This would be a mistake, as research from Yale University indicates the type of flavor ban suggested could actually work against their intended goals. Lastly, and probably most damaging, the AAP believes the FDA should pass a total ban on online sales. They say this is the best way to ensure only legal adults are purchasing vapes, but what it would really do is drive tons of former smokers back to cigarettes without easy access to their preferred and necessary supplies. In fact, most legitimate stores already have several checks in place to make sure only real adults are buying their products, so this suggestion would just limit legal access.
What We Know About Vaping
Making matters worse is the growing pile of evidence we have in support of vaping. Going back to 2015, we got our first large scale report which concluded vaping is at least 95% safer than smoking thanks to Public Health England. At the time this figure was huge news, but these days it seems like every month we have a new report which finds a similar level of harm reduction. In fact, a study published at the end of last year found e-cigarette vapor contains about 93% fewer toxicants than cigarette smoke. But to truly understand what’s at stake, consider the report which concluded the excess lifetime cancer risk of a vaper is around 57,000 times lower than a smoker from a similar background.
Looking past the harm reduction and it’s still clear how much vaping has to offer. The teenage vaping epidemic, which is almost always used as justification for creeping e-cigarette bans and taxes, seems to be overblown according to a poll of over 60,000 students. The report by Action on Smoking and Health found that only between 0.1% and 0.5% of non-smoking teens are ever picking up vaping regularly. Meaning even less are ever even trying a cigarette, let alone ending up a lifetime smoker. To top things off, we have reason to believe vaping is the best smoking cessation tool we currently have at our disposal, as a report concluded it’s more likely to succeed than even prescription drugs.
2019 is indeed shaping up to be a “make or break” year for the vaping industry. Increased heat from the FDA and others is leading to calls like these from the American Association of Pediatrics. But that doesn’t mean we’re out of time yet. We must work harder now than ever to support all the positive information we have on vaping, and help teach those smokers around us what’s at stake. Smoking still kills more people every year than anything else we could easily stop. That’s why it’s so important we support the harm reduction and smoking cessation value of vaping before it’s too late.
Are you worried the AAP’s suggestions will speed up the flavor ban process? Should we be worried about how many institutions seem hell-bent against vaping? What’s the best way to teach others about 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.