Vaping May Soon Be More Restricted Nationwide Thanks To This Bipartisan Push
The main point of the proposal is to raise the smoking age across the country from 18 to 21.
It’s nothing new for many people to be skeptical about the full effects and long-term implications of modern vaporizers. Especially when it comes to protecting the youth, it’s vital we aren’t supporting something which ultimately makes things worse. That said, we now have a large pile of peer-reviewed and independent research which suggests not only is vaping a useful harm reduction tool, but it’s also a helpful smoking cessation tool as well. Unfortunately, not everyone is taking this evidence into account, and the result is a tumultuous environment where vaping is still quite vulnerable. In fact, a new proposal by bipartisan lawmakers could raise the vaping age to 21, once again limiting the value of e-cigarettes.
If passed, this would represent the most significant age restriction change since the drinking age was raised from 18 to 21 back in 1984. As you can imagine, both sides are incredibly invested in the battle. Those against vaporizers believe this is the right move to protect the youth, and supporters are worried inadequate explanation of the relative risks will lead to people seeing them as basically interchangeable. It’s unclear at this time if the proposal will make it into law, but regardless the fact we need to have this battle at all is proof positive the perception of vaping is still woefully deficient.
The proposal is called the SCOTT Act and was introduced by Representatives Juan Vargas (D-Ca) and Robert Aderholt (R-Ala). Standing for the Stopping Consumption of Tobacco by Teens, the Act was announced in a somewhat uncommon manner via a press release. The primary focus of the bill is to raise the vaping and smoking age to 21, but that isn’t the only part. The bipartisan nature of the proposal only increases anxiety from the vaping community, as this makes it much more likely to pass. Another controversial portion of their plan is the creation of a so-called regulatory framework. While they claim it’s necessary for institutions such as the FDA to carry out their job, many in the vaping community remain convinced this portion of the bill will only serve to give them the power to change anything they please without the need for a legitimate reason or evidence.
One of the most worrisome of these additional regulations is the ability it would give the FDA to alter vaping laws without oversight. Another would increase the standards for age verification both in-store and online. Making the entire situation all the more complicated is the recent resignation of FDA commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb. While many will only remember him for his crusade against vaping flavors, he did secure a massive victory for the industry when he delayed the deeming rules till 2022. As such, the next head of the FDA could potentially be less of a friend to vaping than even Dr. Gottlieb was.
It doesn’t take long to understand how much vaping has to offer us. It was all the way back in 2015 we got our first evidence from Public Health England that vaping is at least 95% safer than smoking. While that news made headlines at the time, these days we get these sorts of results all the time. A report published just a few months ago concluded cigarette smoke has about 93% more toxicants than e-liquid vapor. If that wasn’t enough, we also have a report which found the excess lifetime cancer risk of a vaper is about 57,000 times lower than a demographically similar smoker.
Taking a look past the general harm reduction and you still have plenty to love about vaping. We have reason to believe vaping is one of the most critical smoking cessation tools we have at our disposal. The team from the University of Louisville tested all the most common smoking cessation methods and aids before determining that vaping is even more likely to succeed than prescription drugs. However, for many, the most important reason to avoid vaping is the impact it has on the youth. Luckily we also have research showing that’s also overblown. A report of over 60,000 students concluded only between 0.1% and 0.5% of non-smoking teens are ever picking up a vaporizer, let alone cigarettes full-time.
It will always be extremely important we don’t put our teens into harm’s way. Especially when they don’t fully understand what’s at stake. However, we could do several other things first which would likely be more successful than simply raising the vaping age to 21. If someone is old enough to go to war and die for their country, why can’t they use something proven to be at least 95% safer than smoking? That’s why we must keep the fight alive. As long as so many people don’t understand what’s at stake, it will be very easy for misguided lawmakers to make things worse. But if we want to end the smoking epidemic once and for all, we really do need the help of modern vapes.
Do you think it will affect you if the minimum age is raised to 21? What is your favorite part about vaping? Do you think this bill is likely to pass? 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.