Vaping legislation proposals are an epidemic across the globe. Yet, how many of these suggested legislative restrictions are based on science, how many are based on fear, and how may come down to money? Honestly, we can never truly know the motives of other people, but there are clues that offer enough insight to make an educated guess.
From the formaldehyde freak out to the diacetyl drama, the media seems to love highlighting any possibility of danger in vaping. Even though both of these issues have been proven to be invalid in real life vaping situations, the media is still touting these as the basis of impending doom that is electronic cigarettes. Each of these articles cries out for vaping legislation at the minimum, and banning all access to vaping as the ultimate goal. Politicians are chomping at the bit for the opportunity to either ban vaping or put vaping legislation into place that allows them to collect exorbitant taxes on all vapor products. Meanwhile the FDA and scientists are crying out for more studies and surveys to determine the potential benefits and risks of this innovative product. So, why are there so many conflicting views? While I cannot give you a definitive answer to that question, I can absolutely share my opinion with you. In my opinion, these are the answers:
- News Drama – Sex and Death sell, good news doesn’t. An article proclaiming the new found device that could abolish cigarette smoking forever would not draw nearly as many subscribers as a headline like E-Liquid, Selling Poison by the Barrel. The media has become an entity that is more focused on ratings and income than telling the truth about what’s going on in the world.
- Politician Cries for Vaping Legislation – This all comes down to the money. Most politicians receive campaign financing from either big tobacco or big pharmaceutical companies. Both of which are being financially effected by the vaping movement. So, naturally there’s pressure from their donors. However, there is also a direct hit to their budget pocket books. By decreasing the number of people buying cigarettes, we are decreasing the financial gain for states from the cigarette tax. Naturally the politicians can’t come straight out and say they want to eliminate something that could potentially save hundreds of thousands of lives, so instead they preach about children and unknown dangers to justify adding a vapor tax. In reality, the vapor taxes are just to keep their pockets lined with money.
- FDA & Scientists – It’s true, we don’t know the effects of ‘long term’ vaping, or what the possible hazards are from vaping for 20 years. We don’t know because the product hasn’t been available mass market for that long. What we do know, and what has been shown in the studies done to date is vaping is significantly less hazardous than smoking. Not only to the user, but to those around the users. There has been no evidence of any danger in second hand vapor, unlike second hand smoke that kills. While I agree that more studies need to be done, it should be noted that the studies to date show this to be a revolutionary possibility. Even if vaping is only as effective for quitting tobacco cigarettes as other nicotine replacement therapies (which is highly unlikely, anecdotal evidence suggests the quit success rate is significantly higher with vaping) the fact that it’s reaching such a wide audience still means tens of thousands of lives saved that would otherwise have continued to smoke cigarettes.
Bottom line, while the motivations may be different, the end result is the same. Anyone who’s only information about vaping and e-cigarettes comes from the news and their ‘public health experts’ will be terrified of this deadly contraption. While those of us who have experienced the life changing gift that is vaping are fighting to educate them about what vaping has done for us. Sadly, all we can do is keep fighting and educating those around us. Until the FDA makes a final ruling, and most likely even after that, there will be a public perception battle when it comes to electronic cigarettes.
What do you think we can do to change the public perception of vaping and e-cigarettes?