Anti-vaping activists take to the streets of NYC to protest against the popular vaporizer manufacturer.
Anti-vaping activists have been on a relentless crusade for nearly a decade now with their targeted harassment of members of the vaping community and the vaping industry at large. These activists have been misleading the general public by steadily spreading misinformation and outright lies, creating an imbalance in the public discourse surrounding vaping.
This week, dozens of anti-vaping activists protested outside the offices of Juul Labs in Manhattan. The activists claimed the goal of their protest was to call attention to the so-called teenage vaping “epidemic” myth, a cornerstone of their rhetoric.
Members of the vaping community have criticized the protest as fruitless, pointing to evidence contradicting the so-called epidemic and calling for more nuanced discussion surrounding vaping. Anti-vaping activists throughout the country have praised the move for drawing media attention to their cause and allowing them to have a larger platform than they otherwise may have.
Despite ever-emerging evidence pointing to vaping’s efficacy as a smoking cessation device, there are still repeated attempts by activists to group vaping with smoking. These repeated attempts continue to muddle the discourse surrounding vaping and make it harder for lawmakers to legislate effectively by making appeals to fear rather than fact.
Myth of Teen Vaping
Members of the lobbyist organization Parents Against Vaping protested outside the offices of Juul Labs, makers of the popular Juul vaporizer, in Manhattan this week. These activists claim they want the City Council to restrict the company from selling its flavored offerings, which activists claim lure children.
The lobbying organization is backing a bill sponsored by Councilman Mark Levine. The bill “would ban the sale of flavored e-cigarettes in New York City as a way to protect our kids,” according to Levine.
“There is a youth epidemic of vaping right now, and unless we ban the flavors, we’re going to see more and more kids addicted to nicotine,” claims Dorian Fuhrman, co-founder of the organization. Gregory Conley, renowned vaping advocate and president of the American Vaping Association, was also in attendance for the event, he stated: “The positive effects on adults overwhelmingly go over any negative effects for youth.”
The bill and protests have occurred despite aggressive, proactive self-regulation by Juul Labs over the last couple of years. Last year the company voluntarily pulled it’s flavored offerings from over 90,000 stores nationwide, despite sales of these products representing nearly half the company’s revenue.
Facts on Vaping
In spite of targeted harassment of Juul Labs by organizations such as Parents Against Vaping, Juul Labs has been at the forefront of proactive self-regulation within the vaping industry. Aside from voluntarily pulling its flavored offerings from retail outlets, Juul has also enacted a series of industry-leading standards to prevent its products from getting into the hands of minors.
Juul Labs has pledged to invest over $30 million to combat underage vaping. Initial investments distributed through the initiative will go to fund research on vaping, and the formation of a panel of independent experts to combat underage use of their products.
Aside from research into how to better prevent underage usage, Juul has also started a parental education campaign to prevent youth vaping. The campaign emphasizes its products contain nicotine, which is an addictive chemical, and the company’s mission statement to provide a reduced-risk alternative for the 1 billion smokers worldwide.
Parents Against Vaping continue to perpetuate the myth of a so-called teenage vaping “epidemic” to advance their narrative. To the contrary, a study published by Action on Smoking and Health that featured over 60,000 teenage participants found as little as between 0.1% and 0.5% of non-smoking teens ever try vaping more than a few times.
There is evidence emerging daily highlighting the efficacy of vaping as a smoking cessation aid and reduced-harm alternative to smoking. Sustained attacks by organizations such as Parents Against Vaping have muddled the discourse surrounding vaping and created a negative association among members of the general public.
Without a balanced discussion surrounding vaping, lawmakers across the globe may propose legislation without looking at the full spectrum of evidence available. This may lead to hastily enacted bans and restrictions on adult smokers looking for a reduced-risk alternative to tobacco.
Members of the vaping community need to speak out against protests, such as those by Parents Against Vaping, and present the facts regarding vaping to help balance the discussion surrounding it. The vaping community must also remain vigilant in holding lawmakers responsible for irresponsible legislation which may restrict their rights and freedoms.
How do you feel about organizations and protests that target vaping? Do you believe there is an imbalance in the narrative surrounding vaping? Do you believe there is such a thing as a teenage vaping epidemic? Feel free to let us know in the comments below. Be sure to like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and check back here for all the latest news regarding vaping.
(Image Credit – Pixabay – https://pixabay.com/images/id-102919/)