Despite the evidence showing that many smokers have been able to kick that deadly habit by switching to vaping, many anti-tobacco organizations are convinced that e-cigarettes and vaping are causing more harm than good. With no real evidence to support their ideas, anti-vapers sometimes resort to extreme measures to find reasons to restrict adults’ access to vaping supplies. One of the latest attempts to condemn vaping was orchestrated by a British health organization that has been able to use their findings to bring about changes to British vaping law.
In the United States, opponents of vaping most often focus on the potential dangers of e-liquid vapor to children. The assertion that “tobacco companies” are using flavors to lure children and teenagers into vaping has been used quite successfully by anti-vapers to get restrictive legislation passed on both the federal level and in many states. Even though many of these anti-vapers clearly don’t know what they’re talking about (tobacco companies represent only a miniscule portion of the companies that are in the vaping industry); scare tactics and moralizing go a long way.
In Britain, it is widely accepted that vaping is a safer alternative to smoking, especially since the Royal College of Physicians declared that vaping is approximately 95% less harmful than smoking combustible cigarettes. The country does not seem to be out on the same limb as American in worrying about children being led to smoking by way of bubble gum and candy flavors, but another concern was brought up by the Royal Society for Public Health: Are non-smokers taking up vaping as a hobby? An undercover investigation was launched by RSPH and the conclusion reached was that many vape shops “are willing” to sell e-cigarettes and e-liquid to non-smokers.
The investigation involved undercover “agents” going into vape shops to purchase personal vaporizers or other e-cigarette and vaping products. It was discovered that at about half of the shops involved, the employees did not ask the customers questions about their smoking habits, and those who did ask were told by the undercover customers that they don’t smoke. Apparently, no vape shop employee refused to sell anything to either customers who said they are not smokers nor to customers who were not asked questions about their smoking. Because of this, RSPH accused vape shops of not honoring a “code of conduct” that supposedly exists.
Critics of the RSPH investigation say that there is no such code of conduct, and the entire exercise was a publicity stunt. Nevertheless, the investigation played a part in the new British vaping laws that are set to go into effect on May 20. Among other things, bottles of e-liquid that contain over 10 ml will be banned, as will refillable tanks that hold more 2 ml of liquid. Nicotine content will also be limited to 20 ml/mg.
Between America’s overzealous concerns about children, and now, Britain’s even more misguided concerns about non-smoking adults who should be free to make their own choices, adult smokers are increasingly being put in a position of difficulty in trying to find available and affordable smoking alternatives. The changes to British law will undoubtedly make prices go up for vape manufacturers and retailers, which could lead to higher prices for customers. Though Britain leads America, and perhaps most of the world, in having a common sense and health-positive attitude about vaping, the RSPH operation was an unnecessary, pointless exercise worthy of the most wrong-headed vaping opponents.