The latest anti-vaping proposal in Congress could mean the end of vaping as we know it.
Concerns over the vaping industry are nothing new, but it seems that legislators and parents are getting more and more anxious as time goes by. In just over ten years, modern vaping has gone from a total unknown to an incredibly influential and profitable industry, mainly thanks to their extreme harm reduction ability. The result is a tumultuous environment where both sides feel there is more than enough reason to fully back their side. Those against e-cigarettes believe acceptance of vaping is directly leading to a new generation of cigarette smokers, as teens who pick up vaping eventually make the switch. At the same time, vaping supporters point to a growing pile of peer-reviewed evidence as proof e-cigarettes should be supported and included in our existent smoking cessation programs.
That said, legislators in the US are still hard at work to reign in vaping. In fact, another misguided proposal is currently being discussed, one which threatens the very future of e-cigarettes. As you can imagine, both sides of the debate had vastly different responses to this latest proposal. We won’t know what comes of this latest bill for some time, but many experts agree that how we handle these proposals could set the tone for the vaping industry moving forward.
Congress is currently grappling with several different anti-vaping proposals, all with varying levels of severity. However, the most notable of these bills is a proposal called the Reversing the Youth Tobacco Epidemic Act of 2019 or RYTEA. Representatives Donna Shalala (D-Fla) and Frank Pallone (D-NJ) co-authored the bill which has become quite popular among the anti-vaping lobby. The primary purpose of the law is to reduce the amount of teenage vaping via several aimed regulations. The most vital of these changes is raising the minimum age to buy tobacco and vaping products from 18 to 21. Perhaps even more importantly, the bill would also prevent anyone from buying vaping products online, regardless of age.
Other portions of the bill seek to reduce the impact of e-liquid flavors by removing them from all stores, including in person. Many in the vaping community feel this part of the proposal goes entirely too far, presuming sweet flavors are only meant to attract teens. Not only that, but anti-vapers are up in arms over another provision of the bill which would put aside $100 million for the FDA to use in their general funds, meaning they can use it for whatever they please. There are other, less damning, bills currently in the pipeline. For instance, Senator Mitch McConnell proposed a similar bill which would still raise the minimum age to 21, but forgo the other less popular portions of the RYTEA. Regardless, this means even if the most damaging proposal doesn’t pass, we will almost certainly face new nationwide regulations soon.
It seems that our legislators can’t bother themselves to look at the independent evidence very long. If they had, there’s very little chance they would be so hell-bent on restricting the vaping industry. For starters we’ve known since 2015 that vaping is at least 95% safer than smoking thanks to a report by Public Health England. At the time that report made massive waves, but these days we find this level of harm reduction quite often. For instance, just a few months back we got another report which found e-liquid vapor has about 93% fewer toxicants than cigarette smoke. But to truly understand what’s at stake, consider the report from the Journal of Aerosol Sciences which found the excess lifetime cancer risk of a smoker is about 57,000 times higher than a vaper from a similar background.
Looking past the general harm reduction and you find a ton of more specific reasons to love vaping. We know that vaping is likely one of, if not the best, smoking cessation tools we have at our disposal thanks to a report from the University of Louisville. The researchers tested all the most common smoking cessation methods and tools before determining it is actually vaping which is more likely to succeed than anything else. Finally, consider the report by Action on Smoking and Health which strongly suggests the teenage vaping “epidemic” is being overblown. In fact, after interviewing over 60,000 teens, they concluded only between 0.1% and 0.5% of non-smoking teens are ever picking up a vaporizer regularly, let alone making the jump to cigarettes.
Given all the anti-vaping proposals currently in Congress, it seems that 2019 really is a make or break year for the vaping industry. As such, we must use the time we have left to spread positive information about vaping to those around us. Simply put, if more people understood what’s at stake by not making the switch, it would be a lot harder for legislators to deal a massive blow like this. At the end of the day, improving public perception of vaping is the best thing we can do to ensure our vaping rights into the future.
Are you worried about these latest proposals? What do you think is the most critical part of vaping? What’s the best way to teach others about the value of vaping? 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.