CEO of the National Association of Convenience Stores recently wrote an op-ed detailing how the FDA’s plan will make things worse.
The debate over vaping has been ongoing for over ten years now, but it often seems like things haven’t progressed at all. Most legislators continue to opt for restrictive policies which equate vaping with smoking, despite the growing pile of peer-reviewed evidence proving vaping is an invaluable harm reduction and smoking cessation tool.
Despite this bitter battle, there are several ways in which the vaping community is in a much better position today than ever before. One significant shift has been how much support vaping receives from outside the community.
In fact, a convenience store advocacy group recently chose to support vaping by blasting the FDA’s new plan for focusing on the wrong things. Vaping advocates applauded the CEO for going out of his way to call out the FDA for their misguided policymaking.
Meanwhile, anti-vapers remain focused on pushing the false narrative that e-cigarettes are leading to more smokers. Only time will tell what sort of impact this new support will have, but many vapers are optimistic about the shifting momentum.
Henry O. Armour, the President, and CEO of the National Association of Convenience Stores, recently wrote an op-ed which was published on CNBC.com. In it he dismantled the FDA’s latest plan to reign in teenage vaping, concluding “the data shows clearly that youth e-cigarette use will increase because of, not in spite of, the FDA’s actions.”
His main gripe is with where their plan bans e-cigarette sales, which includes convenience stores but not online retailers or smoke shops. According to reports, only 31.1% of underage vapers are getting their supplies directly from a retailer, and of that 31%, over two-thirds made their purchase online or in a smoke shop. Alternatively, less than 5% of these sales came from convenience stores. Their argument gets even stronger when you consider this means less than 2% of all underage vapers are getting their supplies directly from convenience stores.
While stopping short of throwing his full support behind vaping directly, he did make it clear that the FDA’s plan is unfounded in its entirety claiming they lack the evidence to reign in vaping so much. He even went as far as to say, “It [the government] has no public health justification in the data for its decision.”
The FDA has yet to respond to the op-ed, but many don’t expect anything of substance. Regardless, many in the vaping community are happy to finally get some kind of support from institutions outside their fold.
Why Support Now?
It was all the way back in 2015 when Public Health England released their landmark research that found vaping is 95% safer than smoking.
Since then, there has been a great deal of research done that supports their conclusion. A study just last year, out of Roswell Park Cancer Institute, found that there are 93% fewer toxicants in vapor than found in cigarette smoke. The Journal of Aerosol Sciences published a report which found the likeliness of vapers developing cancer, beyond their genetic predisposition, is around 57,000 times lower than smokers within a similar demographic.
There has also been ample research that concludes vaping is the best tool on the market to help smokers successfully quit. A study out of the University of Louisville found that vaping, when stacked up against other tools such as nicotine patches, gums, and even prescriptions, was the most effective tool to help smokers quit.
While all of these studies support vaping one of the most common arguments against vaping stems from concerns about teens picking up the habit and then turning to tobacco, but even in this regard, research isn’t as alarming as you’ve been led to believe. A survey of over 60,000 teens conducted by Action on Smoking and Health found that only 0.1%-0.5% of non-smoking teens vape more than a few times. Meaning an even smaller percentage is ever ending up smokers.
The FDA’s dramatization of teenage vaping is putting adult vapers, and current smokers in an awful position. They are making detrimental decisions without any concrete evidence to back their claims, and as a result, they are making it much harder to get access to an incredible quit aid.
The FDA’s obsession with ending teen vaping not only makes it harder for adult smokers to quit, but it is very likely to lead to an increase in teen usage anyway. In-person retailers are better able to identify underage purchasers than online, and while many companies have implemented programs to prevent underage purchases online, these systems are far from infallible.
The FDA’s single-mindedness on the topic of vaping needs to be corrected. The more people who reach out to tell them they’re wrong, the better. Write to the FDA, write to your representatives. Make them aware of this issue. That’s the best thing we can do to protect our vaping rights.
Do you think pulling vaporizers from store shelves will be good or bad for vapers in the long run? Did ease of access to products help you quit smoking? What are your opinions on the teenage vaping “epidemic” and its potential repercussions? 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.