A public health official in the UK says that banishing vapers to smoking areas is “not acceptable”
Many vapers were shocked when the FDA published regulations on vaping that deemed e-liquids and vaporizers “tobacco products.” Vapers were already used to side-eye glances and other small day to day discriminations, but the FDA’s regulations felt like they were going too far. It didn’t take long for businesses and workplaces to begin requiring that vaping be limited to designated outdoor smoking areas. Not many put up a protest to this, seeing it as a small price to pay for continued cessation.
However, one health official in England is saying no more. Dr. Kathryn Scott, executive director of the Yorkshire Cancer Research Center, was in an interview with StrayFM when she took a stand on an often glossed over issue. She voiced the view that these kinds of bans and inconveniences could ultimately be the difference between continued success and returning to life as a smoker.
Dr. Scott’s Argument
Of the over 5 million people that live in Yorkshire county, over 14% (or around 750,000 people) are daily smokers. According to Scott, in that county like most of the planet, smoking is the leading cause of preventable death. Dr. Scott believes that public health officials ought to do more to encourage and convince smokers to make a switch to vaping. She actually believes that taking away vaper’s rights and forcing them to vape in shared areas with smokers is very detrimental to public health.
“E-cigarette use is not covered by UK smoke-free laws, which prohibit smoking in enclosed public places and workplaces. Vaping is a different activity to smoking, and should be treated as such. It is not acceptable to require vapers to share the same outdoor space as smokers, or to ban e-cigarette use. This could undermine an attempt to quit or make it more difficult for people to stay smoke-free. Vaping should be made a more convenient, as well as a safer option.”
Scott also talks about an issue that is prevalent around the world, this idea that vaping and smoking are mostly the same thing. This is an idea that needs to be wiped out of the heads of healthcare professionals so that they can help wipe it out of the minds of their patients. We should be aiming for a future where we all properly utilize these tools. Scott cited the 2015 study by Public Health England which found vaping to be 95% safer than cigarette smoking and talks about how the tool vaping offers us needs to be utilized.
“It is vital that healthcare professionals understand that vaping is an essential tool for improving the health of people living in our region. Negative coverage in the media has led to a misconception that vaping is dangerous, when the reality is that e-cigarettes have the potential to reduce the harm from tobacco-caused to smokers, those around them and the wider society.”
In Yorkshire, where Dr. Scott works, 86 percent of lung cancer, 37% of bladder cancer, and 23% of liver cancers can be directly attributed to smoking. 52% of the current vapers in Yorkshire identify themselves as former smokers. While this is an extreme case, and one in a country fighting to change their perception of vaping, it is still key to the success of a smoke-free tomorrow.
Healthcare and government officials around the world ought to take note. The key to helping more people switch to vaping is perception. Removing the indoor vaping bans from establishments and businesses could be vital to creating a gap in people’s understanding of smoking and vaping. Healthcare officials getting on board and making it clear to their patients the benefits of vaping and the importance of it being a separate product from cigarettes,
Do you think making vapers go to smoking areas could be harmful? Do you imagine being around smokers makes a vaper more likely to switch back? How can we improve the public perception 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.