During a recent conference, Indian health experts debated the efficacy of vaping moving forward, but most agreed vaping is a worthwhile endeavor.
Public health experts all across the world are facing the same problems when it comes to vaping. It can be easy to forget, but modern vaping has actually only been around for a little over 15 years now.
As such, many are skeptical about the long term benefits and believe they ought to be restricted in the same way as smoking. However, a growing pile of peer-reviewed evidence has grown support for the value of e-cigarettes.
In fact, Indian lawmakers are currently engaged in ongoing talks to decide how they should move forward with vaping. While some remain skeptical and are on the verge of banning vaping outright, there has never been more support among health experts to push back against regulations like these.
While experts are split on what widespread marketing of e-cigarettes would accomplish outside of India, most firmly believe giving more people access is a vital step toward reducing their overall smoking rates.
According to research, only around 3% of Indians are even aware of e-cigarettes, with estimates putting users at as low as 0.02%. Given the glaring lack of awareness, many vaping advocates believe it’s important to spread the positive benefits of vaping before anecdotal concerns gain traction first.
It was during the Global Forum on Nicotine held last week in Poland which saw over 600 representatives from around the world gather to discuss the efficacy of vaping. Among them, a few public health experts from India made some salient points.
Dr. Bharat Gopal highlighted the need for alternative options for heavy smokers who are looking to quit but have had trouble in the past. Dr. R.N. Sharan of North-Eastern Hill University pointed out the glaring flaw in how Indian legislators have handled vaping so far, “what is the point of allowing a more dangerous product (cigarettes) and banning less dangerous products.”
This in response to a controversial call by the Indian Council of Medical Research to recently call for a total ban on vaping in the country. Only time will tell what actually makes its way to law, but some are optimistic pushes by Indian medical experts are helping prevent a misguided ban.
The Evidence In Favor Of Vaping
While vaping wasn’t always very well understood, these days we have plenty of reasons to support the harm reduction and smoking cessation tools. For starters, a report back in 2015 by Public Health England concluded vaping is at least 95% safer than continued smoking.
This type of result has continued to be found over the years, with a recent report out of Roswell Park Cancer Institute concluding the toxicants in vapor are around 93% lower than in cigarette smoke. However, nothing proves the harm reduction value of vaping quite like the study out of the Journal of Aerosol Sciences which found the excess lifetime cancer risk of a vaper is around 57,000 times lower than a demographically similar smoker.
Looking past the harm reduction value and the evidence is still strong. For instance, a report out of the University of Louisville concluded not only is vaping an effective smoking cessation tool, but it’s actually more likely to succeed than anything else. That included popular and effective aids such as prescription drugs and nicotine patches.
Another vital thing to acknowledge about vaping is their so-called impact on teens. While many media reports would have you believe e-cigarettes are directly leading to a new generation of smokers, a report of over 60,000 students concluded only between 0.1% and 0.5% of non-smoking teens are ever picking up a vape more than once or twice, let alone starting to smoke.
For a country like India, with such a large smoking population, banning vaping would be a massive mistake. The more people who understand what vaping has to offer the better things could be. Instead, the government is leaving their woeful smoking epidemic alone, while looking to ban a barely used harm reduction and smoking cessation tool in their country.
Luckily, not everyone is willing to allow the government to implement such a misguided law without a fight. Many experts are joining together to show support for the benefits of vaping, especially when compared with smoking.
If we want to help make pushes like this stick, the best thing we can do is teach those around us the value of vaping. The more people who understand what’s at stake, the easier it will be to educate more people moving forward.
What’s the most essential thing about vaping to you? Do you think India will reconsider their new law? How should we 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.