Some vapers have been facing threats of fines for vaping while driving. Now they’re fighting back and shedding light on a larger issue for the community
Over the last year or so, some vapers have been told they could incur fines or even lose their license for vaping while they drive. These claims were mostly found on small blogs originally, but the thirst for click-bait worthy headlines saw it shared on larger, respected sites as well. They mostly claimed severe repercussions for vapers using their pens or box mods while driving.
While these articles have been seen in many places, they have no legitimate foundation. There are no laws that have been discussed or passed by any legal body banning vaping while driving. The Independent British Vape Trade Association has even sent out a press release to address this misinformation. This is far from the only time false information has been spread around media sources with the intent to slander vaping and damage its reputation. In fact, this is only one in a line of these unsupported claims.
Vaping And Driving
The original articles and reports claimed the police were warning vapers about using vaporizers while driving. One such article claimed vaporizer use can be restricted by law enforcement similar to other electronics such as cell phones “If a police officer deems a driver to be distracted by the e-cigarette, they could receive three to nine points on their license, a fine of up to £2,500 or disqualification.”
There are, however, no laws which actually enforce this. Several of the articles even mention the fact their claims have no legal backing or ramifications, before continuing to paint a dire picture for vapers anyway. The only grounds which could possibly make vaping while driving illegal is if the officer has found driver is legitimately distracted, that is also true for eating, smoking, or any other activity. While cell phone usage has been proven to be a distraction for drivers Sgt. John Davis of the Surrey Police Department points that the same is not true for vaping, even though in extreme cases it may be possible. In truth, these stories are little more than a hyperbolized warning to drivers not to drive irresponsibly, whether vaping or not.
Public understanding and acceptance of vaping are low. A poll by Action on Smoking and Health found that only 13% of adults understand vaping is substantially safer than smoking. Whether they have spread maliciously or not, stories like this one which aligns vaping with negatives, are all too familiar. In just this past year there have been several such stories, claiming to point out the detriment of vaping, that circulated through the internet and media outlets. Some of these “facts” have no standing at all, others are clipped and taken out of context to paint them in a different light. If these are the stories you are exposed to, then it is clear why public perception of vaping is so poor.
In February a story about two Marines dying from vaping CBD spread through the media, and in the end, an Army Public Health Center Spokesperson made corrective statements about the soldiers and their conditions. While they had been taken in for care, neither had come anywhere close to dying, and the real culprit was allergies, not vaping. A study circulated through news sources claiming to find the toxic metals in e-liquid vapor. This study, published in the Environmental Health Perspectives Journal, argued that the use of a vaporizer results in a “significant amount” of several toxic substances being leached into the e-liquid. In reaction to these claims, Dr. Konstantinos Farsalinos pointed out how overblown the allegations were. Based on the measurements of the study, which were so small they were measured in ug/kg, concluded you would need to vape over 100mL a day to exceed FDA limits for daily intake.
It is no secret to those who know the truth about vaping that it is being given unfair treatment and coverage by the media. It is unknown whether this is part of a plot to discredit vaping, or if it is just in the name of an easy headline. Either way, we end with the same results: a public that is unwilling to accept vaping, and millions of smokers unswayed to quit. The spread of stories like these only makes those situations worse.
The mainstream media inform public opinion, which creates policies, which leads to the headlines again. At the end of the day, the only way to improve vaping’s ability to help people quit smoking is by significantly improving public perception. One of the best ways to do that is to fight back against misleading and unsupported rumors and stories. In that, we can hopefully lead to more public awareness of vaping’s societal benefits.
Which do you see more often, positive vaping stories or negative ones? Do you think the media has attempted to mislead you about the dangers and benefits of vaping? What’s the best way to ensure people truly understand the value of e-cigarettes? 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.