The American Cancer Society, once a staunch opponent of vaping rights, now says they’re “less harmful than smoking”
When you start talking to vapers about their habit, it becomes obvious just how many of them feel vaping was key to ending their dependence on tobacco. It’s nothing new either, as modern vaporizers were invented as a means of helping smokers quit. But after over a decade of research, we’re finally starting to see the tide change in regards to institutions which initially dismissed vaping as merely an alternative tobacco device. The latest of these major organizations to reverse course on vaping is the American Cancer Society, who updated their policy on e-cigarettes to reflect the fact they’re much safer than combustible cigarettes.
While they did say that smokers who entirely, or even partially, switch to vaping face a much lower risk, they were cautious to say anything too drastic. They held firm in the stance that it’s best to refrain from both smoking and vaping, but the trusted medical organization now acknowledges that vaping is clearly preferable between the two. But possibly the most significant thing about their updated stance is it gives uninvolved people a reason to trust vaping as a harm reduction and smoking cessation tool.
The American Cancer Society has been publishing their policy on vaping for several years, but it wasn’t until now that it backed vaping in any way whatsoever. The latest version of the ACS’s Position Statement on Electronic Cigarettes states that “based on currently available evidence, using current generation e-cigarettes is less harmful than smoking cigarettes.” This is a fantastic development for the vaping community, as it marks one of the first times that a major health organization has seriously revised their official stance on e-cigarettes to reflect the growing pile of evidence.
That pile has grown immensely over the last few years, as long-term vaping studies begin to be disseminated. Back in 2015, Public Health England started the trend by published results that showed vaping is at least 95% safer than smoking, and in 2016 we had our first evidence linking the drop in smoking-related deaths to the rise of vaping. Then 2017 blew the doors off the house with several studies that make the full value of e-cigarettes more evident. This included proof that vaping is the best smoking cessation tool available, and that the excess lifetime cancer risk of vapers is around 57,000 times lower than smokers.
The Anti-Vaping Stance
The main thing that currently stands in the way of vaping taking over as the go-to harm reduction and smoking cessation tool around the world is concerns over their long-term effects. Probably the most common of all these concerns is the idea that acceptance of vaping will directly lead to more teens picking up e-cigarettes, and maybe even eventually cigarettes. They believe that non-smoking teens will think that vaping is harmless and develop a nicotine addiction that leads them to a life of cigarette smoking. The only problem is that this just isn’t the case. The evidence we have on the topic indicates the vast majority of teens who start vaping had previously been smokers.
It’s already enough of a fallacy that vaping is luring non-smoking teens, but to suggest that these non-smokers would then jump ship to smoking is ludicrous. There has never been any reputable evidence linking a societal acceptance of vaping to increased rates of teenage smoking. This is evident when you take a look at the world leader in vaping rights. The UK recently announced their smoking rates had reached an all-time low, and that the decline in smoking rate had only sped up thanks to the growth of vaping.
We may not know everything about the long-term effects of vaping, but one thing we know for sure these days is that vaping is the clear choice if the alternative is continued smoking. The only people who still honestly think that vaping is just as bad as smoking, have become pawns of the mainstream media. It’s so gotten so bad that polls indicate as little as 13% of adults understand how much safer vaping is than smoking.
It can be very discouraging when you read figures like that, especially knowing all the good that vaping has already done for the world. But we should take solace in the fact that the tide seems to be starting to change. With a former staunch opponent of vaping now a reluctant ally, it seems that anything is possible. Hopefully, this policy shift will prove to be a catalyst for other organizations currently debating similar changes. If we want to end the smoking epidemic once and for all, we simply must have the support of major health organizations like the American Cancer Society.
Do you think it’s crucial for organizations like the ACS to come out in support of vaping? What’s the best way to earn the trust of the public? Why do you think so few people understand how much safer vaping is than smoking? 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.