The American Academy of Pediatrics recently called on the government to implement robust restrictions on the vaping industry
We’ve never had a lack of conflicting viewpoints on vaping. Ever since it first became well known in the public eye, people have debated how, or even if we should restrict their usage. Critics claim not only is vaping is potentially dangerous, but it’s also attracting children and leading them into a life of full-blown smoking. Supporters of vaping rebuke these claims, pointing to the glaring lack of large-scale evidence indicating vaping is dangerous. In fact, advocates point to the growing consensus in academia that vaping is an extremely valuable harm reduction and smoking cessation tool.
Regardless, another respected public health institution, the American Academy of Pediatrics, recently called on the FDA and legislators to reign in vaping with a set of crippling regulations. If implemented these changes could spell disaster for the vaping industry in America. Some experts have already suggested 2019 is a “make-or-break” year for e-cigarettes, and this latest move only increases the heat on the industry.
Calling On The FDA
The American Academy of Academics has grown to become well respected among parents since it was first founded in 1930 by a group of pediatricians looking to address the state of child healthcare. It’s no surprise then this latest release made huge waves among parents already whipped into a frenzy over the teenage vaping “epidemic.” Just earlier this week they called on the FDA to “immediately” place several burdensome regulations on vaporizers. First and foremost they believe the minimum age to purchase any vaping products should be raised to 21 nationwide. This particular suggestion is relatively innocuous, given many states have already discussed or implemented a minimum age of 21. Raising the minimum age of purchase to 21 has been shown to significantly reduce access among minors, as it’s much less likely minors have friends over 21.
The real issue with the AAP’s crusade is the other two regulations proposed. First, they want to ban the sale of e-liquid flavors, which is something the FDA is already working hard on. Unfortunately, if these flavor bans are passed it’s entirely possible they have more negative effects than positive ones. The final regulation suggested by the AAP is an outright ban on online vaping sales. They believe this is the best way to ensure only legal adults are purchasing vaping products, but it would ultimately serve to limit the number of adult smokers able to quit using vaporizers. Most reputable sellers have already implemented ID requirements both online and upon delivery to prevent an illegal sale. Even better, they were able to do it without seriously inconveniencing their customer base.
The Low-Down On Vaping
Making these potential restrictions all the more devastating is the growing pile of evidence in support of the harm reduction and smoking cessation value of e-cigarettes. We’ve known going back to 2015 thanks to Public Health England that vaping is at least 95% safer than smoking. This figure was a considerable development when it was first published, but this magnitude of harm reduction has been found over and over. As recently as last month we got another report which found e-liquid vapor to contain around 93% fewer toxicants than cigarette smoke. Making those reductions all the more clear was a study published in the Journal of Aerosol Sciences which concluded the excess lifetime cancer risk of a vaper is around 57,000 times lower than a demographically similar smoker.
Going further than just harm reduction, it’s still clear vaping has a lot more to offer than it risks. In fact, the often referenced teenage vaping “epidemic” has been found to be much more anecdotal than fact-based. A report of over 60,000 students found that only between 0.1% and 0.5% of non-smoking teens are ever picking up vaporizers on a regular basis. This means far fewer are ever picking up cigarettes in any capacity, let alone full-time. This makes a lot of sense when you take into account research which suggests vaping is not only an effective smoking cessation tool, but actually more likely to be successful than anything else — even beating out the popular new prescription drugs.
This is already proving to be a “make-or-break” year for vaping. Between the increasing pressure from inside the FDA, and institutions such as the American Academy of Pediatrics adding to the fire, it may only be a matter of time before things truly reach a head. We must continue to work to spread all the positive information on e-cigarettes if they’re ever going to reach their full potential as smoking cessation and harm reduction tools. With smoking still the leading cause of preventable death and disease around the world, the healthcare industry should be more focused on maximizing our best harm reduction and smoking cessation tools, including e-cigarettes.
Do you think this recommendation from the AAP will lead to actual regulation change? Is it a big problem so many institutions seem skeptical of the value of vaping? How can we best spread positive information about vaping to the public? 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.