Researchers propose a standard method for testing vaporizers in scientific settings
Almost a full month into 2019 and the debate about vaping has never been hotter. Those against vaporizers not only believe they’re attracting teens with sweet flavors, but they are convinced picking up vaping is leading to a lifetime of smoking for these kids. Supporters of vaping question this logic, asking for any evidence to back it up. Not to be hypocritical, these supporters have plenty of research which shows the value of e-cigarettes for harm reduction and smoking cessation purposes. However, while this debate has raged, a less visible but still influential battle is going on. In fact, many experts believe deciding on a standard way to test vaporizers could be one of the biggest hurdles left to the widespread legitimization of vaping.
We now have our best piece of evidence that developing a standard method for testing would be a significant gain for the vaping industry. These findings are right in line with concerns that the wide variety of approaches used while testing vapes are leading to less comparable data. The researchers believe agreeing on a standard method for testing would move the industry much closer to full acceptance among the general public.
The study was written by a team from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine who wanted to understand how to maximize the accuracy of vaping data across different studies. Published in the Nicotine and Tobacco Research journal, the report answers some of the long-standing questions regarding how significant an impact it makes on accuracy when strict testing methods are enforced. They started by gathering a couple of groups of volunteers who had previously been smokers but now vape exclusively. The team then gave each group a different set of instructions when testing, such as precise instructions on when and how to vape, or the freedom to do whatever they do in their everyday lives. However, regardless of the puffing method the team collected data in the same manner.
Once the team had some time to go over all the evidence, it became clear one method was more consistent than others. In the case of not only e-cigarette vapor, but also cigarette smoke, being told how and when to vape produced much more accurate and comparable results. Interestingly, the team noted that different levels and preference of nicotine or menthol didn’t have any impact on the pattern. These findings were more than enough to call for further study into the importance of a standard puffing methodology when testing the harm reduction or smoking cessation value of vaporizers.
Fight For Continued Existence
It may not be immediately clear why it’s so important a standard method is reached. But taking a more in-depth look at the fight facing the vaping industry, it becomes evident more independent research isn’t always enough. In fact, despite the last several years of evidence which proves vaping is much safer than smoking, only around 13% of adults seem to understand this. What’s worse is about twice as many people seem to think vaping is just as, if not even more dangerous than smoking. This simply must change, and one thing we could potentially do is increase the legitimacy of vaping research with repeatable and comparable data. Once a standard is set, it instantly becomes much harder to call into question any particular study which adheres to the agreed-upon standard.
Getting more of the general population to understand the benefits of vaping will directly lead to a broader acceptance of e-cigarettes. We need this sort of positive momentum now more than ever, as the FDA is currently in the middle of a crusade against the vaping industry. The bottom line is that if a more substantial portion of the population understood and supported the harm reduction and smoking cessation value of vaporizers, it would be incredibly difficult for institutions like the FDA to swoop in and severely damage the industry.
When misleading or otherwise misguided studies are published, they do nothing to help the vaping industry. Regardless of the contents of the report, if it can’t be replicated or compared with other reports, what’s the value? What we need to stay focused on is improving the poor public perception of vaping. Far too many smokers don’t know what e-cigarettes could do for them if they only gave them a try. If we can improve the legitimacy of vaping research, it will likely become more natural to educate smokers around the world about the many benefits of vaping. Doing that is the best way we can earn and secure our vaping rights into the future.
Why should we be worried about a standard testing method for vaping? Do you think public perception is indeed a severe problem for the vaping industry? How should we be working to teach those around us 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.