With FDA Commissioner set to resign next month, he’s being pressured to force through the flavor ban before he leaves office.
Being a vaper these days means traversing the ever-changing landscape of vaping regulations. E-cigarettes didn’t get much of a chance to prove their worth before legislators around the world condemned them for being too similar to deadly cigarettes. This despite their intended purpose being to help smokers quit by offering them a satisfying alternative. There’s also a growing list of peer-reviewed evidence which supports the value of vaping as a smoking cessation and harm reduction tool. Unfortunately, most politicians seem convinced acceptance of vaping will do little more than increase the chances teens end up smoking, even though they only have anecdotal evidence. Regardless, the rhetoric around vaping regulations is only getting stronger, as moves like flavor bans and increased taxes become more likely than not.
These concerns only grew earlier this month when current FDA Commissioner, Dr. Scott Gottlieb announced that he’d be stepping down from his post at the end of next month due to personal reasons. At first, vapers had hoped this could mean the flavor ban would be rethought, but some legislators are uninterested in seeing who gets nominated next. Instead, several lawmakers are pushing Dr. Gottlieb to force through the unpopular flavor ban before he leaves office, a move which many researchers say could make things worse.
It should come as no surprise to the vapers out there that this pursuit of shady legislation was led by Senator Chuck Schumer of New York. Schumer made an announcement earlier this month which attacked the FDA for not moving faster, despite a lack of evidence. He believes that if Dr. Gottlieb leaves his post before the law is passed, it would be in danger of never passing at all. He used all the most common excuses rolled out by anti-vapers, such as saying teenage smoking rates are at the highest rate in decades. In reality, this is only true if you consider vaping to be a tobacco product, which makes no sense given the total lack of tobacco in vaporizers.
In his pursuit of a flavor ban, Sen. Schumer is completely disregarding the value flavors play for adults looking to switch from smoking. Instead, he says the only reason for e-liquid to taste good is to attract teens into the habit. While it’s not currently known if the FDA will bend to Schumer’s will, one thing we do know is that vaping is still getting a bad reputation. In fact, experts believe that if a flavor ban like the one proposed by the FDA and pushed by Schumer was passed, it would ultimately have negative consequences as many vapers revert to smoking.
The Value of Vaping
It’s unfortunate that Senator Schumer is apparently too busy to look into the research on vaping himself. If he did, it would be hard for him to make many of the arguments he loves most. For starters, the impact vaping has on non-smoking teens is one of the more overblown parts of vaping. Researchers polled over 60,000 students and found only between 0.1% and 0.5% of non-smoking teens are ever picking up vaporizers regularly. So it stands to reason that far fewer are ever even trying a cigarette, let alone ending up lifetime smokers. Not only that, but we also have reason to believe vaping is the best smoking cessation tool we have at our disposal.
Looking into the harm reduction value of vaping and the picture is just as clear. Going back to 2015, we have reports which find vaping is at least 95% safer than smoking, but it didn’t end there. As recently as a few months ago we got yet another report which found smoke has about 93% more toxicants than e-liquid vapor. But to gain a real understanding of how much vaping has to offer, consider the report published in the Journal of Aerosol Sciences. That study concluded the excess lifetime cancer risk, or cancer risk outside of genetic predisposition, of a vaper is about 57,000 times lower than a smoker.
This can’t be allowed to go down. We all have a responsibility as vapers to do everything we can to help stop this unfair law before it happens. It would be a real shame if such a pivotal battle were lost just because the current FDA commissioner decided to step down. Not only that but if it’s passed before a successor is named, it will provide an easy way to shake off the blame to a guy who’s no longer affected. It should be clear by now that we can’t just trust the government to do what’s right. We have to work to secure and protect our vaping rights.
Is it fair if the flavor ban is forced through? What do you always tell people about vaping when they ask? What’s the best way to support vaping to smokers in our lives? 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.