E-cigarettes are under attack by both the federal government and several state governments, including our own. This should be alarming to anybody concerned about public health, as tobacco smoking is the leading cause of preventable of death in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cigarettes are the cause of “about one of every five deaths in the United States,” totaling more than 480,000 every year (more than 1,300 deaths per day).
The Royal College of Physicians — the reputable medical body in the United Kingdom, which originally linked tobacco smoking to cancer in 1962 — published its report on the health impacts of e-cigarettes on April 28, 2016. It concluded that e-cigarettes are “unlikely to exceed 5 percent of the harm from smoking tobacco” and state that “there is a need for regulation … but this regulation should not be allowed significantly to inhibit the development and use of harm-reduction products by smokers.”
Some hospitals in the United Kingdom are opening “vape” shops to encourage their patients to quit smoking combustible cigarettes. This is a stark contrast from the current scene in the United States. I genuinely am concerned about public health issues and fully support a crack-down in support of the laws already in-place about underage vaping. I also support several other measures to help keep young people from getting ahold of vaping devices, including limiting the sale of such devices to specialty vape shops (not allowing their sale in convenience stores). Kids should not be using these products, period. But the narrative that e-cigarettes are as harmful as smoking (or even close to it) is scientifically false. Most lung disease cases so far are attributed to black market, adulterated products — mostly illegal marijuana products, cut with oil thickeners like vitamin E acetate.
A flavored e-liquid ban could destroy the vaping industry in the United States and cause incredible harm to vapers who may revert to smoking cigarettes. Many vape shops will probably shut their doors, having lost their main source of profit, and lay off their employees in the process. This is a costly mistake for society. Educate and regulate — don’t prohibit harm-reduction for adult smokers.
As already mentioned, the issue largely appears to be stemming from black market vape cartridges. The prohibition of marijuana has failed and resulted in more dangerous products being sold on the street. I’m not sure what makes our policymakers think a prohibition on flavored e-liquid will be any different.