If you’re not a vaper or a smoker, you might not even see what is going on out there. You hear the snippets every few months on the morning news. You’re drinking your coffee and you hear about an e-cigarette explosion, or a new ban on vaping in public places; it’s a small news story, you hear it and then you’re back to you regular day.
However, if you’re paying attention, you may notice the world around you has changed. Over the last few years a shift has occurred and for a population that has always been so concerned with secondhand smoke I find it strange that it is hardly even noticed. Only a few years ago, I can’t recall going to the park without smelling cigarette smoke; I can’t remember walking into the grocery store and not being hit with a wall of stench from people on break or those extinguishing their cigarette before they head in the store. Cigarettes were a ubiquitous part of life– they were everywhere. Now think about the last time you went to the store—did you smell cigarette smoke? Be honest, because the likely answer from most of us these days is going to be, “No.”
If you haven’t noticed less smoke, then you are either fooling yourself or are not paying attention. The CDC even shows numbers that since 2007, when e-cigarettes were first introduced, smoking in the US has decreased by about 5%, changing the number of smokers in the adult population from about 20% to 15% by 2015. You see the same trend with the student population as well. And while the CDC may try to give credit to new tobacco regulations, there are a few more numbers to consider.
The Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco presented a survey in 2015, which stated that 6% of American adults identified as regular e-cigarette users. They also found that 97% of these users had previously smoked regular cigarettes. So if smoking is down 5%, and vaping is up by 6% and most of those vapers were former smokers– well I don’t need to connect the dots on this one.
That’s why I believe, it’s time for people to stop denying that these new-fangled e-cigarette devices are changing the world.
See here’s the truth and it may be shocking to you… I am not a vaper. I never have been; I’ve never been a smoker either. But that hasn’t stopped me from becoming a full-fledged vaping advocate and if you’re a non-vaper you should be too.
Say Goodbye to Secondhand Smoke
E-cigarette vapor has been reported by several reputable health organizations to be much less harmful than cigarette smoke, most recently the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) produced a 200-page report backing e-cigs as cessation devices and harm reducers. The RCP is no stranger to groundbreaking reports, they in fact produced the 1962 report on the harmful potential of cigarette smoke that encouraged the US Surgeon General’s initial warnings on cigarettes in 1964. The RCP agreed with other previous organization that vapor was as much as 95% less harmful than regular cigarette smoke. This is just the tip of the iceberg of research that continues to show how much safer e-cigarettes are in comparison to their combustible predecessors.
This means not only do I have to worry less about inhaling harmful constituents, I can worry less about my young son being exposed too. There will always be smokers, but it’s impossible to deny that things are getting better since the advent of the e-cigarette.
E-Cigs Could Save Lives
Over 400,000 people die each year from health issues that stem from cigarette use. In addition, another 50,000 die from secondhand smoke. This has to stop. E-cigs are already beginning to show how these numbers can change… if they are given the chance.
The Danger of Regulation
While e-cigarettes are being embraced in the UK, the feeling in the US is a little different—well a lot different. On May 5th the FDA announced their deeming on the regulation of e-cigarettes, and while the reports you see on TV focus on age restrictions and warning labels, the real story is much more sinister and, or course, it is not at all what the news media is reporting.
By August 2016, all innovation and invention in the e-cigarette industry in America will come to a halt. No new products will be introduced or sold. After that point the manufacturers in the e-cig industry will have two years to submit an application to the FDA in order to continue selling their devices and e-liquids that are currently on the market. Sounds simple, but the application is beyond comprehension. It has been estimated by many experts that the application process could cost anywhere from $300,000 to over a million dollars to complete and several hundreds of thousands of man hours too. On top of it each and every product requires the application. And each company, especially the e-liquid manufacturers, have multiple products, hundreds even, that would need this lengthy application.
Since most of the e-cig companies are newer and smaller, this process will cause many companies to close their doors. With no innovation and little selection on the market, the industry will in effect crumble—halting the huge benefit that e-cigarettes could have on the American population. Whether you are a vaper or not, we can’t let this happen.
That’s why it’s time for non- vapers to start paying attention. This is not an issue of smoking cessation—this is an issue of public health. Saving lives is important to me and it should be important to you. Please I implore you, vaper or not, to consider doing whatever you can to keep regulation from halting the progress that e-cigarettes have made. Visit CASAA.org for more information and see what you can do.
Amber Whaley is a writer, artist and mom. She is an author for IEC and is passionate about covering issues that not only pertain to public health, but can help people improve their lives for the better.