The following is a guest post. All opinions are solely those of the author.
We only need to look towards Europe and the US to see the problems that the electronic cigarette industry is causing regulators. These are very influential bodies which have encountered serious turbulence in their quest to control and structure the vaping industry going forward. From the outside looking in it should be fairly straightforward, speak to those for and against the industry, look at medical trial data and come to a conclusion. So, why are current regulations so far behind the development curve of the vaping industry?
Are the facts being overshadowed?
Many people seem to consider electronic cigarettes and tobacco cigarettes as “similar” products when in reality they are very different. Even though tobacco cigarettes have been around for decades there is still some confusion and disagreement within the medical community as to what exactly they contain. The general consensus seems to be there are 4000+ toxins within the modern day tobacco cigarette but many of these elements have yet to be recognised in their own right.
When you compare this to the modern-day electronic cigarette which has just a handful of ingredients, all present in the human food chain, why are they so seemingly intertwined within the mass media?
Nicotine, nicotine, nicotine
The simple fact that both products contain nicotine seems to have troubled not only those for and against electronic cigarettes but also regulators. There is even some disagreement as to how addictive nicotine is with some prominent doctors suggesting it is no more addictive than caffeine. However, it is the nicotine ingredient which seems to gel tobacco cigarettes and electronic cigarettes together despite the thousands of other elements in a tobacco product.
It is also worth noting that medical research to date has been very supportive of the electronic cigarette industry. As we await more medical trials coming to fruition those who follow the industry will be aware of alarmist reports which failed to stand up to more scrutiny. The simple fact is that as we move further down the line with regards to the development of vaping devices there will be more medical trial data and many believe it will support positive claims made by the industry. This is not something you read in the mass media with the industry often cast as the “devil incarnate” when all parties involved acknowledge the need for more medical trials.
Should the lobbying by those for and against the industry be allowed?
One of the major issues which seem to have led to concern and confusion amongst regulators is the lobbying by various parties. There is evidence to suggest that tobacco companies are in public investing in the industry and broadly supportive while behind-the-scenes keen to introduce relatively expensive regulatory charges. The tobacco industry has had a strong although often volatile relationship with governments and politicians around the world, not to mention regulators, and it was always unlikely industry would give the electronic cigarette sector and easy passage.
At the end of the day is up to the various regulators around the world to consider all opinions, consider all facts and then arrive at a decision which in theory should be for the general public and protection of their health. Some would argue that money and power has too much impact upon regulators and while in a perfect world everything would be factual, unfortunately we do not live in a perfect world.