New CDC Study Discovers the Obvious

The Centers for Disease Control published a new study recently about the vaping industry. So what groundbreaking discoveries did the CDC make?  You’d be not at all surprised.

Here’s the title of the study:

A Qualitative Study of Vape Shop Operators’ Perceptions of Risks and Benefits of E-Cigarette Use and Attitude Toward Their Potential Regulation by the US Food and Drug Administration, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, or North Carolina, 2015

That’s far more impressive than the actual results of the study.  The CDC interviewed 20 vape shop owners in the southeastern US to see what their perceptions and attitudes toward vaping was.

They discovered a few things that are painfully obvious to anyone with any vaping experience at all.  For example, people use e-cigarettes to quit.  Or that most owners relied on personal experience along with information from the internet to guide their decisions.

Vape shop owners perceived ENDS to be less harmful and more economical than conventional cigarettes and indicated that most of their customers used ENDS as a smoking cessation tool. Most owners were former smokers and used ENDS to quit. Shop owners relied on their personal experiences and the Internet for information, and shared information with customers at point of sale by using the shop’s website and social media. Most expressed concern that complying with potential regulations, including banning flavors or tax increases, would jeopardize their business. Some felt that ENDS should not be regulated as tobacco products and felt that big tobacco was behind these proposed regulations. Most owners supported age restrictions and quality controls for e-liquid.

Fascinating stuff, I know.  This seems like a really good use of American tax dollars, getting an answer to all those burning questions.

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There is one interesting thing to note if you kind of read between the lines of the study.  At least when the interviews were conducted in spring of 2015 the interviewed vape shop owners clearly didn’t have a really good idea of how the FDA’s deeming regulations were planned.

Most of the regulatory concerns mentioned in the study focused around the banning of e-liquid flavors and tax increases.  Neither of these things are actually part of the FDA’s regulatory approach.  Mostly because they’ll be unnecessary should that agency succeed in driving businesses like the ones interviewed out of the market.

The good news here is that at least owners do support age restrictions and are aware that there is a need for sensible regulations.  Regulations concerning quality control and manufacturing standards are indeed a great idea. What we got, of course, is nothing of the sort.

While the shop owners were off base about the nature of the regulations, there is one thing they got right. 15 of the 20 noted that bad regulations would drive them under.  Half of the owners thought that excessive regulations would drive customers back to smoking cigarettes.

Perhaps the others were optimists.

Steve K

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