For months, vapers have been worried about looming FDA regulations that are sure to affect the electronic cigarette industry. Although it's very unlikely there will be an all out ban on e-cigarettes, there's sure to be restrictions put in-place to prevent sales to minors, and it's possible that many of the inexpensive and flexible options that we've become accustomed to as adults, could be taken away. Even without any federal action, cities and states have taken it upon themselves to redefine e-cigarettes and restrict their use. Despite the fact that they're much safer than tobacco and pose virtually no risk to users or bystanders, lawmakers seem dedicated to making it more difficult to vape – AND THAT'S A HUGE MISTAKE.
It's still unclear what new FDA regulations will mean, but four states – Utah, North Dakota, Arkansas and New Jersey – have already incorporated indoor vaping bans. California, Connecticut and Massachusetts are considering following suit. And nine other states, including New York, Colorado, Tennessee and Wyoming have lumped e-cigarettes in with tobacco and all of it's heavy restrictions.
Why It’s a Mistake to Restrict E-Cig Use
Although lawmakers may have some legitimate concerns about the long-term safety of electronic cigarettes, studies continue to support the fact that they're significantly less harmful than smoking and contain virtually none of the harmful chemicals. Banning or restricting them could have some negative consequences that people should be aware of:
1.) Studies Prove It – Electronic Cigarettes Pose No Risk
Despite what you read in the media, electronic cigarettes have been proven to contain virtually none of the harmful, cancer-causing toxins found in cigarettes. Tobacco cigarettes contain more than 4,800 chemicals, over 60 of which are proven to cause cancer. Multiple studies have evaluated the chemical make-up of e-cigarettes and their vapor, and they find either zero or nearly untraceable levels of toxins – well below occupational safety limits. According to a CleanStream-Air study in 2012:“…we can conclude by saying that it would be more unhealthy to breath air in a big city than standing in the same room with someone who is vaping.”
Although it's too early to prove the long-term impact of inhaling nicotine vapor, e-cigarettes pose significantly less risk than smoking – and no second hand risk to non-vapers.
2.) More People Will Continue Smoking
Electronic cigarettes have been proven to help smokers quit. Although e-cig companies can't legally make this claim, the evidence is strong. According to a 2013 study from The Lancet medical journal:“In our study, e-cigarettes, with or without nicotine, were modestly effective at helping smokers to quit. Nicotine e-cigarettes might be more effective or of similar effectiveness to patches.”
Several other studies have found similar results, and considering that smoking causes more than 440,000 deaths annually, including 49,400 deaths from second-hand smoke, it's in the public's best interest to help people quit. Restricting people's ability to use or access e-cigarettes, either by over regulation or taxes, will discourage smokers from making the switch.
3.) Smoking-Related Diseases Will Remain High
Smoking is the number one cause of preventable disease and death worldwide. It’s been linked to a wide range life-threatening medical conditions, including: lung disease, heart disease, stroke, emphysema, diabetes and various types of cancer. Although long-term studies can't prove it yet, it's safe to assume that with the lack of deadly toxins, e-cigarettes could eliminate or reduce the number or people who develop these deadly diseases over time. If we discourage smokers from choosing safer alternatives, such as e-cigarettes, this is much less likely to occur.
4.) Americans Will Continue Spending Billions on Health Care
In 2004, smoking cost the U. S. over $193 billion, including $97 billion in lost productivity and $96 billion in direct health care costs – an average of $4,260 per adult smoker. Most experts agree that the huge list of toxic chemicals found in cigarettes, including over sixty cancer-causing carcinogens, are the primary cause of most of these diseases. So if e-cigarettes lack these harmful chemicals, it's safe to assume that a large percentage of these unnecessary expenditures could be either eliminated or reduced.
The Choice is Obvious…
Critics claim that there's no long-term evidence to prove that e-cigarettes are safe, but if the short-term research is any indication, electronic cigarettes could save thousands of lives and help us recoup billions of dollars in health care costs. With no evidence to the contrary, why would we ban or restrict something that's bound to help so many people? It could take over 20 years to fully understand the long-term impacts of vaping, until then we should use common sense and listen to what all the early research suggests – that e-cigarettes significantly less harmful than smoking and pose virtually no health risks. Unfortunately, the general public is being misled with inaccurate or blatantly false information, including scare tactics involving children. Age restrictions are one thing, but the last thing anyone needs is an all out ban, heavy restrictions or new taxes.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jeremy Salter is a dedicated vaping enthusiast and advocate – co-founder of www.cigbuyer.com. A strong believer in personal choice and freedom, his goal is to educate and inform consumers about the benefits of electronic cigarettes and dispel any negative myths with FACTS.