Concerns about vaping: scaremongering or fair criticism?
It’s official: vaping does not seduce young people into getting hooked on nicotine and so take up smoking – in numbers large or small. To be fair, vapers themselves have long believed this was the case given vaping’s constantly marketed as a better alternative to smoking for those looking to quit tobacco and improve their health (and the facts to back that up have been in the public domain since pretty much the beginning anyway). Indeed, you’ll be hard pressed to find many regular vapers at all who believe it naturally leads to smoking.
But now, thanks to a recently published report, this fact has been made clear and undeniable. Indeed, Dr Tim Stockwell, one of the authors of the ‘Clearing the Air’ review (along with his colleagues at the Centre for Addiction Research of British Columbia – CARBC – at Canada’s University of Victoria), claims that the public perception that vaping’s as dangerous as smoking tobacco is simply totally false. In fact, he goes on to point that, in general, the public’s been misled about e-cigs and their perceived dangers to health.
Replacing not attracting
As to the headline misconception that the report refutes; it actually goes further – proving that not only does vaping not lead teenagers down the rocky road to smoking tobacco, but that it seems to be replacing smoking take-up in this demographic. This opposite trend can be seen via evidence gathered between 2003 and 2013, which shows e-cig use among teens grew from 1.5 percent to 16 percent, while smoking dropped by nearly 7 percent (from 15.8 percent to 9.3 percent).
Moreover, in the two-year period between 2013 and 2015, adolescent smoking rates dropped a whole percentage point in Canada, even though the country experienced no marked anti-smoking interventions across those 48 months and yet vaping rates jumped markedly; quite a correlation of data there, to say the least! And, to dramatically underline vaping’s success in nullifying the appeal of smoking for Canadian teens, the report also found that more than seven in 10 vaping teenagers there claim they do so with products that don’t even contain nicotine – the addictive ingredient in both tobacco and e-juices that keeps cigarette smokers, in particular, always going back for more damage to their health.
Far from hazardous
Additionally, the study behind the report took a long hard look at the constant claims that vaping is particularly hazardous for your health. Indeed, among its findings is that fact that, in general, e-cigs (certainly the best e cig UK) feature no more than 18 of the total 79 toxins to be found in conventional cigarettes – that’s just 23%; less than one quarter – none of which are the extremely harmful tar and carbon monoxide that cigarettes notoriously deliver to the body.
And in terms of potential exposure to second-hand smoke, e-cigs do well here too. When compared to tobacco-laden cigarettes, e-cigs comprise ‘exponentially lower levels of cancer-causing agents’, while e-cig vapour dissipates exceedingly quicker; 30 seconds compared to 18 minutes at best for cigarettes – that’s 36 times faster!
Enough of the attacks
Taken as a whole then, the evidence contained in this report is compelling and so leads you surely to one single conclusion – the vilification of vaping not only should stop but really must stop. Proof that it’s a better way than any other to help people give up smoking tobacco-filled cigarettes altogether may not be forthcoming… yet. But there’s no question it’s an undoubted worthy alternative – precisely because it’s a much healthier alternative. Harm is categorically reduced; reason indeed for health bodies to adopt harm-reduction philosophies and approaches rather than lofty abstinence-at-all-costs ones – why aren’t they encouraging smokers to go for the lesser of two evils instead of lumping them both together? In the face of all this evidence, their stance doesn’t make sense – because smoking kills people; vaping almost certainly doesn’t.