An Open Letter to Senator Schumer re Vaping
The vaping community (who tend to be fairly clued up on recent research) listened to Sen. Chuck Schumer recently once again blaming vaping companies for teen use. Furthermore, he wants legislation put in place regulating them pronto.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) did have legislation in place which would regulate vaping however they have not yet released his, choosing instead to hold off for a while. When or if activated this rule will ban vaping products being given out as free samples, being available in vending machines (for anyone to buy) and would restrict the age of legal vaping to eighteen years old. These restrictions would cover the US as a whole.
Apparently one in five New York students have tried vaping at some point over the past year. Schumer believes that easy access to some e cigarettes (available in vending machines and so on) should fall under age restrictions and feels that “trendy packaging” and “kid-friendly flavours” are actively encouraging teens to vape. Worryingly, the good Senator feels that “…e cigarette companies are stepping over the line to market these products to kids to get them hooked to smoking”.
There’s your face palm moment right there.
Dear Mr Senator,
We agree that teens shouldn’t be vaping. We’ve got your back on that one. Here in the UK vaping is for those aged 18yrs and over only and we have strict advertising rules which prohibit making vaping seem “cool” to youngsters as that just isn’t right. We can’t sell to teens, we can’t market to teens and we don’t want to.
A few things though. You stated recently at a press conference at your
Manhattan office that e cigarette companies are basically going too far in
terms of marketing vaping products to kids to “get them hooked to smoking”. We
just wanted to clear a few things up.
Firstly, smoking and vaping are two very different things. The World Health Organisation have classified over seventy chemicals found within tobacco cigarettes are being toxic and/or as having carcinogenic (cancer causing) properties. No such classifications have been made regarding e cigarettes and e liquids.
Secondly, there have been a number of studies supporting the fact that vaping as a whole has had a tremendous effect on reducing the number of people smoking tobacco cigarettes. Indeed, Public Health England (as we’re sure you know put together the Go Smoke Free legislation which has seen public smoking banned over here) has advocated for the use of e cigarettes as a cessation device, including them in official Stoptober advertising.
*Stoptober is a month-long public health campaign run every year to encourage and support individuals to quit harmful tobacco cigarette smoking.
Thirdly, vaping is an alternative to smoking. It is marketed to smokers looking for a healthier alternative to smoking (vaping is 95% less harmful than tobacco by the way). It isn’t for non-smokers to take on as a hobby when they’ve never smoked.
Lastly, studies have shown that vaping does not encourage teenagers to smoke tobacco.
We just wanted to clear a few things up there, to add some clarity. We agree Sir, teens shouldn’t be vaping and there should be an age restriction on vaping worldwide (not least because e cigarettes contain lithium batteries and children should not be playing with lithium batteries) however we’d love to see you change your overall stance on vaping, which we’re sure you will now that you’ve read this letter. Vaping should not be marketed at children. Vaping should not be readily available to children. Vaping should however be widely adopted as a legitimate alternative to smoking, in order to help people move away from tobacco, a move that will improve their health and could prolong their lives.
Choosing vaping is not the lesser of two evils, vaping is a well-researched, healthier alternative to vaping, offering smokers worldwide the opportunity to continue to enjoy a similar habit (although many would say more enjoyable and of course customisable) without the risk factors.
Senator. We look forward to your future speeches which will no doubt be clearer on the fact-based benefits of vaping.