By: Nicholas King.
Last Updated: December 20th, 2018.
The sensational headlines are everywhere these days, and all designed to sell one message:
vaping isn’t as safe as you think it is!
Many people, especially vapers often remember reading headlines in newspapers around the world warning it’s users that e-cigarettes or vaping are bad for your health in one form or another. Only to be followed up with another stating that the article was misrepresenting the facts. Let’s make it clear, once and for all; vaping is not good for you. Simple, done? Well no, because this can be applied to pretty much any foreign ingredient that the human body is in contact with. The real question should be; how bad is vaping for you. And it is this very question that experts disagree on.
The Official Response in the U.S.
We already know how the American government views this issue. One official and department after another has come out in opposition to vaping. Some have even gone so far as to engage in the sheer fantasy of pretending that vaping devices should be treated like tobacco. The Food and Drug Administration went beyond the pretense, you can read about the FDA regulation of electronic cigarettes here, they even declared that it would “deem” vaping tools to be tobacco products. In case that word “deem” is throwing you for a loop, just mentally replace it with the words “it is because we want it to be” whenever you hear some public official use it.
Yes, we’ve reached a point in human history where a bureaucracy established by the elected officials of the world’s oldest continuous constitutional Republic actually makes public policy in the same way that people like George R.R. Martin and J.K. Rowling tell those wonderful stories that only they can tell: just make everything up. You see, there’s little difference between the current official U.S. position that deems vaping products to be tobacco and the fantasy worlds of those two beloved authors. They all rely on pure fantasy to get their point across.
Here’s the problem though: In the fictional worlds of our favorite novels, television shows, and movies, we all know that the characters, settings, and events are make-believe. We all understand that truth and reality are something far different than what we read or see on the screen. When the government engages in make-believe, however – all the while pretending that their statements somehow have even the most tenuous relationship with reality, there can be real consequences. In this case, lives are at stake.
Electronic cigarettes are not tobacco. They emit no smoke. They do not release the thousands of toxic and often-carcinogenic substances for which tobacco cigarettes have been so maligned. To date, there is no evidence to suggest that they have harmed anyone. Far from it, in fact. The evidence suggests that e-cigarettes have helped many millions of former smokers to escape their tobacco habits once and for all. Of course, the government-backed scientists question that as well. Go figure.
One other concern that is a very good point is related to the addiction of vaping. We cover that subject in detail on out Vaping Addiction article:
But is it Safe?
None of that really has anything to do with determining whether vaping is safe or not, but it does raise an interesting question: if it were safe, would our government – influenced as it is by Big Tobacco – even admit it? If government-backed studies came up with research that proved conclusively that vaping is 100% safe, would we ever hear about it?
To answer that question, you need only examine why the FDA chose to “deem” e-cigs to be tobacco for the purposes of regulation. Tax revenues and the need for control drive much of public policy at the federal level. In this case, the FDA needed to pretend that vaping is smoking so that they could extend their existing power to regulate tobacco to these new products.
That’s why you see such a difference in the way the governments of the United States and the Government in the United Kingdom talk about vaping. Here, we’re told that they’re potentially as dangerous as smoking tobacco products. In the UK, officials have listened to scientists who have told them that these devices are as much as 95% safer than tobacco products, and have tried to promote electronic cigarette usage. Here, we ignore the millions of people who have used e-cigs to quit their tobacco habits. In the UK, many officials are celebrating the smoking cessation benefits offered by vaping.
In the United Kingdom, those who advocate for tobacco harm reduction apparently mean what they say. They recognize that millions have already succeeded in ending tobacco addiction by turning to vaping, and encourage more to do the same. Here, our public servants publicly support tobacco harm reduction, but at the same time discourage something that has demonstrable benefits for achieving that goal.
The problem is that there is scientific evidence that suggests that people who switch to vaping, experience demonstrable health benefits. That makes sense since studies have found that only trace elements of a relatively small number of potentially harmful chemicals have been detected in vapor produced by properly-utilized electronic cigarettes. In most cases, those trace chemicals have been found at levels indistinguishable from those found in the environment in which the tests were conducted – suggesting that they may not even be related to the vapor.
Self-reporting from vapers who have quit their tobacco habits indicates that there are clear health advantages. Most report that breathing is easier. The sense of taste returns. And, contrary to what some in the media would have you believe, there appear to be no second-hand dangers of the kind often cited in the tobacco smoking debate. Now, government officials and many scientists will dismiss the claims of millions of former smokers who now vape, suggesting that their self-reporting doesn’t rise to the level of scientific evidence – and they certainly have a case to make in that regard. At the same time, however, any study of personal health benefits must rely at least in part on study participants. Otherwise, what’s the point of it all? If you want to know whether someone’s health has improved by switching from smoking to vaping, of course, you have to ask that person how he feels.
The current official position is that there is not enough evidence to suggest that vaping is safe. So, the government is going to operate as though it is unsafe – you know, like we did with eggs years ago when the country went through it’s “scary cholesterol will kill you” phase. Of course, we then learned that some cholesterol is actually necessary for bodily health and those eggs weren’t really as high in that bad cholesterol as we thought.
The fact is that no one can tell you that vaping is perfectly safe – just as no one can ever tell you that driving a car or trusting the FDA is perfectly safe. There are always risks. The key is to evaluate those risks and determine which of the many options before you in life offers the most potential benefits with the least potential for harm. At this point, regardless of what the FDA or anyone else might say, the evidence suggests that vaping is as much as 95% safer than smoking. And since we know that smoking carries with it a fairly high risk for serious health complications and death, the only logical conclusion that we can reach is that vaping is a vastly safer choice than smoking. That has to count for something.
Although we draw no conclusions in our article, if you would like to read further on the safety of e-cigarettes and vaping, we suggest the following resources: