A Ban On Vaping Can Be Just As Bad

The recent light of e-cigarettes and their link to hundreds of cases of lung disease across America has only drawn public attention towards the harmful long-term effects of vaping. 

This relatively new phenomenon has already caused eight deaths due to severe respiratory illness brought on by the use of e-cigarettes according to the Wall Street Journal. Because of this, the administration of President Donald Trump is now moving forward in banning these flavored e-cigarettes and nicotine pods. While opponents of the habit are supporting these developments, supporters of vaping are angered.

“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported last week that the number of people with link illnesses related to e-cigarette use has increased to more than 500,” according to Bloomberg Opinion.

On Sept. 24, Massachusetts’ Governor Charles D. Baker signed a Declaration of Emergency, stating that vaping is a “public health emergency,” effective immediately.

On the morning of Sept. 25, JUUL CEO Kevin Burns resigned “amid growing public scrutiny of the San Francisco-based e-cigarette maker following reports of vaping-related deaths and illnesses,” according to the San Francisco examiner.

Creating a ban is ideal in terms of ending the usage and ability to obtain vapes. However, doing this can drive tobacco sales only upwards.

The restrictive efforts to reduce vaping across American has the likeliness to drive those addicted to nicotine back to cigarettes. The challenge that comes with addressing vaping is that it can easily influence the increase of another addiction.

According to a 2019 study done by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, only 5.8% of high-school students are smokers, while 27.5% of high school students are e-cigarette users. If a ban were put on vaping, the 27.5% of high school students using e-cigarettes may use tobacco cigarettes as a substitute.

While vaping does evidently have a negative impact on health, it does not cause as much damage as tobacco cigarettes. According to John Hopkins Medicine, “E-cigarettes heat nicotine (extracted from tobacco), flavorings and other chemicals to create a water vapor that you inhale. Regular tobacco cigarettes contain 7,000 chemicals, many of which are toxic.”

According to Bloomberg, the “harm and toll from smoking tobacco cigarettes seems to have gotten lost in the alarm over vaping. According to the CDC, traditional cigarette use is responsible for 480,000 deaths per year.”

If this ban were to be successful, eliminating flavored e-cigarettes has the potential to drive many people back to inhaling the deadly carcinogens present in tobacco smoke, bringing these death tolls back to their higher rates.

A possible way to keep e-cigarette users from moving on to smoking tobacco would be to create programs that help people get rid of their e-cigarette addictions. However, according to the Center on Addiction’s director of policy research and analysis, Linda Richter, as of Jan. 31, “There are no tested or approved methods for quitting e-cigarettes.”

This is due to the fact that e-cigarettes have not been around for a long enough amount of time to discover methods of quitting. Therefore, it may be safer not to ban e-cigarettes until we know more about them.