Vaping News

Banning is easier than explaining

The mask slipped this week as the FDA claimed explaining the advantages of vaping would confuse smokers.

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Rather than deal with the tricky things like peer-reviewed research, evidence and facts, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) would like everybody to remain quiet and toe the line. Some in Australia like that approach, they would much rather have outright bans than discussion and freedom of choice.

In the USA, vaping equipment isn’t allowed to be sold as something used to quit smoking. If a shop or manufacturer wants to get that aspect of the product message across then they first need to stump up a ridiculous amount of money to obtain approval as a quit product.

So, any business or employer wanting to explain the major benefit of vaping over smoking (or discuss the huge success people have had with electronic cigarettes as quit tools) risks prosecution for breaking one of the stupidest laws ever made. The problem for the FDA, says Michael Siegel, is that this law is based in a belief that smoking is a disease – something it clearly isn’t.

"Over the past 50 years,” states the FDA as they seek to hide the issue in yet more language, “smoking has been causally linked to diseases of nearly all organs of the body, diminished health status, and fetal harm. Most current adult smokers want to quit smoking completely for health reasons. Given these facts, we believe that statements related to quitting smoking generally create a strong suggestion that a product is intended for a therapeutic purpose. We recognize, however, that public perception can change and evidence maybe developed showing that, in some situations, “smoking cessation” is understood in context as referring to ending the use of traditional cigarettes and switching to a non-combustible product made or derived from tobacco. We have revised the codified language in §1100.5(a) in the final rule, to reflect that ‘smoking cessation’ is one type of intended use related to ‘the cure or treatment of nicotine addiction’."

It’s simpler than trying to hide behind words for Dr Kathryn Barnsley from SmokeFree Tasmania: "It's fine to regulate e-cigarettes, but the problem is they're not going to ban all e-cigarettes. They should be banning all e-cigarettes. We won't know for many years because they're only a new invention, we didn't know with tobacco for many years that they were dangerous. It really needs to focus on protecting the next generation and having a tobacco-free generation, e-cigarettes are just a side issue.”

It all comes at the same time The Scotsman carry a leader piece in the paper stating categorically: “E-cigarettes have a fraction of the harmful chemicals of cigarettes but concerns remain they could glamourise smoking.”

The situation is just bizarre. The FDA want to hide behind language, some ‘doctors’ call for an outright ban and it takes a Scottish newspaper to point out the simple truth: “Although long-term health studies have yet to prove it, experts believe vaping is far safer than reaching for a cigarette.” Maybe the FDA should attempt to explain the benefits, they’d be surprised how easy it is.

Dave Cross avatar

Dave Cross

Journalist at POTV
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Dave is a freelance writer; with articles on music, motorbikes, football, pop-science, vaping and tobacco harm reduction in Sounds, Melody Maker, UBG, AWoL, Bike, When Saturday Comes, Vape News Magazine, and syndicated across the Johnston Press group. He was published in an anthology of “Greatest Football Writing”, but still believes this was a mistake. Dave contributes sketches to comedy shows and used to co-host a radio sketch show. He’s worked with numerous vape companies to develop content for their websites.

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