While many Americans have become aware of the recent reports claiming there’s a link between vaping and a new, not fully understood lung illness that some people have experienced. What may have gotten even more attention was President Trump proposing a ban that would halt all sales of flavored e-juices. But, as we see how all this potential regulation business plays out, it’s worth considering how comparable countries, such as those found in the United Kingdom where vaping is equally popular in the United States, view this purported crisis.
With all this attention coming to vaping and the potential health hazards of it, you wonder why there doesn’t seem to be such a dramatic reaction from UK politicians. Considering the fact that many of the pro-vaping studies have come out of the UK, let’s get into a few of the reasons why the UK population seems to view vaping differently than people in the US.
Smoking vs. Vaping
Although some Hollywood productions would have you thinking that every man, woman, and child in the UK is smoking a pack of Lucky Strikes, only about 15% of people older than 18 in the UK are smokers. While that smoking culture is well entrenched into many European countries, Britain has over 7% of its 18+ population vaping today, with a 12.5% increase from 2018 to today. That means that the vaping population is growing very, very quickly, to the point where it could catch up with cigarette smoking in the near future.
Since both smoking and vaping typically involve a nicotine product, it’s easy for people to make a link between smoking and vaping, but they may not be as similar as people assume. While, yes, the consumption of nicotine itself can have negative effects on one’s health, many of the additive compounds found in cigarettes that cause heart disease are absent in vape products. It being such a new trend, there is certainly more research to be done on the long-term effects of vaporizing to substitute cigarettes, but the early results are encouraging.
As to whether or not vaporizing is an effective way to quit smoking, the argument is over. Many studies coming out of the UK keep saying the same thing, vaporizing is one of the most effective ways to quit smoking. And while there is still plenty we need to learn about vaporizing, the fact that an independent review found vaping to be 95% less harmful than smoking cigarettes should tell you a lot about where this research is landing.
Less Teen Vaping
One small difference between the two perceptions of vaping between the US and the UK may be contributed to the fact that it’s not seen as something just for kids and younger people. According to a report from The Independent, the demographic that vapes least is ages 18-24, while the highest rate of vapers is the 35-44 demographic.
This might give vaping less of an “edgy” aesthetic to it in comparison to the way Americans typically perceive vaping. Much of the rhetoric put forth by the Trump administration has centered around an effort to protect children from something that could harm them. While that narrative persists among pro-ban individuals, we discussed this in a previous blog that this effort may sound noble, it’s terribly misguided in its attempt to actually protect kids from vaping at too young of an age.
While it might take all day to cover the problems facing modern news coverage and how the need for ratings seem to change the way a story is covered, let’s try to focus on how the media has portrayed vaping and vapors in particular. It’s no surprise to see major media corporations in the US using hyperbole to drum up an over-the-top reaction from their massive audience. Some American media will attach the phrase “crisis” or “-gate” to anything they think will upset their viewers.
So while the BBC, considered by many to be a centrist, non-biased news network, informs more than 112 million people on a weekly basis, American media sources are ravenously looking for ways to out-do each other. When MSNBC or Fox News talks about a pending “crisis” it’s always a good idea to find a second and third source on just how serious the situation really is.
What can you do about it?
When it comes to the chaos this proposed ban has chaos, it can feel a little helpless when all you simply want to do is vape in peace. But, since your favorite hobby seems like it’s under attack by media and lawmakers alike, you may be asking yourself what you can do to stop all the nonsense.
Well, thanks to some of the ridiculous accusations sent toward the vape industry, some people have responded in ways to defend vaping. This October 7th, check your local vaping social media groups to see if there are any demonstrations or protests in your area, as this day has been declared National Save Vaping Day. This is an opportunity for vapers everywhere to let their voices be heard and show the public that vaping isn’t the boogeyman the media has made it out to be.
There is also a petition you can find here, that, with enough signatures, must be considered by the White House. This petition in particular is aimed at stopping the flavored e-juice ban.
Hopefully the more tempered reaction coming from UK decision-makers starts to have an effect on the more dramatic take that US politicians have expressed. With so many jobs at stake and a budding culture, this is not a time for drastic regulation, especially if that regulation comes from a place of emotion and political grandstanding rather than facts and genuine concern. As the chips start to fall in this situation, we hope that whatever changes we see are targeted toward a dangerous black market of unregulated products, rather than a group of pioneering small businesses that are just trying to make a living.
VaporDNA is supporting the vaping community with all the resources we have. Now shop at the vapordna.com during the #NationalSaveVapeDay sale event, 1% of the revenue will go to the American Vaping Association.