Senator Edward Markey (D-Massachusetts) made an emotional plea last week, calling for the decimation of the vaping industry. To those uneducated about the truth of vaping, watching and reading the video and statement on social media, his view points seemed solid and backed with facts. He called for the protection of the next generation, who were poised to become the next slaves of the tobacco industry and said that by destroying the vaping industry he, and his colleagues would be saving the lives of countless children. While some were quick to climb on board with his view points and run into the streets calling for Big Tobacco’s down fall as they once again attempted to get their hooks into our children, vapers everywhere went into an uproar over his dishonest tactics. Many calling his statements at best uneducated and at worst down right lies. The Smoke Free Alternative Trade Association quietly released a statement to him on Friday 30th October.
As the largest vapor industry trade association currently with more than 600 members across the country representing online retailers, brick and mortar vendors, distributors, manufacturers, importers and wholesalers, we were dismayed to learn of Sen. Markey’s comments calling for a ban of the vapor industry and citing flavors as justification.
It’s vital that public policy makers approach the vapor debate from a harm reduction perspective, rather than punishing an industry that generates billions of dollars in revenue, provides tens of thousands of new jobs, and more importantly, has the potential to help positively impact lives.
Our critics egregiously cite the purpose of flavoring as a marketing tool to attract underage consumers. The fact is that flavors have been found to be “very important” in adult smoker’s efforts to switch to vapor products and e-cigs. In addition, a recent study found that sweet and dessert type vapor flavors appealed much more to adults than non-smoking teens. Nevertheless, underage use is concerning and it’s vital that parents and guardians talk to their teens about not using any age-restricted products.
We are adamantly opposed to minors using vapor products and fully support age-restrictions on their use as well as child-resistant packaging. SFATA lobbied Congress in early 2013 to enact age verification laws and we also support prevention programs, including We Card™ and our own Age To Vape™ initiative, as well as encourage the use of widely available, robust Web-based systems to verify age and identity online.
Vapor products are intended only for adult smokers and adult vapers. Research shows that the average vaper is 39 years old and that most vapers are former smokers. In addition, recent studies also show that vapor products are considered to be a minimum of 95 percent less harmful than smoking.
Many studies have found that vapor products represent a significant alternative to combustible cigarettes, and for millions of smokers across the country, have been only way they have been able to reduce or eliminate their combustible tobacco use. Even the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has acknowledged that vapor products may be a viable option to help smokers who are otherwise unable or unwilling to quit.
Misguided attempts to limit or ban vapor products will severely impact the lives of smokers, as well as their loved ones, friends and colleagues. Lowering the number of cigarette smokers would help reduce the nation’s $300 billion burden in economic and health care costs due to combustible tobacco. Fewer smokers also will contribute to cost savings among Medicaid patients, where the prevalence of tobacco smoking is twice the general public.
We continue to meet with policy makers, the FDA and now with the Office of Management and Budget to advocate sensible regulation regarding vapor products. While the final deeming regulations are under review, it is important that we all respect the process and focus the vapor discussion on harm reduction.
We have a distinguished member of the Senate whom, along with several colleagues made an emotional plea against the evils of Electronic Nicotine Devices, and, in his words, all other forms of tobacco being called into question by a trade association. This is something that regularly happens in many industries but unfortunately for the politicians involved, the science isn’t on their side. Every claim made by SFATA can be backed with scientific fact while the senators “proof” lay in cherry picked sections from reports that have either been proven truly false or would have been given different meaning had he bothered to read the next line. He cited a CDC study of teen use, that had he paid attention, did not show that millions of teens were vaping regularly, but that a small number of teens who were already smoking had made a less harmful choice. He made the case that, according to the CDC the pathway from Electronic cigarettes to smoking combustible tobacco was rampant amongst teens. Again, another piece of information that can be dispelled by doing less than a minutes worth of research. He stated that the sale of vaping supplies online made it easy for children to access these products, which to any normal human being has very little to do with this industry but is a much larger problem that needs to be addressed with the financial system and familial access to credit cards.
The bottom line is that we currently have political players with an agenda to eradicate the electronic nicotine delivery industry by any means necessary. Whether they are misguided fools or have ulterior motives is a discussion for a different thread on a different day. Regardless of motivation these people are dangerous, not just to vapers but the health of the world in general. With each victory they feel they achieve they are potentially killing millions of the very children they are attempting to protect.
As always, enjoy your vaporizer and vape safe!