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Why The Proposed US Vape Flavour Ban Has Bigger Ramifications!

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It’s easy to assume that just because something is happening in a country thousands of kilometres away, it won’t impact you, but the impending flavour ban in the United States could have far-reaching consequences!

A recent announcement from the United States regarding a plan to ban all flavoured e-liquid products will most likely cause much more harm than good. It will force vapers to turn to black-market e-liquids and ingredients or even back to smoking traditional cigarettes. 

We already live in an age where you can vape in one country because they believe it’s a safer alternative to traditional cigarettes and then travel to another country where vaping is as illegal as narcotics. 

Currently, according to the World Health Organisation, there are approximately 1.1 billion people smoking traditional cigarettes, which are known causes of cancer-related illness and death. There are approximately 8 million smoking-related deaths per year. 

Many people consider the proposal to ban flavoured e-liquid as an unwarranted, uneducated, and unnecessary reaction to Vaping Associated Pulmonary Injury (VAPI). The worst thing about this is that VAPI hasn’t even been linked to vapers using flavoured nicotine e-liquid. Experts linked the VAPI epidemic to unregulated, illicit, vape pods that contain THC. 

If the war on drugs proved anything, it was that taking a hardline approach to solving a problem is doomed to fail and ultimately make the situation worse.

The Measured Approach To Vaping

While a lot of vapers in the United States didn’t 100% agree with the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) approach to regulating vaping, at least they were following a plan to introduce thought out regulation. 

This knee jerk reaction to completely ban all e-liquid flavours, including menthol and mint, completely throws the FDA’s plan on regulation out the window. While it may not be the best regulation, the United States was one of the only countries in the world to have a regulatory pathway for all types of reduced-risk-products. 

The EU has placed a restrictive size limit on e-liquid bottles and vaporizer tanks, while other countries such as Australia, India, and many other Asian countries outlawed e-cigarettes altogether. 

An Opportunity To Promote Healthy Vaping Regulation

Regardless of whether it’s right or wrong, many international governing bodies follow the US’s lead when it comes to policymaking. Most of the world rightly or wrongly followed their lead on the war against drugs. 

If the United States implements this knee jerk reaction to VAPI by banning e-liquid flavours, then it could have disastrous consequences for vapers all around the world. Instead of leading the world in a well thought out plan to regulate and manage vaporizers and e-liquid, they will end up leading them down a disastrous path. 

The United States has the opportunity to provide an enormously influential framework of how to approach the regulation of innovations such as vaping with massive potential to boost global public health. 

We already have big pharma pushing nicotine replacement therapy options such as gum, patches, drinks, and sprays. Why wouldn’t we want to add another product which has proven in studies to one of the most effective ways for smokers to quit smoking? 

A study which was published in The New England Journal of Medicine found that smokers who used e-cigarettes to help them quit smoking were twice as likely after 12 months to have remained cigarette free when compared to those who used traditional nicotine replacement options. While the FDA’s approach to e-cigarettes and e-liquid isn’t perfect, they continue to acknowledge that vaping has a lot of potentials to reduce harm to public health. Public Health United Kingdom has gone as far as stating that vaping could be as much as 95% safer than smoking traditional cigarettes.

Why Do Vapers Want To Vape Flavored E-Liquid? 

There is some evidence which indicates that flavoured vaping products, other than tobacco flavour, could actually help adult smokers make the transition away from cigarettes. There have been numerous studies that suggest that many adult vapers actually prefer fruit or candy flavours over tobacco or menthol flavours. 

It’s not just their taste buds making these decisions. Many health professionals believe that having flavoured e-liquid help smokers to dissociate the behavioural aspects of smoking from the taste and smell of tobacco. Habit is one of the biggest hurdles for those that are looking to quit smoking traditional cigarettes. 

If you dissociate the taste and smell of tobacco from the habit of smoking, it can make it much easier for smokers to break the habit. As a result of this, different flavours can act as a type of stimulus for Pavlovian conditioning, helping smokers gradually transition away from traditional cigarettes and, ultimately, all tobacco products. 

If we ban flavoured e-liquid, we are taking away one of the important aspects of e-cigarettes, which helps many people make the transition away from cigarettes. Not only that, but we are also implying that adults can’t be responsible enough to make decisions for themselves. 

Teenagers and young adults drink alcohol and smoke traditional cigarettes, but we haven’t banned flavours or brands. What we did was establish a strong regulatory framework that limits underage drinkers and smokers to alcohol and cigarettes. Both of which are responsible for millions of deaths and illnesses all around the world. Adding vast amounts of debts to already overburdened public health systems. 

We could establish strict regulatory age restrictions on all vaping products and e-liquids, limiting access to those 18 years or older. Plain packaging on e-liquids (even though statistics based on Australia’s move to plain packaging showed that it failed to decrease the number of smokers). Limit advertising of e-liquids in places where they may be exposed to children — strict quality control and procedures which regulate the manufacture, packaging, distribution, and sales of e-liquid. 

There are a lot of options open to legislative bodies that make a lot more sense than simply banning flavoured e-liquids altogether. 

In Conclusion 

A flavour ban is not supported by any current research, and it doesn’t address concerns over adolescent use. Not only that, but it has the potential to set tobacco control back, significantly impacting the number of people that successfully quit smoking. 

There is no denying that the recent deaths and illnesses have raised concerns over the use of vaporizers, but banning a product such as flavoured e-liquids, which had nothing to do with the illness, not only doesn’t make sense but it’s also counterproductive. 

Will the millions of vapers around the world simply wake up and say ‘okay, I guess I won’t vape flavoured e-liquid anymore’ if the flavours were banned? No. They wouldn’t. A large percentage would simply start making their own e-liquids at home and adding flavours or turn to black-market companies that don’t have to comply with any health and safety regulations. 

Vaping Age in U.S.A on the rise to R21+ 

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