If you were someone who wanted to eradicate the vaping industry for your own personal, financial, or political gain, how would you go about it? Anyone with even a few active brain cells can tell from a distant glance that vaporizers are very different from conventional cigarettes. Yet public health officials from agencies like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CFC) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) often state that vaping is a gateway to future tobacco addiction.
As a result, we are beginning to see more legislation being introduced at the state and local levels proposing a ban on outdoor smoking, and by extension, vaping. They say that vaping is a way to “renormalize” smoking. By issuing public bans on smoking and vaping in state parks, patio restaurants, and other outdoor venues, anti-tobacco activists claim America’s youth will no longer be tempted to take up smoking in the future.
The Gateway Strategy
It’s the out-of-sight-out-of-mind system of government. Rather than hold parents accountable for the upbringing of their own children, politicians use the excuse that vaping is a gateway to smoking as a way to get what they want. What do they want? They want the legal authority to regulate and tax the heck out of a fledgling industry that is too young to have achieved the political influence of more powerful institutions like Big Tobacco and Big Pharma, two of vaping’s largest competitors. Here are three reasons why vaping does not renormalize smoking.
1. Smoking is already ‘normalized.”
According to the CDC, 17.8 percent of the American population already smokes. That’s about 40 million people walking around with Marlboros and Salems hanging out of their mouths. By comparison, there are more people smoking than there are people with blue eyes or red hair. Smokers also outnumber the number of Americans who are age 65 and over. Unfortunately, smoking already is “normal.” Vaping is not.
2. The numbers don’t add up.
If vaping is a gateway to smoking, then why are the numbers of new smokers in a freefall over the past few years? By the CDC’s own admission, the numbers of American smokers dropped from 20.9 percent in 2005 to 17.8 percent eight years later. And the percentages are dropping even more rapidly since e-cigs and vaping have become so accessible and cost-effective. If vaping and e-cigs are a gateway to smoking, as the CDC and the FDA claim, then the smoking rates should be skyrocketing out of control.
3. Vaping should be viewed as a good thing.
If parents are truly worried about little Johnny or Janie getting hooked on smoking, then they are missing a wonderful educational opportunity by equating vaping with smoking. When little Johnnie asks, “What is that man doing sucking on that huge metal thing? Is he smoking?” Mom and Pop should really be answering, “No, Johnnie. Smoking is bad. That man is actually trying to quit. That device helps him do it.” Vaping should be viewed as a form of positive reinforcement when educating our youth about the dangers of smoking.
The FDA deeming regulations are not ‘normal.’
Vaping will never be “normal.” The technology simply advances too fast. Although, if the FDA gets its way and the deeming regulations remain unchanged, then technological progress will stall to a snail’s pace due to the massive amounts of bureaucratic red tape surrounding the Pre-Market Tobacco Application (PMTA) process.
The PMTA is estimated to cost in upwards of $1 million per product and take as long as 1700 business hours to gain approval. If you were someone who wanted to eradicate the vaping industry for your own personal, financial, or political gain, implementing public vaping bans and legislation like the FDA deeming regulations would be the perfect way to go about it.
Article Credit: Matt Rowland