E-Cigarettes and Lawmakers: The Issues Behind the Issues

  1. US law-makers and vaping

The issues of lawmakers making claims about e-cigarettes may be based on the public good. However, these claims are speculative, and may place the public in greater danger – by taking away e-cigarettes.

The use of e-cigarettes has exploded in recent years, with some predicting that “vaping” as it is called by users, will become more popular than conventional tobacco cigarettes within a decade. This growth in use has happened faster than researchers can keep up with, leading some lawmakers to argue that e-cigarettes may not be as safe as manufacturers claim. This has led to some proposing regulations that would inhibit their usage, as well as regulate their manufacturing.

The Case Against E-Cigarettes

What is the issue some lawmakers have with electronic cigarettes? Some argue that they haven’t been around long enough to trust. Studies were performed for decades before tobacco products were deemed harmful for health, and it is only recently that stricter regulations have been put in place for their usage. Many lawmakers are proposing that similar restrictions be placed on e-cigarettes. In fact, according to many news sites, bans on e-cigarettes being used in indoor public spaces have already been put in place in some counties. While upholding the public good is always a positive, is the distrust of e-cigarettes well founded?

According to a report by The Guardian, citing well known health advocacy groups, all studies so far have pointed to electronic cigarettes being far safer than typical tobacco cigarettes. Where tobacco products contains over 7,000 chemicals and ingredients, many of which are known carcinogens, e-cigarettes typically only contain four or five simple ingredients. One of these ingredients is purified water, while two of the active ingredients, propylene glycol and glycerin are commonly used in medications and other substances. They are also deemed by the FDA to be safe for use.

Still, lawmakers claim that electronic cigarettes simply haven’t been around long enough to be thoroughly studied for safety. Their primary argument is that e-cigarettes are not regulated by the FDA like other nicotine replacement products, so their safety cannot be guaranteed. While it is true that e-cigs are not regulated, as they aren’t sold as medical devices, some e-cigarettes makers have opened their factories up for scrutiny by the FDA, regardless. Others have third parties inspect and verify that their ingredients are the same as listed. These open companies leave no reason for suspicion, especially in light of Big Tobaccos often unscrupulous marketing tactics, skewed scientific studies, and morally questionable political funding.

Are E-Cigarettes Safe?

Many lawmakers aim to have further regulations be placed on e-cigarettes, with some pushing forward legislation as quickly as possible, as USA Today reports. These restrictions may include high taxes on their sales, prevention of teens and young people buying e-cigs, and other restrictions which would make their purchase harder. Many do not take into account that e-cigarette manufacturers and vendors already prohibit the sale and use to minors. Others claim that they should have to undergo the same scrutiny as other nicotine replacement products. Studies have been performed, however, and they have shown that e-cigs are much safer than tobacco. There are no indications that they are as harmful as cigarette smoke, and have shown no increase, acceleration, or causation of disease at all. Since e-cigarettes release no smoke and contain only a few ingredients, many feel that lawmakers may be putting their energies in the wrong places.

Instead of lumping e-cigarettes and tobacco products together, further restrictions and regulations would be better placed on tobacco products. These products have been shown in countless studies to increase health problems in users, and anyone who comes into contact with users. Buckling down on e-cigs may even encourage some smokers to continue with their dangerous habit due to e-cigarettes being harder to acquire. This may prove to be devastating to public health. These safety claims might actually prove dangerous, and may place the public at greater risk in the long run.