In the coming 2019, electronic cigarettes will undoubtedly be a hot topic in the United States. In order to deal with a series of problems caused by illegal e-cigarettes, the United States has launched an emergency e-cigarette ban. A column published on December 13 in science pointed out that the problems caused by vapes need to be solved as soon as possible, but the one size fits all ban on electronic cigarettes will do more harm than good.
“Restricting access and appeal among less harmful vaping products out of an abundance of caution while leaving deadly combustible products on the market does not protect public health.” The author writes in the article.
Founded by Edison in 1880, Science is one of the most authoritative academic journals in the world. The article was written by scientists from Ohio State University, Emory University, New York University and Columbia University School of public health. Scientists believe that although e-cigarettes are not 100% safe, e-cigarettes are safer alternatives to cigarettes that can help people quit smoking. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), cigarettes kill more than 480000 Americans every year.
The Science journal says, “The most conservative estimates suggest that were vaping nicotine to replace most smoking over the next 10 years, 1.6 million premature deaths would be avoided and 20.8 million quality adjusted years of life would be saved in the United States alone. The greatest gains would be among younger cohorts. Across the globe, more than 8 million smokers will die prematurely from smoking cigarettes, not from nicotine itself, in 2019 alone.”
A rude ban will cause a backlash
As of December 10, the U.S. CDC reported 2409 lung injuries and 52 deaths nationwide. CDC data show that the main culprit of related diseases is the illegal THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) products popular on the black market, rather than the irregular nicotine e-cigarettes.
Facing these new problems, we are in danger of overreaction, which makes it easy for people to ignore the truth and focus only on those dangerous and sensational statements, Science said. The author believes that many aspects of policy discussion in the United States fail to meet the requirements and often fail to effectively distinguish between nicotine and THC products, adult and young smokers, retail market and black market.
The result is a simple and crude ban on e-cigarettes, while traditional cigarettes are still sold on the market. Such a blanket ban could either push e-cigarette users to the black market or re smoke cigarettes, Science denoted.
“E-cigarettes are not without risk, they are relatively safe,” said Amy Fairchild, Dean of the school of public health at Ohio State University and the lead author of the article.
He cited a 2018 report from the National Academy of science, engineering and medicine that found that replacing traditional cigarettes with nicotine e-cigarettes reduced the likelihood of smokers’ exposure to “a wide range of poisons and carcinogens.”. A series of studies and results show that the harm of e-cigarettes to individuals seems to be smaller than that of cigarettes.
The author is not saying that e-cigarettes are harmless, but safer than traditional cigarettes.
Minors should not be exposed to any electronic cigarettes
The focus of American society is also the use of electronic cigarettes for teenagers.
In recent months, several states in the United States have sued e-cigarette manufacturers for marketing to minors. Public outrage is also focused on the novelty of e-cigarettes, such as the flavor of gum, which seems to be aimed at children.
According to Science, minors should not use any form of nicotine or thc products. Age restriction and taxation are effective ways to restrict the minors.
However, Science also pointed out that although the number of e-cigarettes used by young people has increased in recent years, the proportion of young people smoking cigarettes has declined faster over the same period, which shows that e-cigarettes to some extent replace traditional cigarettes rather than cultivate new users.
Fair Child said that instead of banning e-cigarettes overall, it would be better to intervene by age, such as limiting the minimum consumption age and banning marketing to minors, which would be huge progress.
E-cigarettes are safer. We need to find a regulatory balance like the UK
Another special problem comes from the academic field. According to the research methods of clinical medicine, it needs decades of observation and research to fully understand the long-term impact of electronic cigarette on human body.
Science magazine believes that there are too many people who die from smoking cigarettes every day, and that there is enough evidence for e-cigarettes to drive reasonable action.
There is evidence that the vast majority of smokers have successfully converted from cigarettes to electronic cigarettes, from menthol taste to other tastes, and reduced the concentration of nicotine or even 0 nicotine.
In the absence of definitive evidence, policy making must be weighed repeatedly. It should be noted, however, that policies have an impact on those who have never smoked, especially young people, and also on the broader smoking population. It is estimated that in the 21st century, more than one billion smokers will die prematurely.
The author believes that the policy can find a balance point so that smokers can use controlled nicotine e-cigarettes and take effective measures to avoid minors’ use.
The UK has seen nicotine e-cigarettes as a safer alternative to cigarettes, and it has put in place appropriate regulations to regulate young people and help adult smokers quit smoking. The UK regulates the safety and quality of all products on the market through regulatory authorities and prohibits the sale of THC products.
More strict supervision system is needed for the control of electronic cigarettes. Although the United States CDC and FDA have identified the root cause of lung disease through search and analysis, other complications may occur, and vitamin E may not be the only chemical of concern. Continuous monitoring is the best way to detect hazards as early as possible when vape safety cannot be absolutely determined.
In the end, science pointed out that although the overall ban can immediately alleviate some problems, the solution needs to be more precise and avoid confusing THC with nicotine e-cigarettes. If only focus on some groups while neglecting the whole population, the policy will do more harm than good. No matter any regulations and policies are issued, the risks of all parties must be fully considered and balanced.