E-cig bans and restrictions are spreading like wildfire across the United States. Last month, San Francisco banned the sale of vaping products, and public health experts are worried that other cities will follow suit. In an article on Yahoo News, renowned expert in the field and professor in the Department of Community Health Sciences at Boston University School of Public Health, Dr. Michael Siegel, explained why banning or restricting these devices, whilst leaving cigarettes available for all to purchase, is madness.

Sadly there is no mention of the fact that if teens are vaping instead of smoking (which is the case) this is a positive stride towards better public health.

In 2015, Public Health England (PHE) had officially declared that “vaping is at least 95% safer than smoking.” A statement which the health organisation re-confirmed in 2018, when it was time to launch its new campaign called “PHE’s Health Harms campaign”. This figure has also been verified by numerous studies world wide, and the devices have also been found to be the most effective smoking cessation tools to date.

Meanwhile, panic keeps spreading across the US, as the FDA claims that vaping amongst teens has become an “epidemic”. Sadly there is no mention of the fact that if teens are vaping instead of smoking (which is the case) this is a positive stride towards better public health.

“As the FDA acknowledges, nicotine “is most harmful when delivered through combustible tobacco products. Vaping doesn’t release the toxins that come from burning tobacco and that lead to lung cancer, emphysema, and heart disease. By itself, nicotine is addictive — but not toxic,” says Siegel.

Data from other countries tell a different story

In fact, on the contrary to the alleged alarming US figures reported by the US FDA, an ASH report from the UK where vaping has been totally endorsed for smoking cessation and smoking rates are at an all time low, indicates a different story. The proportion of under 18s who try vaping has dropped to the lowest level since 2016.

“Vaping is much less common among young people who have never smoked. A large majority of never smokers aged 11-18, 93.8% in total, have either never used an e-cigarette (87.8%) or are unaware of them (6.0%). Of young people aged 11-18 years old who have never smoked, 5.5% have ever tried e-cigarettes, 0.8% are current vapers, only 0.1% vape more than once a week, and not a single never smoker reported vaping daily,” said the report.

The US ignores research about the benefit of e-cigs for harm reduction

Sadly the US keeps ignoring the research and data that clearly indicate the benefit of including e-cigarettes in smoking cessation programs, rather than banning them. “Bans such as the ones in San Francisco and Brookline, however well-intentioned, put thousands of former smokers at greater risk of relapse by limiting their access to healthier alternatives. Smokers who are thinking about quitting, and who know that e-cigarettes are an effective tool for stopping, have yet another obstacle in their way,” concluded the anti-smoking expert.