Follow The Science When Regulating Vaping, By Justin Leventhal


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Follow The Science When Regulating Vaping, By Justin Leventhal
Follow The Science When Regulating Vaping, By Justin Leventhal

The article presents a viewpoint on the regulation of vaping products, emphasizing the importance of following scientific evidence when making regulatory decisions. The author argues that regulators should consider the relative harm of different nicotine delivery methods and avoid pushing individuals towards more harmful alternatives.

While acknowledging that vaping is not harmless, the article highlights studies suggesting that vaping is significantly safer than smoking traditional tobacco products. The United Kingdom Royal College of Physicians, for example, has found vaping to be 95 percent safer than smoking. Another study suggests that if all American smokers switched to vaping over 10 years, it could potentially save millions of years of life for the population as a whole.

The author cautions against measures that may unintentionally steer individuals towards smoking cigarettes, which are known to be much more dangerous. The article mentions that limits on flavored e-cigarette sales, aimed at curbing teen use, may not effectively address the main reasons why teens begin vaping. Instead, addressing youth access to nicotine is suggested as a more effective approach to reducing risks.

Furthermore, the article argues for greater transparency and regulation of vaping products. It criticizes the slow approval process for products that could help smokers quit and highlights the need to police unregulated products in the market to ensure safety.

The article also challenges the notion that vaping acts as a gateway to smoking. Data from the National Youth Tobacco Survey indicates that while smoking rates have decreased among high school students, vaping has become the primary nicotine use method. The data also show that most high school seniors who smoke also vape, but very few who vape also smoke. Therefore, pushing individuals back towards smoking would be considered reckless given the significant difference in health risks.

The article concludes by emphasizing the need for regulations that protect public health without hindering adults’ ability to quit smoking. It calls for stricter regulation of unregulated products and the sale of all nicotine products to individuals under the age of 21 while ensuring that smokers have access to safer alternatives.

In summary, the article argues that regulatory decisions regarding vaping should be based on scientific evidence, with an understanding of the relative harm of different nicotine delivery methods. It stresses the importance of avoiding measures that might inadvertently push individuals towards more dangerous alternatives. Transparency, regulation, and addressing youth access to nicotine are recommended as key strategies to reduce risks associated with vaping.

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