Vape News in Brief
March 13, 2017
As the phenomenon that is vaping continues to ride a wave of expanding popularity, it can become hard to follow all the progress and setbacks dealt across the country and, indeed, the world. While we'll continue to examine the big issues in-depth, we feel it's also time to touch on some of the smaller stories that other vaping sites might miss. For example, in just the last week…
- The state senate in New Mexico voted to treat vapor the same way it treats tobacco smoke statewide. While the bill passed on a 30-10 vote, vocal opponents pointed out that there is no scientific proof vapor is as harmful as smoke. We found this quite the interesting take, as the same "no scientific evidence" claim has been used in the past by vapor opponents to push for sweeping bans under the assertion that there's no proof vaping *isn't* just as bad as burning tobacco. The bill still has to go through the state's house of representatives, and previous attempts in New Mexico to ban vaping wherever smoking is restricted have died, so this isn't quite a done deal.
- A new study takes data provided by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in an attempt to demonize choices in e-liquid flavoring and turns the feds' findings back against their claims. While the research, when released a few months ago, cited a high number of youth (81%) who said they were drawn to e-cigarettes because of the variety of flavorings available (a similar number of adults who've used vaping to quit said the same thing), they buried the lede – 92%, even more than the number citing flavors as an attractive factor, cited harm reduction to themselves and those around them as a reason to choose to vape and not smoke. Taken in context, the fact that even teens know vaping is safer than smoking means they're less likely to end up transitioning from e-cigs to tobacco products. And that blows a gaping hole in the government's rationale for making vaping products harder to get.
- Meanwhile, across the pond, the number of smokers in Britain has reached its lowest point since record-keeping began in 1974. Vaping has been credited as a contributing factor in the record decline in smoking popularity – though only 4% of the population vape regularly, official government findings in England tout vaping as 95% safer than smoking, encouraging more users to give vapor products a try.
- In yet another rebuke to the youth smoking argument, new peer-reviewed research suggests that teens and young adults "perceive e-cigarettes as vastly different from smoking." Though "all vapers are overwhelmingly current and former smokers," researchers have repeated the findings of earlier studies that "failed to find any demonstrable link between e-cigarette use and increased likelihood of tobacco consumption."
- Legislators in Pennsylvania are moving to a 40 percent tax on vapor products that's proved disastrous for the state's vape economy, causing more than 100 brick-and-mortar shops to close since it was enacted in October 2016. The hopes are that it will be replaced with a five-cents-per-milliliter tax on e-liquid.
- Finally, a Florida man lit his pants on fire during a court trial where his client was facing arson charges. The lawyer blamed a faulty e-cigarette battery, but witnesses say they saw him fiddling with the vape just before it started smoking, suggesting he may have been attempting to anchor his client's defense that a car he was accused of setting on fire spontaneously combusted. The defendant was later convicted, and the lawyer may face contempt of court charges, though no one appears to have been injured.