Vape News In Brief: November 21, 2017 Edition
Welcome back! It's been a while, so let's dive into our weekly-ish look around the world of vaping and catch up on what's been in the news lately…
Research: A new study out of Tennessee finds that cigarette smokers in the state are eight times more likely to try a vapor device than non-smokers. Further, vapers are 3.5 times more likely to attempt to quit than smokers who don't vape. "There's evidence here that Tennessee smokers are using e-cigarettes as an aid to quit smoking," says investigator Ransom Wyse, MPH, an epidemiologist with the Tennessee Department of Health in Nashville. "This is the first time we've seen this." Oh, really?
You're probably familiar with the finding by England's lead medical body that vaping is 95% safer than smoking. Consider that number quaint – a new study that's set to be published in a scientific research journal in January pegs vaping as 5700 times less dangerous than smoking. Wow. We're certainly interested in seeing how they come to that conclusion.
Singapore has some of the world's toughest vaping laws – a total ban, essentially. But now some members of Parliament are questioning the ban, arguing that smokers looking to quit should be encouraged through all means possible, and that the total ban provides a misguided impression that vaping might be even more harmful than using tobacco products (it's not). Kudos.
File to: Savings. Hitting a number that's been remarkably consistent over the years, a new poll finds that vapers report saving about $1500 a year when comparing their vapor gear and liquid spending to their previous cigarette cash outlay. We've seen a number of these polls over the years, and regardless of methodology or target group, the savings number comes up about the same. But given consistently rising tobacco prices, shouldn't the savings be rising as well? Perhaps not, when there's always one more cool mod that *must* join your collection!
Outdated junk science – the University of North Carolina has recently discovered that the number of online vape retailers *tripled* . . . between 2013 and 2014. Intro quote: "The researchers called this growth worrisome due to findings of low prices, a range of appealing flavors and ineffective age restrictions that could make these products accessible to youth." We're not sure what's worrisome about low prices or a range of appealing flavors (we've got the widest and most appealing range on the web – what, us worry?), but why a study of what was happening in the world nearly four years ago that ignores the huge leap forward in age sale restrictions and age verification technology seems kind of pointless. Bonus: later in the piece the researchers go on to claim that it's illegal to purchase cigarettes using a credit card nationwide.
This piece is mostly throwaway boilerplate about how people still smoke, how smoking is bad, and how people who vape are still considered smokers by the US government. But then, this little nugget at the bottom for vapers who've hoped new FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb would be friendlier than past administrations toward vaping: "The FDA is focusing on the role that nicotine plays in creating and sustaining addiction to combustible cigarettes, by seeking to regulate the nicotine content in cigarettes to render them minimally or non-addictive. This will be coupled with efforts to encourage innovation of potentially less harmful products, including electronic nicotine delivery systems." There you have it – sensible policy reform on the horizon!
Meanwhile, our friends in Great Britain, who've wholeheartedly embraced vaping as a means of harm reduction, believe their entire nation could be effectively smoke-free by 2040. Of course, they're considering a smoking rate of less than five percent of the population to count as "effectively" smoke-free, but that's still a bold move toward eradicating one of society's most harmful vices.
A new angle from the "vaping leads to smoking" crowd – adolescent users of extremely-high-nicotine vapor products like new-generation cigalikes are more likely to smoke, and to smoke heavily. The study authors admit that they're having some issues with methodology, and as in many instances our big complaint is that they've identified a commonality rather than a cause. Still, this may warrant further attention if follow-up studies reach similar conclusions.
A member of a South Korean roots reggae band has had a potential fine of 10 million won for being caught vaping on a plane reduced to just 1 million. Still sound harsh? That's only about $895 American.
We'll call that a wrap for today – tune in next time (soon, probably), same vape time (unlikely), same vape channel (website)!