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Save Vaping and Question Everything

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While many Americans do not know what vaping is, if you are a smoker that has ever tried to quit smoking, then you have probably heard of vaping. Vaping is a much better and healthier alternative to smoking (so says the Royal College of Physicians) Yet, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), an agency charged with protecting the health of Americans, has effectively banned these life-saving devices through onerous and egregious regulations.

Why did they do that?

Why a government agency does anything is anyone’s best guess. Though, if we look at history, it is highly likely that the decision has little to do with health or safety but more with the decision being in the best interests of the FDA and state governments.

The reason most often given by the FDA to ban vaping is that vaping by teens has supposedly increased by 900%, even though smoking of cigarettes has declined. They point to two main surveys that they call proof of the increase in vaping, the National Youth Tobacco Survey and the Youth Tobacco Survey. These are surveys that are supposedly an accurate reflection – of which the youth of our nation will voluntarily come forward with accurate answers in admission of their breaking of the law in smoking or vaping under the age of 18. (yeah, we can believe in its accuracy, sarcasm)

In an age where the FDA has turned its head the other way on many states legalizing the use of marijuana. The FDA has chosen to have a laser focus on vaping. To determine why there is a love for marijuana and no love for vaping, one merely has to look at the too big to fail mentality of the tobacco tax at the federal and state levels. Because of vaping, not because of the obnoxious truth in smoking campaigns, smoking has fallen in the general public. A decline in smoking means a decline in taxes and we can’t have that now can we?

Let’s give a little background and let’s recap a bit. Though there is a mountain of evidence and common sense would dictate that vaping is healthier than smoking, and a vaping device is more expensive than a cigarette, the FDA would have you believe that children will buy more expensive vaping devices rather than cheap cigarettes and that more children are being harmed by vaping even though fewer children, by their own admission (the FDA) are smoking.

A $6 pack of cigarettes or a $45 – $100 vaping pen and $30 of vaping liquid. You tell us what is more accessible by a teenager.

Should the results of the Center for Disease Control tobacco surveys be questioned? Of course, they should be! After all, these surveys are given by schools which are some of the biggest benefactors of tobacco taxes. All surveys are only as good as the data that is collected. Who is to say erstwhile teachers in fear for their jobs do not take it upon themselves to help along results that may ensure their jobs are retained? Then you also have to question, just how accurate can a survey of 6th graders to 12 graders possibly be? It is hard enough to get accurate polls and surveys from adults to pick who will win the presidency and we expect there to be enough of a degree of accuracy in a youth survey to justify shutting down a multi-billion dollar industry?

This is just plain craziness.

At the very least, these youth tobacco surveys should be independently audited for accuracy.

Common sense should tell us that the higher initial cost of entry into vaping is a deterrent in, and of, itself to teenagers without a lot of disposable income. And if many more children are vaping, does that mean that they were once smoking cigarettes and are now vaping (which is much healthier), a step in the right direction we would argue.

Then there are the intangibles to question.

Many would argue when the drinking age was raised from 18 to 21 in the 1980’s that college binge drinking skyrocketed, marijuana use and other hardcore drugs increased, and violence increased (date rape drugs and school shootings). It is not out of place to question whether or not the prohibition of alcohol for those 18, 19, and 20 years of age has led to the explosion of marijuana use and the use of hardcore drugs such as heroin. If more children are replacing smoking with vaping, which is highly suspect, then who is to say that effectively banning vaping won’t lead to an outcome that compromises the health and safety of America’s youth?

Unfortunately, the American public does not get the benefit of hearing both sides of a story unless the other side is well organized and has a large enough of a grassroots effort to be heard.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) is often credited with saving thousands of lives by preventing teen related deaths due to drunk driving teens. There is no science or statistics that support the reduction of deaths being related to a higher drinking age. While MADD likes to believe it was their efforts that reduced deaths auto manufacturers might attribute it to anti-lock braking systems, traction control, better steering and handling systems, and airbags. Seat belt laws may have been a larger contributor to the reduction of teen deaths. Scientists may have concluded since the bars and taverns were no longer opened to 18, 19, and 20-year-olds that there were a lot less inexperienced drivers driving at night and that a ban on 18, 19, and 20-year-olds driving after dark would have netted the same results as banning drinking for this age group.

Had young adults been able to mobilize a grassroots effort to counter MADD and get its message out, we may very well not now have a heroin problem of epic proportions because alcohol could have been more readily available and legal. When you make it easy for teens to break the law to let off a little steam then don’t be surprised when they go to an extreme with illegal behavior and start using heroin that is cheap and readily available, even though it is illegal. Many parents would rather their children not vape or smoke, but most, if they have their choice, would rather have them vape because it is a healthier alternative.

If the vaping community is to survive and get the FDA ruling overturned it should look closely what happens when the grassroots do not organize, in the case of young adults versus MADD. MADD was well organized and the young adults were not. On the flip side grassroots such as the National Rifle Association (NRA) is a group that is highly organized and one of the most powerful organizations in Washington D.C. because of its members.

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