With the current government outcry over vaping-related illnesses and deaths, you’d think the nation was in the midst of a public health crisis. The Trump administration was recently reported to be finalizing a proposal to ban flavored e-cigarettes. Today, news reports show a bipartisan bill in Washington, DC seeking to accomplish the same thing— and more. But do the numbers match the hype?
Politico describes the current political situation regarding vaping as a:
“… response to an epidemic of teen vaping amid a potentially unrelated outbreak of a mysterious vaping-related disease that’s stricken 530 and killed seven people.”
To put this in perspective, let’s consider smoking-related illnesses and deaths. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), cigarettes alone are responsible for more than 16 million Americans living with disease. They also cause more than 480,000 deaths per year— with 41,000 of those estimated to be caused by secondhand smoke. That averages out to be over 1,300 deaths per day— almost one death every minute. And that’s not even considering the negative affects of smokeless tobacco.
If certain politicians are in favor of banning flavored e-cigarettes, as a response to over 500 vaping-related illnesses and seven deaths, then where is the outcry over the nearly half a million deaths caused by smoking every year?
Look, I get it. Any disease or death in these situations is tragic. As someone who chooses not to use any of these products, I’m baffled by the fact that people do. But it sure seems to me that the outcry over vaping is horribly inconsistent when we consider the numbers related to tobacco use.
Do I believe government regulation will do much — if anything — to end the use of these types of vaping products? No. And let’s not forget, as Dr. Michael Siegel at Boston University School of Public Health told ABC News:
“This outbreak does not appear to be associated with traditional legally-sold e-cigarettes, but with illicit and sometimes counterfeit THC vaping cartridges.”
In other words, street drugs obtained through the black market are the culprit.
Prohibition of alcohol was a failure. The War on Marijuana hasn’t been any better. In fact, it can be argued that its been even worse. Should we honestly believe a ban on flavored e-cigs is the magic bullet here? I don’t think so.
At the very least, those who support a ban should be consistent in their arguments. Because as tragic as these illnesses and deaths are, they’re not even a drop in the bucket when compared to the consequences of tobacco use.
Like so many other things, the government should just leave it alone.
Note: If you’re interested in a segment on this issue with Point of View’s Chris Berg, you can see it below.
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Vaping – what is it and how you can be more aware if your kids are doing it.
Posted by POVnow on Thursday, September 19, 2019