The Council of Chief Medical Officers of Health have released a statement regarding vaping, with a particular focus on the illicit practice of youth vaping as well as touching upon the recent spate of medical events related to the use of black market products.

While there are some assertions contained within the statement with which readers may take issue, there is one particular guidelines that is quite notable.

The statement, which can be read in full on BioSpace, contains the usual admonitions that vaping, while not as harmful as smoking combustible tobacco is not 100 percent harmless. This, of course, is not news to vapers; it is a truism that nothing is 100 percent free of harm or the risk of harm.

Of note, however, is a listing of guidance from the Council:

  • If you don’t smoke, don’t vape.
  • Vaping is not recommended for youth, pregnant women, or adults who do not currently use tobacco products.
  • Youth who vape should seek support to quit completely.
  • Youth and adults currently vaping nicotine should NOT switch to smoking tobacco products.
  • If you use vaping products, do not buy them from illegal or unregulated sources, including products containing THC. Products obtained from the illegal market are not subject to any controls or oversight and may pose additional risks to your health and safety.
  • You should never modify vaping products or add any substances to these products that are not intended by the manufacturer.
  • You should let your health care provider know about your vaping history, especially if you have respiratory symptoms.

While all of the above guidance is absolutely sound, the piece of guidance which might jump out at a reader’s attention is the admonition that, “Youth and adults currently vaping nicotine should NOT switch to smoking tobacco products.” This is perhaps the best among these guidelines, and is certainly a welcome counterpoint to rising sensationalism which could well lead to former smokers relapsing into the status of current smokers. We wish to gratefully acknowledge the Council’s commitment to public health on this point.

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