The Vaping Industry Trade Association (VITA) has spoken up for National Non-Smoking Week with a call for balanced action on vaping, and an acknowledgement of its benefit to public health, from all levels of government.
It is estimated that there were roughly 292 thousand regular vapers in Canada as of 2017. Survey data indicates that most regular vapers have quit tobacco for good. VITA presses government to acknowledge these vapers and to consider how policy proposals may adversely affect their ability to remain free of tobacco smoking and the harms it causes.
Those harms have been largely linked to the byproducts of tobacco combustion, a process not present in vaping. This has led the government of the United Kingdom to conclude, based on expert review from Public Health England, that vaping is roughly 95 percent less harmful than smoking. Furthermore, according to reporting by Sky News, a study by the Royal Society for Public Health has found nicotine itself is not the agent of direct harm in tobacco use. According to the study, nicotine alone is no more harmful than caffeine; it’s the method of delivery which is either more or less harmful.
Daniel David, President of VITA, says:
“Yet because nicotine is addictive, a range of nicotine strengths is important to the smoker who is interested in transitioning towards a less harmful product and potentially decreasing their use to zero nicotine over time. Similarly, flavours are an important product feature to incentivize adult smokers to make the switch to vaping.”
“But the adult smoker population and its needs seem to have been forgotten as governments from Coast to Coast are proposing new regulations that will limit nicotine content, impose a tax, ban flavours and restrict the sale of vaping products to fewer locations. These policies have the effect of making the products less accessible, less affordable and less attractive to the adult smoker.”
This may be anything but a problem to tobacco companies. Reporting from Forbes demonstrates an inverse correlation between vapor products sales and tobacco sales, meaning that as smokers become vapers, tobacco suffers, and anything which tramples the vapor industry has the potential to send customers back to the tobacco industry.
That’s good for the tobacco industry — but it’s tragic for Canadian consumers and public health.
While VITA is right beside government in opposition to youth vaping and a black market characterized by dangerously adulterated products, VITA says it’s, “not clear how these proposed measures will eliminate youth vaping or protect the vape consumer.”
“VITA is committed to working proactively with regulators and policymakers to address youth vaping, however, governments must also strike the right balance so we save the public health benefit vaping products present for adult smokers, while keeping nicotine products out of the hands of young people.”