What are the issues surrounding electronic cigarettes?
Answer by Miles Dolphin:
The issues are legion:
- Physical Safety.
- Medical Safety.
- Political – National financial (taxes).
- Political – International (WHO and FCTC).
- Political – Medical/Tobacco Control/Tobacco Harm Reduction.
- Labelling, Quality and Bottling standards.
- Bias in the Press.
The physical safety issue is mostly to do with the battery, being Lithium-Ion it was, like the older laptops and mobiles, subject to catastrophic failure. Now that higher grade batteries are being used almost all failures are due to user error (wrong charger etc), or occasionally fraudulent products.
If Public Health England are satisfied with current e-cigs, then why……?
Political – National financial (taxes):
Vaping is a major worry for many governments, as it reduces the taxation garnered from cigarettes. Some politicians have stated that they don't want smoking to stop so fast, as they need to re-arrange their budgets to cope with lower income – much lower in some jurisdictions. (California and Italy being the two major examples of this).
Political – International (WHO and its FCTC):
The World Health Organisation sees vaping as a major threat to its self appointed task to eradicate smoking as it is the biggest killer among all the Non-Communicable Diseases. The "Not Invented Here" syndrome appears highly relevant. WHO's main weapon is the FCTC (Framework Convention on Tobacco Control), which it uses as a sledgehammer to crack nuts.
Political – Medical/Tobacco Control/Tobacco Harm Reduction:
Politically inclined medics do not seem to be acknowledging the research that has been done into vaping, and thus many politicians never get to hear about the latest results. However the status of the research has been leaking through to senior politicians, and the situation seems to be improving slowly.
The Tobacco Control Industry (and make no doubts, it is an industry) foresees the diminishing of its income from governments in the way of grants and other financial supports that help them lobby to enact anti-smoking (and now anti-vaping) legislation. Some professionals in this industry however see that vaping could be the answer that they have been looking for over many years, others however still favour the "Quit Or Die!" method of controlling the tobacco users, and thus reject vaping out of hand.
The Tobacco Harm Reduction camp of tobacco controllers are in a minority, and seeing little to no harm in vaping, are mostly in support of it. However this fairly vocal minority is fighting an uphill battle against the traditional style of tobacco control.
Labelling, Quality and Bottling standards:
Most of the Liquids produced around the world are now adhering to the standards promoted by either ECITA (Electronic Cigarette Industry Trade Association) in the UK and EU, or AEMSA (American E-Liquid Manufacturing Standards Association) in the USA. These two standards vary only in their legal requirements from country to country. They both insist on high quality in manufacturing (without the recently discovered to be dangerous chemicals, 2014), Child-proof bottles, and all the relevant warning labels.
Bias in the Press:
Stories about disasters always seem to sell better than nice, happy, feel-good ones, so that is what gets the most attention in the press.
We often see "E-cig explodes, causing house fire" type stories, but rarely see the stories which show how smoking rates are dropping in opposition to the growth of vaping.