The vaping industry has seen incredible growth in the past few years. Global consumers range from people who enjoy the flavours of vaping products, to those who use the products to manage health issues, and those who simply want to save money otherwise spent on cigarette packs.
A vast majority of these consumers are people looking to quit smoking. While various groups may not entirely approve of vaping products yet, one thing is agreeable: vaping helps smokers to quit. There have been several independent studies from credible researchers (such as this one) to prove this benefit of vaping.
Regardless, there have been public calls to health officials and lawmakers to review the vaping industry. These concerns are very valid. Consumers of vaping products span across all legal ages, but we also see heavy usage in young adults. The public’s move to protect consumers has, thankfully, been supported across the vaping industry.
Different Attitudes toward Vaping in the UK and US
An advantage of the industry so far is that we have measurable data on its impact. We even have the opportunity to compare and contrast results in countries against the industry with countries for the industry. The two biggest case studies to work with are the US and the UK.
In the UK, vaping products are accepted as a harm reduction strategy. They agree with the results of clinical trials that prove the benefits of vaping to (former) smokers. Further tests on the subjects of these trials even showed improvement in lung health after some time. Changes were because subjects stopped inhaling arsenic, benzene, and harmful metals that are found in cigarette smoke. They did not just manage their addiction, but also improve their overall health.
Vaping products outperform every other nicotine-replacement therapy. Therefore, the UK supports the use of vaping products while enforcing strict regulations.
However, in the US, the reception of this industry has been different. In the past few months, we’ve seen large movements to ban the use of vaping products. The regulations surrounding the vaping industry are still vague, even though the products are qualified as tobacco-dispensing. This means that the vaping industry has limited power over quality-control and age restriction for buyers. In the US, there’s also very little talk about the benefits of vaping devices for its large population of smokers looking to quit (70%).
What is the impact of these two totally different approaches?
The vaping industry in the UK has a successful cooperation with government agencies. Both parties contribute to ensuring proper product quality and restricted access to the underaged. The results? Currently, less than 1% of underaged people in the UK use vaping products. The people who use these products are within the right demographics.
This is a far cry from the data we’re receiving from the US. State and federal government agencies are still largely against the use of vaping products. There is an absence of central regulation in product quality and distribution. This means that anyone can get any vaping product at different quality and price points.
State governments in the US are currently considering a total ban as the best solution. However, previous market trends have shown that bans are not the best solutions to control the use of wildly popular products. A huge expectation in the industry is that the government will work with vaping companies, rather than against them, to limit underage uptake.
This analysis will not be objective without mentioning the recorded vaping related injuries and, unfortunately, deaths in the US. The medical term being used for the diagnosis is Evali. No single product has been identified as the cause of this diagnosis. This means that all vaping brands, products, designs, concentrations, and so on, are being blamed collectively as the culprit.
In an interview with Stephen Dubner, Micheal Siegel, a physician and professor at the Boston University of Public Health, gave his opinion on the Evali outbreak and its causes. He stated that it is “extremely unlikely that any store bought nicotine-containing e-cigarettes are involved in the outbreak.” To prove his opinion, we just have to look at our case studies from earlier: the UK and the US.
The traditional e-cigarettes and vaping products have been sold in the UK for over a decade, and respiratory issues caused by these products are hardly recorded. Due to their strict regulations, each vaping brand on the market adheres to high quality standards.
In the US, there is a huge black market for vaping products, including THC products, that have not been put through the proper tests. Since the regulations are loose, retailers can get away with selling potentially harmful products to unsuspecting buyers. The CDC has attributed 89% of the Evali outbreak to the consumption of THC and black market vaping oils.
Knowing this, the government's response to vaping-related health issues may be doing more harm than good. Many states in the US have moved to close down stores that sell nicotine e-liquids from trusted brands. This may push consumers to turn towards the black market supply, which is the very thing we need to avoid. Also, the people who have managed to quit smoking by using vaping products may be at risk of returning to their addiction. There has never been a better time for the government and the vaping industry to work together on finding a valuable solution.
The Future of the Vaping Industry
Many people assume that the introduction of regulations into the vaping industry may be the end. We prefer to disagree with the above opinion. Regulations will, hopefully, form the beginning of quality-assured and healthily competitive vaping markets. Vaping brands are also investing a lot of resources into keeping nicotine products out of reach for the underaged. With government regulations to back their efforts, better results can be achieved.
There are people who need vaping products. Whether it’s for relaxation, to quit smoking, to curb their cigarette spendings, or to cope with health issues, they should have access to the products they need. We also predict that vaping companies will introduce more energy and product efficient offerings to the market. We’re excited to find out if these offering will come in the form of new products or upgraded designs.
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