Vaping vs. Cigarettes: Are we still talking about this?

It's been what, a decade, since vaping has been under scrutiny by the government, special interest groups, and pharmaceutical companies? Pretty darn close. Whether it's batteries, e-juice, nicotine, or flavoring, it seems there's always something to point the proverbial finger at as a reason to stay away from vaping. However, the lack of consistency, the lack of claims that actually "stick", and most importantly - the antagonistic reporting on this method of nicotine replacement, have all seemingly forgotten one thing: Cigarettes are the problem here. It's cigarettes that got these adults addicted to nicotine and nearly 4,000 other chemicals, likely for decades. It's cigarettes that are behind the deaths of over 5 million people each year around the world. It's cigarettes that caused lifelong diseases for more than 16 million Americans. While the Royal College of Physicians study from 2016 points to e-cigarettes being 95% safer than cigarettes, here we sit, still talking about the dangers of e-cigarettes and what they might cost the world in the future. If we already know the cost of traditional cigarettes, and the data supports e-cigarettes being 95% safer than smoking; why are we still talking about this? Because we have to. And we're not going to stop until the truth comes out. Let's dive in...

As we mentioned in the opening paragraph, there are three distinct issues with the arguments against vaping as an effective nicotine replacement method: Lack of consistency, lack of claims that "stick", and, finally, the antagonistic reporting that exist on e-cigarettes. Starting first with the lack of consistency, let's figure out where this has all gone wrong. The CDC reports statistics on smoking every year, and as the popularity of e-cigarettes continue to grow, the data on e-cigarettes grows as well. As it stands, according to CDC statistics, an estimated 37.8 million Americans are current cigarette smokers. In contrast, the CDC does not report actual, or current, e-cigarette usage among the adult population of the United States. The most recent data we have to go on is from a 2014 CDC study that reported approximately 9 million Americans vaped regularly. Just to be clear, if vaping is a huge threat to the population at those numbers, what do we call the smoking numbers? An even "huger" threat? It doesn't make sense. Vaping is nearly 4 times less prevalent in the United States than smoking - if we know smoking kills and causes disease at such drastic rates, why should we scrutinize the method by which many of them are looking to quit, especially if it's an estimated 95% safer than the alternative?

Another inconsistent argument we see from these groups is in regards to advertising and the amount of money spent to advertise these products. While vaping has certainly being more heavily advertised over the last decade, it's no match for the tremendous volume of marketing and advertising dollars spent by tobacco and cigarette brands. It's estimated, again by the CDC, that nearly $9.5 billion dollars were spent on cigarette and smokeless tobacco ads in the United States in 2016. You read that correctly, by the way; billion was not a typo. That number reflects an increase from 2015, in which advertising spend was an estimated $8.5 billion. Compare that, though, to advertising statistics of 2014 (Again, that's the most recent data available. Weird, right?) in which an estimated $115 million was spent on advertising for e-cigarettes and vaping products. Simply put, advertising spent on cigarettes was nearly 1,000 times greater in 2015 than vaping in 2014...but e-cigarette advertising is the bigger problem? Often, you'll see that used in arguments against vaping. It's the blatant inconsistency here that's the real problem. We see certain special interest groups continuing to lobby and advertise against smoking, which is good, but those same special interest groups equate vaping with smoking in the same breath. On top of that, if you look for it, you'll find that there's little to no current news about the plethora of cigarette advertising that exists, while there are new stories every single day about the dangers of e-cigarette advertising.

One thing you get used to if you're a part of the vaping industry is the myriad of "e-cigarettes cause this!" claims that fizzle out over the course of a few months. This, along with inconsistency, is another one of the three distinct issues with the campaign against vaping. First off, and it's very important to note this, vaping industry leaders are consistently looking for ways to make their products more effective and less hazardous with each innovation. This has been made evident through the evolution of wicking material for coils, moving from steel-mesh early on to organic cotton today. However, when have you heard of cigarette companies actively looking for ways to make their products safer and less-addictive? Rarely, if ever. Yet, you still see the articles online with flagrant click-bait headlines depicting the dangers of chemicals in e-cigarettes, in some cases arguing that they are equally as bad or worse than traditional cigarettes. The shining example of this scare-tactic is in regards to diacetyl. Remember that chemical in the news? The one that causes Bronchiolitis obliterans, or Popcorn Lung?

The truth about the prevalence of diacetyl in vape juice vs. cigarettes is this: There is far more Diacetyl in a single cigarette than there is in an entire pod or tank of e juice. That's true. According to a Journal entry in Tobacco Analysis, a study measuring the exposure of e-cigarette users to diacetyl in comparison to that of smokers found that e-cigarette cartridges, or pods, had a maximum daily intake estimated at around 240 micrograms. On the other hand, it was discovered that the average diacetyl content of a single cigarette was measured at 335.9 micrograms. If you're a pack-a-day smoker, you're inhaling an estimated 6700 micrograms of diacetyl per day. That number is a staggering 28 times the estimated maximum from vape juice, but you never hear that argument or data. Ever. It was for this reason that the Popcorn Lung scare blew over in such a short amount of time; there wasn't enough evidence or data to show that Popcorn Lung is a reasonable worry for smokers-turned-vapers. In response, though, companies across the vaping industry proactively began removing any amount of diacetyl that existed in their vape juice, just to be safe, while cigarette manufacturers have done nothing to lower the amount of diacetyl in their cigarettes. As a safer alternative to traditional smoking, it is both encouraged and commendable for the vaping industry to jump on this as an opportunity to make their products even safer, while you hear nothing about this from special interest groups or government agencies, and least of all, the media.

Antagonistic reporting is the ultimate culprit in the fight against vaping. While some can argue that the reporting is fueled by anti-vaping studies and government campaigning, it's the methodology behind the reporting that has created much of this mess. As we touched on with the diacetyl scare, scare-mongering and flawed reporting are probably the most influential in the fight against vaping. While studies have been conducted to show, again, that e-cigarettes are an estimated 95% safer than traditional cigarettes, you almost never hear that from American media sources. You'll definitely hear about the exploding battery, or the popcorn lung, or the vaping pilot, but with regards to smoking? Nothing like this.

Exploding batteries are all over the internet, media sites and video platforms, showcasing the dangers of not taking battery precautions. In fact, the FDA actually has a page dedicated to vape battery explosions and how to prevent them. Do you know how many reported cases of battery explosions exist? According to a compilation of websites and forums around the world from EcigOne, approximately 270. Just to compare, the National Fire Protection Association reports that cigarettes are the number one source of fires in the United States, accounting for 20% of all fire deaths each year. It's unfortunate seeing a battery explosion happen to anyone, and bad battery-practice can be extremely dangerous to you and those around you, but for the media to paint a picture that battery explosions are normal occurrences is just flat-out wrong and contributes to the success of anti-vaping advocates as well as discourages current smokers from vaping. That's the worst part in all this; smokers are being encouraged by the very people that are supposed to be looking out for their well-being to stay away from a less-harmful alternative to traditional cigarettes. If you heard this anywhere else, it would be an outrage. But not with vaping and smoking. With vaping and smoking, you almost always hear only one side of the story. Not today.

That's all we've got for you this week! Continue in your Fight for Vaping, have a wonderful rest of your week, and VAPE ON!



Anonymous said…
This was very informative. My daughter nags about my vaping. Last time she said something about it I told her I was at 3 ml., sometimes o ml. nicotine. She then sarcastically asked 'so why are you still vaping'? Hmm, I told her 'you bitch when I fiddle with my hands'.Well, the conversation ended but, she won't let my grandkids around me anymore unless she is there. She says it's the vaping. You know something, I am grateful I've been off cigarettes for almost 2 yrs thanks to vaping! Vape on!

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