Vaping Can Help Smokers Quit, If Lawmakers Allow It
According to the American Lung Association, “Many ex-smokers say quitting smoking was the hardest thing they have ever done.” This includes people who have “climbed mountains and corporate ladders, or tackled childbirth. It can take a smoker multiple quit-smoking attempts before they are completely smoke free.” And too many people simply quit trying to quit because nicotine feels good. It is both a stimulant and a relaxant so it perks you up when you’re exhausted, and it will soothe you when you’re anxious.
There are 38 million cigarette users in the United States, and cigarette smoking kills nearly a half-million people a year. Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death and disease in the world. Yet, anti-smoking activists and government regulators are fighting new technologies and products that will save millions of lives. Wrap your head around this fact for a second: Government officials and ‘do-good’ public health advocates are seeking to stifle innovation that will help people quit cigarettes.
A new survey released by the Center for Substance Use Research (CSUR) confirms that vaping technology is a viable, lifesaving alternative to cigarettes that helps smokers quit. The survey, commissioned by JUUL (a vaping device company), found that for many cigarette smokers the switch to vaping occurred easily. This should be great news for elected officials and public health experts because “almost every single study that has looked into the safety of vaping has found it to be significantly less harmful than traditional cigarettes.” The science says that vaping technology eliminates 95 percent of the harm caused by using tobacco.
Specifically, the CSUR survey found:
64.3% of 11,689 adults (aged 21 years or older) who participated in the survey and reported they were smokers when they first used JUUL, also reported they now no longer smoke. Almost 50% (49.5%) reported they completely stopped smoking cigarettes by switching to JUUL.
Regardless of these facts, some politicians have declared an ideological war against an innovation that will save lives. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) has misleadingly declared that “vaping doesn’t guarantee any end to tobacco addiction.” Senator Durbin holds the second-highest Democratic leadership post in the United States Senate, and he’s spreading false information about the public health benefits of vaping. His colleague, Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), the Democratic Leader, has demanded immediate regulatory burdens be enacted specifically targeting JUUL. Schumer has called vaping devices “ticking time bombs” while demanding the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission take an active role in the “war on vaping.”
Senators Schumer and Durbin often cite Great Britain as an example of a national health-care system the U.S. should emulate. So it’s interesting to note that Britain’s Royal College of Physicians has branded any attempts by public officials — e.g., U.S. Senators who should know better — to discourage smokers from vaping as “unjust, irrational, and immoral.” And after careful examination and extensive study, England’s national health agency (beloved by both Schumer and Durbin) has fully endorsed vaping technology.
John Tierney, writing for the Manhattan Institute’s City Journal, has called the government’s efforts to suppress vaping a “public health scandal.” He’s right. Since 2010 when vaping technology became available to the public, 2 million Americans have quit smoking. Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan famously said that “you are entitled to your own opinion. But you are not entitled to your own facts.” The facts here are plain for everyone to see: Vaping is a public-health good, and fewer people will die from tobacco use because they have access to a less risky alternative.
The CSUR survey confirms what we already know to be true and what the best science tells us: Vaping saves lives. So the real question for our elected officials fighting the “ideological war on vaping” is: How many lives saved will be enough for you to cease your anti-vaping regulatory hostilities and disinformation campaign?
Jerry Rogers is the founder of Capitol Allies, and the co-host of The LangerCast on the RELM Network. Twitter: @CapitolAllies.