Could Vaping Really Be the Most Significant Public Health Benefit this Decade?

It is hard to separate American history from the smell of tobacco smoke. The first English colonists grew tobacco as a cash crop for more than 200 years, smoking remains a $100 billion dollar industry today. Over the course of the last decade, though, nicotine habits are becoming increasingly separated from the smell of smoke. Vaping has seen rapid growth as more and more smokers turn to it as a means of reducing health side effects and aiding in kicking the habit. Regulations at the state and federal level could hamper or halt this process, though. This is where customers like you need to get involved.

The vaping industry is remarkable in that it is an example of how innovation can disrupt even a well-established industry. It’s the first time that another distribution chain has grown to challenge the traditional tobacco distribution chain. Although major tobacco companies are involved in the industry and sell vaping products, by no means do they control the market. Instead, a whole industry has grown up outside of their control.

As the industry has grown, however, regulators at both the state and federal level have begun moving into the space. As customers and vapers we need to help develop rational regulations that understand the differences between smoking and vaping, and how vaping can be a way to help smokers quit.

Overseas, particularly in Britain, doctors have promoted vaping as a safer alternative to smoking and a means of helping adult smokers to quit. On this side of the Atlantic, though, the industry has struggled against accusations that flavored vapes will tempt teens to try tobacco.

Restricting the industry could have major consequences for public health. While the number of smokers in the U.S. has plateaued since 2010, the number didn’t begin to decrease until vaping became more popular. Now the industry is trying to build on that momentum, in part by pushing states to treat the industry as something different from traditional smoking. This includes allowing people to use vapes outside of smoking areas. Right now, some states are pushing for laws that would require vape users, including those trying to stop smoking, to stand in the same spaces as smokers.

“You would never take, for example, someone who is a recovering alcoholic, and force them to sit in a bar to drink their water or their coke. You would not tempt them that way, but that is what these policies are doing,” says Tony Abboud, VTA’s Executive Director.

“This [Vaping] has the potential to be the most significant public health benefit that we’ve seen in a generation,” says Abboud.