Ever wondered how vaping can vary so much around the world despite being the foremost best smoking cessation tool in the world?
No matter where you look these days there is wildly changing rules, laws and instruction when it comes to vaping. No matter where you are in the world at any given moment there can be vaping without restrictions, or a chance of imprisonment for using such a device. We see many businesses prosper or close down at any given moment which is incredible given the worldwide growth many companies, especially manufacturers see. The ever changing world is none more apparent when it comes to the vaping industry, with duelling science, politics and charities everywhere fighting for control or banning of something that has proven to be such a positive thing these past 10 years. After all, how many jobs has the vaping industry created, how many businesses, how many people have quit smoking? For every person quitting that goes unnoticed, we get a mod exploding story on the front of the newspapers. For every science based research that proves how much better than smoking vaping is, we get tobacco funded research given the spotlight on how it may cause this or contain that. It is actually rather incredible that so much contrasting thoughts, opinions and actions can happen in the world today, which is where I want to take a better look at. How does this change around the world and more importantly how does the same subject differ despite the same facts? So join us here at Drip Hacks as we take a look at the world today and mirror the reality of vaping no matter how crazy it may be.
What better place to start than in the land down under, in what we have recently have seen to be completely different perspectives so close to each other. How is it possible that you can get such different news stories out of that area of the world so close together? Quite easy it seems as we will now explore.
Back in June 2020 we saw what was probably one of the more shocking moves from any country in recent times where they moved to ban nicotine completely from its country, but only for vaping. As crazy as that sounds given the existence of NRT and smoking, This was the news that many Australians woke up to from their prime minister on June 19th. The plan was to ban any importation of nicotine making it almost impossible for any vaper in Australia to use nicotine in their vaping devices, with current ban in place for selling it within the country. This story goes beyond simply just nicotine however and a far larger picture of how Australia politics looks to deal with vaping starts to form in such a small amount of time. The plans were immediately opposed with reasoning including such a short deadline to implement such a ban, no public consultations and even no time for a parliamentary debate. The plan was to put the ban in place within 2 weeks without anyone having chance to oppose the matter, almost dictator esq style of running the country. It delves deeper than that as in 2019, the Health Minister had ordered a scientific enquiry costing $750000 back in November due to the support in other parties for vaping, but these actions were to be taken before those results had been made available.
So In Australia you can see how the current government is wanting to clamp down on vaping in every underhand way possible for them to be able to do. By ruling vaping to be fine but cut the nicotine off at the neck for their people, it renders vaping almost lifeless as a smoking quit tool for existing smokers there. When you consider nicotine is available via NRT or cigarettes off the shelf almost, then it paints a pretty bleak picture. So how does this differ so much in that part of the world you may ask? We can simply turn to their neighbour and a news story breaking this week that completely changes the lands down under.
New Zealand are not the beacon for all vaping related products as much as we would love that to be the case. They are open to the industry but have taken influence from other countries (three guesses who) in bringing in flavour bans for vaping and are looking at capping nicotine possibly, although the latter is not as much a handicap as it sounds. So what stands out with New Zealand that offers a massive comparison to their neighbours given the current standings? Sales and lots of them. It was announced recently that since the availability of vaping and the price increase on smoking being so significant, that sales for the big tobacco has dropped significantly. The End Smoking NZ charity there announced that 2132 million cigarettes were sold in the past year, which was an incredible drop by 410 million less compared to 2017. sources in New Zealand champion vaping for helping reduce by such a number and are now pushing the government there to lift regulations on vaping to drive that figure down even more by their <5% tobacco use by 2025.
The real contrast here is not the what ifs involved but how two countries so close together can project completely different vaping perspectives within a couple of months of each other. Australia are fighting against themselves to try to regulate vaping beyond simple measures whilst next door vaping is getting portrayed as one of the main reasons why New Zealanders are giving up smoking in larger numbers than ever before. It only brings the idea to mind that given both countries want to regulate and reduce tobacco use over time, it will be a stark contrast if one can reduce its numbers by getting behind vaping whilst the other increases due to misplaced attention.
There is plenty over in the east that we can look at, from the total industry backing of the likes of Kuwait to the complete bans in the likes of Thailand. However for this one we can stay in the same place, the heart of the vaping world, China.
China the Industrial Giant
Here is something you didn’t know, 90% of the vaping hardware we use is made and distributed from China. Ok, so that is common knowledge but when you look at the world of vaping in a nutshell, it is incredible that so much of one industry is based in one static location, Shenzhen China. We have billion dollar companies based there, some that are erecting skyscrapers almost as their HQ and even an entire distribution network set up to ship worldwide to vapers everywhere. We have a company that is actively trying to prove scientifically that vaping is safe long term whilst ensuring that under aged vaping is clamped down on. There is so much good about the industry there, technology is increasing more and more each year, companies are using this knowledge in other areas. Just stop and consider how much money flows through the vaping industry there, billions upon billions each year to the point it is a financial juggernaut that shows no signs of slowing down despite the mixed receptions around the world. You could argue that the vaping industry would be years behind where it is now if it wasn’t for China, such is their influence in the business.
So given their role in the vaping industry worldwide, there can’t be a mirror image to this surely?
China the Smoking Country
Sadly there is a mirror to this and where vaping can be very prominent depending on where you are in the country, it is banned elsewhere to the extent that vaping almost is a taboo subject in China. We recently looked at the effects of this attitude has had on the vaping industry almost going underground of sorts, despite their size, people in China seem to see vaping as some sort of hobby that is no better than some others that would raise a few eyebrows elsewhere. Back in November 2019, China announced an unofficial ban on online sales within the country which then made it harder for vapers to get their products outside of certain areas. China look to ban vaping in public areas which again, when you consider how the government are working with manufacturers, it makes the whole scenario a little bit odd. Even delving deeper into who exactly vapes in the country, it is predominantly a young person thing, with entire generations refusing to put down the cigarettes and choose to buy into the propaganda that the government is putting out there. I know we have explored this before In the true reasons behind the stance but the fact remains that Chinese people don’t generally support an industry that turns over billions in their own country.
In a completely mirror image of itself, vaping is both massive and completely unpopular with China. The contrast within is extraordinary to be honest, how can you generate billions and still refuse to back such an enterprise? Hopefully the younger generation are at the forefront of this in the years to come and the country, whilst working with the likes of Relx, start to use common sense backed with scientific research to finally allow one of their biggest new industries to take over even themselves. Otherwise, an entire industry could fall without a seconds thought, damning millions worldwide.
Us vs the World
Now we will wrap this up on looking at somewhere closer to home, the UK to be exact. Each and every one of us, a proud (sometimes) member of this fine nation has been thankful in how vaping has been allowed to prosper, even with the lovely TPD in place. How do we match up with the rest of the world though?
Rest of the World
Ok so this is a very general example when compared to the rest but it does not mean it is any less true. When you look at vaping around the world it is crazy to think how different it really is. We started this article talking about this but when you really look at some of the countries and specific examples, it can scare you a little bit given the vaping industry is here to save lives. Take for example India, an absolute massive smoking country with ridiculous statistics about smoking there. A million smokers on average die each year, with the country dependant on tobacco income both overseas and within. Yet their answer to this issue is to ban vaping entirely, citing young people as the reason! Then you look at America and the flavour bans that seem to have a much deeper motive than simply keeping people safe, the fact that a huge overseas business can sell products soon there but not a small American one? The vaping industry is becoming money to the government there now, nothing more nothing less. Even elsewhere in countries such as Brazil, Uruguay, Thailand to name a few they have banned vaping with the threat of fines / jail sentences citing science as the reason, the same science that seems to back vaping? None of it makes sense especially as none of them are on the same page with the reasons why. Pick a reason and a country as it were, it varies no matter where you go.
UK- Land of the Free
So compare it to the mighty UK. Yes we have the TPD in place from the EU which regulates certain aspects of vaping but it has not slowed businesses down. In fact our very selves here at Drip Hacks started in the wake of the TPD, growing year on year to be one of the very best E-liquid companies in the UK, if not the best. Yet take a look at other areas of vaping in the UK and it makes you proud that this country is so supportive of us. We have the Public Health England declaring that vaping is at least 95% safer than smoking, a massive endorsement that seems to get lost in translation elsewhere. We have vape shops opened in hospitals with some actively supporting vaping as a smoking cessation tool, which is the heart of what vaping actually is. We see vape shops grow and develop all over the place, businesses that would not have been possible had we followed the route of some other countries such as America. We make E-liquid accessible in more places than anywhere else, with supermarkets and catalogue stores even stocking them, you can even get a half decent set up at Poundland if you need something in a pinch. We have banned vaping in places that you would not expect smoking and rightfully so. Yet beyond that we haven’t seen anywhere near the level of restrictions other countries have. We can still vape outdoors, we can still purchase our products legally over the counter and we can still help people quit smoking for good. There is so much that vapers can be thankful for here in the UK, the one place in the world where vaping can just be itself, be the amazing alternative to smoking. What’s more we don’t have an epidemic of young people vaping to fight, we aren’t getting mysterious deaths and beyond the general propaganda that the media use to fill space, we aren’t getting negative press.
The UK is the last bastion of vapers in the world and we embrace it as a result. No matter where you go, you won’t find vaping better anywhere else, with the hope that science in the future can re-enforce vaping as the best alternative to smokers everywhere. Once we can finally get that certification on what we already know, the sky is the limit on how we can influence the world and save millions of lives elsewhere
Like I said at the beginning it is crazy when you look at the world of vaping and see just how different it can be in the same areas of the world. Or better yet, how one country can polarise opinion when compared to everywhere else, about the same subject no less. Vaping should be championed everywhere but we aren’t seeing that which can be heartbreaking to see so many smokers just cast adrift like that. However in time, we can only hope that opinions elsewhere change with science and we can finally start saving as many lives as possible, for each and every smoker out there.