As I sit here writing this, my mod, E Liquid and batteries are all safe. I am legal to vape in my own home and I am old enough to purchase all the products that I do. The same can be said for you reading this, for fellow vapers and even the good folks here at Drip Hacks. As you probably are aware that it isn’t the case in different parts of the world in some instances vaping is treated much the same way as a dangerous drug and clamped down upon. In many places it is illegal to buy and even to own, with many other factors at play. So with that being said, could we about to see a war around the world break out, not by soldiers but by scientists and politicians, all in regards to vaping? As the number of vapers grow each year and their access to vaping grows / shrinks, we could well see a war against what is actually classed as the correct way to approach the E-Cigarette market. Even In the west we see different countries treat the industry differently, for many different reasons. Many vapers around the world have taken up arms and choose to fight the powers that be in order to be allowed to have the right to vape but the bigger picture here, is this a war that people can’t see? Humour me for a moment whilst we look at exactly why there could be a war coming, that we may be powerless to aid.
The war will be fought by scientists and this is exactly how they will manage it. Almost every month, maybe more, there is research about vaping released from all around the world. We have many UK based scientists who have concluded that vaping is at least 95% safer than smoking and the significant health benefits of vaping over smoking is being proven just as regularly as the research is published. Many UK published research focuses on the effect that nicotine rather than vaping has on the human body and if you look online there is plenty of evidence of the right focus of the research. For example if you and check out the Public Health of England site, they maintain research and findings on a yearly basis. Even a quick google on google scholar will bring up article after article with positive research from the UK. Much so, that vaping is now being adopted into UK healthcare as a means to helping smokers quit. We have seen a vaping shop open up in a hospital and many anti smoking groups promote vaping as a means to quitting. You can even pick up a vaping kit in a local pound shop with many stores choosing to stock vaping products, supermarkets included.
However look elsewhere and the research isn’t so positive about vaping, almost creating a parallel universe where vaping causes health issues almost bad as smoking. Many research from countries from around the world are designed or produce results that bring vaping into a negative light, whether they don’t separate vaping from other factors or simply are paid to produce negative results. I even read one recently where they found vaping causes cancer, by proving it in research that involved mice susceptible to the cancer causing disease in an environment that put them through 5 years of vapour in a short period of time. Other research has been funded by tobacco organisations to produce negative results, which unsurprisingly turn up mostly negative results. When you create so much negative results or misleading information then it creates a very murky horizon for many countries. It is the negative research that is picked up by media outlets either by choice or under influence and it then creates a media propaganda agenda essentially that mis informs smokers about the choice they have.
So how does research help become a catalyst for the war on vaping you may ask? Well it is the research that is used to drive political agendas in many different countries so therefore misleading results leads to action on lies. If the main motivation of clamping down/banning vaping is coming from research funded by tobacco companies who don’t want people to vape then it is hard to fight against that without hoping that the good outweigh the negative in the long term. However for countries like the UK who heavily support vaping as a smoking cessation tool, it creates a huge rift when other western countries such as the USA are so motivated against it. A war of sorts within the scientific communities, with one nation proposing opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to the reduced health effects from making the switch.
Now I know you were expecting this to come up as with any alternative product, the original doesn’t want you to stop giving them money. This is no more true than the tobacco industry and yes, to some extent this is a factor around the world. For the price of tobacco in western countries alone, the tax paid on top and the larger quantities purchased, people switching to vaping is hurting them financially. If it was one or two then it would be a drop in the ocean but when millions have quit and made the switch, that is where tobacco plays a big part in the war to come. The main motivation for all tobacco companies therefore is to stop people making the switch and from this you can see effects such as USA now with flavour bans to remove the temptation to switch. It is no surprise to see the larger cigarette sales markets around the world having the more extreme measures in regards to vaping but with all being said, that is not where I want to focus. Instead, the real fight in the vaping war doesn’t come from people who buy tobacco, it is the ones who make it.
As you probably have seen in the news in the last several months, India banned vaping completely to a large extent, making it impossible to buy manufacture or sell the product anywhere in the country. People at the time speculated about the impact of America at the time but it was a long time coming, with large parts of the country already banning sales of E Cigarettes, but why? The biggest Indian export product and one of, if not the largest financial income for the country is tobacco. They grow the tobacco in their country and export it via the tobacco company and therefore it is a very valuable asset to them. Figures of at least 10% of the population, possibly more are smokers so therefore more money is generated that way. So it isn’t hard to see why countries like India would be so hard on the vaping industry, it is business to them rather than any deep lying health concerns. The biggest growers of tobacco around the world are; China, India, Brazil, the United States, Turkey, Zimbabwe and Malawi. What do they all have in common? They have either outright banned vaping or are significantly regulating it to make it difficult to buy. They all have high percentages of smokers within the population and therefore if everyone stopped smoking and started vaping, it would cost them billions upon billions each year.
So when you take a step back and look at this from an outside perspective, you can see just how the production of tobacco is much more a motivation behind banning the vaping industry rather than concerns about teenagers vaping for example. The sheer money through exports alone is significant enough to not want people quitting let alone for that impact to be felt around the world. Tobacco’s part in the war is money, the vaping industry doesn’t just affect tax on its citizens, it affects the national income altogether. So any positive steps in the acceptance of vaping is going to be fought back every step of the way by these countries.
Politics along with money are the factors that make the world go around each day with every country in the world filled with them. They are the ones who are entrusted to run the country and make us citizens safe whilst doing so. So what happens when politics uses industries like play things?
For this way of reasoning America is the best possible example of something actively going on around the world but truth is it exists many other places as well. You have probably read on the news about flavour bans, vaping bans and all the rest of it coming from the good old US of A but have you ever considered why that is? Why are politicians so against the vaping industry thriving on a political level? There are many factors in play from the anti vaping(smoking) charities that push for regulatory decisions or through fear of youth taking up the new craze. Perhaps there are financial interests, for example California is a state heavily dependant on tobacco income so it was no surprise to see them begin to ban it statewide. Or perhaps, it isn’t about banning vaping or treating it like the devil but more so about control? Consider this, what does smoking generate? Tax, tax from every single person who purchases a pack of cigarettes and that money goes into the government. The more you tax, the more they pay and you would be left with an understanding that money much like the tobacco side of it, was the major factor here. However the likes of America may be motivated by control rather than just money, control of an entire industry.
Much of the flavour bans over in America are a prime example of this in play. The end game of removing products from market and heavily regulating them isn’t about safety, that would have been the case years ago but not now they are established. The aim of these politicians who are pushing for all of this is to control the vaping industry, minimising the effect of people quitting smoking. We even see companies such as Altria even moving into the industry there for that reason, ready for the eventual rise and fall of the vaping/smoking industries. Politicians want to control the industry so they can maximise profit from it to counter the fall in smokers. Tobacco will never go away, as long as there is massive industry for it, but the number who smoke will drop as they have done for years now. To a lesser extent this is all financial again but it is one thing to tax a product to death and another to control it, cost, availability etc. That is where the likes of America want to end up, being able to politically dictate what products are available and to maximise the profit from them as early as possible.
So we have covered a few of the big factors in the vaping war to come but how does it all tie together you may ask yourself? Well when you look at all the different factors from around the world, none of it adds up. How can you have countries so open to an entire industry and others want to close it down completely? Even the Chinese market, the biggest manufacturer of vaping products doesn’t even support their own industry. The answer is, you can’t, which is where the war will truly be fought. Countries such as the UK offering so contrasting views compared to even America is going to create a culture war that will rage on for years to come. With each stance around the world there will be resistance by its people supported elsewhere rather than within. As each country adopts its own approach to the vaping industry, another will contradict it. For such a global industry now and for something that is being actively promoted by health organisations, the heath vs money battle will never go away in the short term. Eventually vaping will establish itself and overtake smoking, even if it takes years. However the aftermath of the worldwide war on vaping as an industry will reshape how the industry survives. As long as the likes of Europe still throw their weight behind the industry then we have a chance of winning, however the cost is going to be billions of smokers along the way whilst politicians play.
Sadly what is lost in all of this is us, the people and our health. Deep down they don’t care if we die from smoking as long as we keep smoking. For every person denied the option to switch it is a potential life lost long before it should be. Perhaps for us to truly win this war, we need to change the battlefield.