Despite scare tactics and bad information, science proves that vaping is still safer than smoking
The federal government is preparing to ban flavored e-cigarette pods nationwide. Senators continue to stall on legalization and cannabis banking.
Therefore, let’s check in with the facts once more, starting with a recent report from our friends and allies in the UK.
E-cigarettes still safer than smoking
First: an article in The Guardian from Professor Linda Bauld, a public health and cancer prevention expert at the University of Edinburgh’s Usher Institute and Cancer Research UK, and Dr. Suzi Gage of the University of Liverpool.
The two experts point out what we already know: the EVALI investigation here in the US shows that it is not nicotine vaping that is implicated in the illness. In fact, by summer, many scientists and experts in the cannabis industry said that lack of regulation and additives were to blame, but no one was listening.
The writers argue: “No similar cases were identified anywhere outside North America. In the UK and Europe, for example, THC vaping and vitamin additives are illegal and the market is much more tightly regulated.”
Now, the focus is on big companies like JUUL Labs, and on protecting children from starting to vape e-cigarettes. Never mind that the only evidence we have suggests that this is not a very common trend.
Meanwhile, the 1.4 billion smokers around the world are not the focus. However, the writers point out the evidence: vaping works and helps people stop smoking.
Research proves that using e-cigarettes instead of smoking helps improve cardiovascular health. Even here in the US, scientists proved that youth vaping rates rise as young people stop smoking.
“The ideal combination is proportionate regulation of e-cigarettes combined with effective implementation of tobacco control. As a new decade dawns, more countries need to achieve this balance. If they do not, the opportunity presented by e-cigarettes will be lost. And many smokers who have struggled to stop and who might otherwise have quit with vaping will be resigned to the death and disease that tobacco causes.”
Students binge drink less when cannabis is legal
A recent study says that college students are less likely to binge drink in recreational cannabis states.
The team defined binge drinking as consuming five or more drinks at one time within the last two weeks. For recreational states, there was a six percent drop in binge drinking among students 21 and over.
When both cannabis and alcohol are illegal for underage users, some may use them anyway, to the extent they are available. For those over age 21, alcohol is easier to get and use. This is how it becomes the substance of choice. However, in recreational states, this difference does not exist.
The study collected data from a survey of American university students over the course of ten years. There were 1.1 million participants.
In any case, many experts see cannabis as less harmful than alcohol, especially to brain health. Fewer users end up addicted to cannabis, and alcohol is unquestionably the actual “gateway substance” for most youth. We also already know that alcohol use can cause numerous health problems, from liver disease to cancer.
Laypeople mostly agree. Surveys indicate most Americans perceive cannabis as less harmful than alcohol. Overall, then, less binge drinking seems like a clear win—even if it means more vaping.
So there you have it, because science proves it. Vaping is still safer than smoking.