Recently published press release by tobacco control group implores public health officials to embrace “relative risk” of vaping
Last week the National Tobacco Reform Initiative (NTRI) issued a press release making the case that vaping should be supported as a safer alternative to continued smoking. They referenced a report conducted by the US National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) which concluded that vaping is not harmless, but does, in fact, represent a significant reduction in harm compared with traditional smoking. They reached this conclusion after analyzing an extensive selection of the peer-reviewed studies on the topic of vaping vs. smoking.
The NTRI is composed of a team of renowned doctors, health advocates, and public servants whose primary goal is to “reignite the nation’s tobacco control efforts.” Notable members include former cabinet director of the WHO, Derek Yach, co-leader of the Tobacco Research Program at the Hollings Cancer Center, Dr. K. Michael Cummings, and Attorney General for the State of Iowa, Tom Miller. These individuals and the others who comprise the NTRI have spent their careers fighting against smoking, giving their thoughts and opinions significant weight.
The press release in question was primarily concerned with the NASEM report, detailing what most of the peer-reviewed science has had to say about vaping so far. They applaud the research for following along the same lines as the new FDA stance on tobacco control. That is, to focus on reducing the appeal of traditional cigarettes first, but also putting a strong emphasis on making safer alternatives easier to obtain and use. Given that about half of smokers will eventually die from a smoking-related condition, it’s as important as ever to continue the fight against tobacco. But above all else, the NASEM report advocates for health agencies and officials to embrace the concept of relative risk.
The NASEM report states that vaping is not only much safer than smoking, but it can actually help smokers stay away from cigarettes altogether. This provided the panel with enough evidence to show support for e-cigarettes. According to one NTRI member, Dr. John Seffrin, “after fighting the tobacco epidemic for over five decades, we now have proven harm reduction methods to help us avoid a carnage in otherwise preventable deaths.” The panel also made sure to acknowledge the often overlooked fact that nicotine, also found in most e-cigarettes, is far from the most harmful substance found in tobacco smoke. In fact, most doctors consider the effects of nicotine alone to be most similar to that of caffeine.
Call For Action
The NTRI press release didn’t only take note of issues, but also provided three actionable changes that could potentially improve the efficacy of vaping. First, they suggest that the approach used for regulating different tobacco and nicotine products should be directly related to the amount of risk posed to users compared with other tobacco products. Next, they believe that education is vital. They suggest that care is taken to teach smokers that nicotine without the smoke is much less dangerous but satisfies the same craving. Taking particular note to illustrate that different types of tobacco products have massively varying levels of risk.
Last they believe that the regulations put in place should be aimed at making it easier for smokers to get alternatives forms of nicotine intake, such as vaping. This is the biggest revelation for vapers, as it proves once again that e-cigarettes have proven to respected members of the health community that, while not 100% harmless, they represent a massive reduction in harm over smoking traditional cigarettes.
Policy updates and changes like this are essential in the continuing fight for vaping rights. Even with all of the positive research and personal stories from former smokers, vaping still suffers from a very poor public perception. According to one poll by Action on Smoking and Health, only 13% of adults think that vaping is much safer than smoking, while over 25% believe that they’re just as, if not more dangerous.
Respected health experts such as those that make up the National Tobacco Reform Initiative coming out in support of vaping is a massive step in the right direction for vapers everywhere. The more experts who agree that e-cigarettes are worth the switch, the easier it’ll be to change public perception and in turn, regulations. If we genuinely value putting an end to the smoking epidemic once and for all, supporting vaping is simply one of the best things we could do.
Do you think that this press release is important in the fight for vaping rights? What could we do to get more people on board with vaping for smoking cessation purposes? Is there anything else we should be focusing on in regards to improving the perception of vaping? Let us know in the comments.