to society than it could ever be considered helpful. Tobacco harm reduction is an interesting field of research but also a fascinating economic phenomenon that promotes a more safe delivery of nicotine to vapers. Products like vapes and snus are considered some of the cleanest forms of nicotine delivery currently on the market. Vaporizers contain no actual tobacco but rather eLiquid that contains tobacco-derived nicotine, toss in some flavoring and you've got a product designed to help smokers quit combustibles that offers risks that are minimal in comparison to smoking.
You should suspect that the increasing popularity of vaping in the developed world would be a good thing. Yet tobacco control activists view eLiquids and vapes as if the apocalypse was right now in your teenagers hands. Unfortunately the United States and Australia have fallen for a moral panic that presents these cessation products and cleaner nicotine delivery as something that is just as bad as smoking, sometimes worse. Because of this anti-vape hysteria the vape industry fights to survive at insane costs that impact more than vape shops and manufacturers beyond reason.
When the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) declared that youth vaping is an epidemic, the agency opted for regulatory approaches that threaten legal access for adults. Funny how that works, in the name of protecting the children, the FDA and lawmakers at all levels of governance have taken up the hyperbolic crusade against vaping. Whether it is restricting flavors that are scientifically proven to help smokers quit or working to ban the entire product category, the latest trends in public policy reveal systemic opposition to anything that challenges the status quo. It should also be noted that the status quo is established by big tobacco companies, go figure.
Especially when it relates to nicotine, alternative products will face unwarranted scrutiny at the expense of consumers health. Vaping is now literally construed as something far more evil than underage drinking or the use of illegal illicit substances.
A recent study published by a team of criminology researchers at the University of Texas, San Antonio, states that minors who vape are likely to partake in some form of juvenile delinquency. The findings suggest that if a minor engages in vaping nicotine or illicit substances like marijuana, there is apparently a relationship between the act and other delinquent behavior. This potentially insinuates to readers of the study, like lawmakers, that vaping directly leads to crime. However, what is not considered here is whether the juveniles engaging in vaping were delinquent before or afterward.
A press release announcing the study’s conclusion attributes the authors believing, “that these findings might be explained by the ability to conceal an illegal substance through the mechanism of vaping, which can reduce the likelihood of detection and apprehension among youth who vape illicit substances and thereby embolden them to engage other delinquent behaviors.”
Unless the research sample was asked about these types of issues, then these conclusions have no merit. This assumption also attributes to the study’s insinuation that minors who vape, regardless of substance, are likely to engage in violent acts, engage with gangs, vandalism, or some combination of other negative actions. This of course leads regulators and lawmakers down a path of establishing or scaling existing policing approaches that go far beyond justifiable means.
While underage nicotine possession was never really criminalized in many jurisdictions, this anti-vape hysteria has created a moral panic that has led to a change in that policy. Minors caught in possession of any form nicotine could be held criminally liable and tried in juvenile court or, depending on the severity of the offense, in courts intended to adjudicate cases involving adult offenders.
Such approaches in fighting the youth vaping epidemic are self-defeating and exemplify how harm reduction and restorative justice approaches are dismissed. What do you think about all this anti-science anti-vape rhetoric? Do lawmakers and policymakers have any chill at all? Will the vape world ever be held in the same regard as say the caffeine world?