at least if some lawmakers get their way, as they are proposing to define all e-cigarettes products as tobacco products. Throwing e-cigarettes and eLiquids into the same category as cigarettes would do nothing but deter people from quitting smoking. Maybe we should reclassify Florida as a Free Associated State like Puerto Rico.
The pseudo-logic of such a proposal would be to tax and regulate e-cigarettes in the same manner as their combustible tobacco rivals, resulting in a situation where instead of levying traditional sin taxes on cigarettes, a virtue tax would be penalizing smokers who have switched to vaping. These taxes would of course be especially harmful to low-income Floridians who are already disproportionately more likely to smoke.
Florida's smoking rate declined from 19.3 percent in 2012 to 16.1 percent in 2018, yet almost 30,000 Floridians die every single year from smoking-related illnesses and diseases. That's more than four times the number who died from every kind of drug overdoses last year in the state.
According to the modeling constructed by David Levy and colleagues at Georgetown University Medical Center; replacement of cigarette use by vaping over ten years would yield 6.6 million fewer premature deaths with 86.7 million fewer life years lost cumulatively. With these potential massive public health gains, it would be stupidly irresponsible to put vapor products on the same playing field as cigarettes.
It should be a apparent to everybody by now that the global consensus among those who pay attention to science and not hysteria has become that vaping is significantly safer than traditional cigarettes. Not only that, but according to a recently published study in the New England Journal of Medicine, smokers who tried to quit using e-cigarettes were almost twice as likely to succeed as those who tried nicotine replacement therapies like patches or the gum.
Unfortunately he public is clinically misinformed about the relative risks of vaping. According to one 2018 poll 43% of adults wrongly believed vaping is more harmful than combustible cigarettes. A separate study showed more than half of adults think nicotine is the substance causing most smoking-related cancer.
That's a lot of dangerous information and an outright failure of public health communication. It's not the nicotine that sends 480,000 Americans a year to an early grave, it is the process of inhaling the burning tobacco.
As the late great Michael Russell said: "It's not the nicotine that kills half of all long-term smokers, it’s the delivery mechanism." Remove the nicotine from smoke and not only do you have a safer product, you have a product that draws smokers away from their deadly habit.
Reducing America's most successful smoking cessation tool to the status of a Marlboro Red is like spitting in the face of public policy and science itself. If policymakers want to make it easier for anyone to quit smoking, they must not only allow adults access to safer nicotine alternatives but they also need to be actively inform smokers of the benefits of switching to vaping.
What do you think about Florida's misclassification legislation? What's the dumbest thing you've seen lawmakers try to pass?