The push by U.S. regulators to crush the electronic cigarette industry may be slowing in the wake of a joint study with researchers from the United Kingdom revealing that switching to vaping considerably cuts health risks.
“You had researchers from both countries and the CDC involved in the planning and execution of the study for the first time,” Tony Abboud, executive director of the Vapor Technology Association, told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “One of the biggest findings of the study, was that if people switch from tobacco cigarettes to vaping products, their health is substantially improved than if they continued smoking.”
The study, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, shows a large reduction in the levels of toxic chemicals and carcinogens linked to smoking-related illnesses in those who switched to vaping devices for at least six months. Researchers from University College London, Roswell Park Cancer Institute in New York and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) all participated in the landmark study, which refutes recent assertions from the surgeon general and CDC claiming vaping is harmful to health and a potential gateway to smoking addiction.
The U.K. actually promotes the sale of e-cigarettes as a health-conscious alternative to smoking, in stark contrast to U.S. policy.
“In the UK they’ve looked at all the science that exists and say vapor products are 95 percent safer than combustible cigarettes, and argue for that reason our government needs to be promoting them, not restricting them,” said Abboud. “That mindset, which is based upon science, is held across the board in England.”
The CDC released a report Dec. 8 condemning vaping as an unhealthy practice and warned vaping poses a significant risk to youth. Localities across the U.S. are implementing regulations treating vaping the same way as traditional cigarettes, with some measures slapping punitive the industry with taxes as high as 40 percent.
Despite the position of U.S. regulators, major health groups in England, like the Royal College of Physicians, agree that using e-cigarettes eliminates most of the harms attributed to smoking. They also recommend vaping to patients trying to quit traditional tobacco products. A study from Public Health England in 2016 found nearly all of the 2.6 million e-cigarette users in the U.K. are former or current smokers — many of whom are using the device to quit.
“Here in the U.S. we have a scientific community, or at least government agencies, that have pretended as if they don’t have enough information yet, despite one of the most esteemed medical bodies in the world, the Royal College of Physicians, coming to the conclusion they did,” Abboud told TheDCNF. “Those two things cannot be true.”
The vaping industry still faces an uphill battle against regulators, particularly from the Food and Drug Administration. The FDA passed a rule finalized in May forcing e-cigarette vendors to submit a pre-market tobacco application for each of their products. Under the FDA rule, vendors and manufactures will have until Aug. 8, 2018 to submit the applications for their products. Many are anticipating closure due to the application costs, which range from $100,000 to $400,000 dollars each.
Republican Rep. Tom Cole and Democratic Rep. Sanford Bishop introduced bipartisan legislation Thursday eliminating the onerous requirement from the FDA forcing manufacturers to submit products for approval that are already on the market. They argue this will help keep thousands of vendors and manufacturers in business.