Friday, February 6, 2015

The Irony of Vapers Supporting Vaping Bans

Something I'm coming across more and more these days is vapers emphatically defending banning public vaping along with smoking. This completely mystifies me and every argument I've seen simply regurgitates ANTZ ideology and supports their baseless propaganda. Below are some of the comments I've been seeing and my responses.

People have a right to clean air, free from our vapor.
What supports this claim? It's not in the Constitution. There are no laws that state that right. "Clean air" certainly isn't a basic human right or else every other emission would be illegal. That includes emissions from cars, trucks, buses, boats, planes, factories, restaurants, heating systems, fireplaces, grills...well, you get the picture. There is simply no way for there to be a "right" to clean air. If people don't have a "right" to be free of all of those other emissions, then they don't have a right to be free from our vapor. It's just plain silly to claim they do and just supports the ANTZ fallacy.

"If you wouldn't want someone else spraying air freshener, talking loudly on their phone or playing with a laser pointer where you are, then don't vape there, either."

I'm a vaper and I don't want to have clouds blown at me while I'm __________(in a restaurant, watching a movie, in a store line...)
Fair enough, but that's about common courtesy. Do we need a law for this? I shouldn't have to put up with people talking loudly during a movie or at their dining table, but there is no need for a law against it. That is left up to the owner or management to address. 

The same should be true for vaping in those places.

Personally, my rule of thumb is: "If you wouldn't want someone else spraying air freshener, talking loudly on their phone or playing with a laser pointer where you are, then don't vape there, either."

But vapers who support laws against vaping in restaurants and stores seem to forget that such a law would also prohibit vaping in places where it makes no sense:
  • In a park.
  • In an open-air stadium. 
  • In a vape shop. 
  • In an apartment. 
  • In a private room at a nursing home. 
  • In a single dorm room. 
  • In a private office. 
  • In a weld shop where the owner and all of his employees vape or smoke.
  • In a designated vaping area of a building, where the employer wants to encourage smokers to switch.
All of those places would also have to prohibit vaping - just so you aren't bothered at a restaurant. Does that seem fair and reasonable?

So, here is a better idea than a law for those places that you don't want people vaping:

We don't know if they are safe yet.
First of all, see the above about "right to clean air." 

Second, please name any other product that was banned from use "just in case it might prove to be unsafe some day." You can't, because the general policy for other products has been to let it be unless it proved to be a health risk. Even FDA-approved drugs aren't pulled from the market until they actually are shown to cause harm and even then, they usually get a "black box warning." Chantix is a perfect example of that.

Third, I do know it's safe to bystanders. I've actually read the science (not just the headlines) and every study has shown the levels of any chemicals detected in vapor to be so low that it would be impossible for it to pose a health risk to bystanders. In fact, every study for the past 10 years has failed to show vapor is even a significant health risk to the actual user!

Since most vapers agree that vaping is - at the very least - far less risky than smoking, then the risks of second-hand vapor must be far less than second-hand smoke. If the risk of exposure from second-hand smoke is extremely low, then the risks of second-hand vapor are extremely lower than extremely low. In fact, according to THR experts, the possible contaminants in second-hand vapor are lower than the hazardous contaminants commonly found in typical restaurant air!

Many vapers may not be aware of the deception of second-hand smoke. Most just take the word of public health and government officials - the very same people exaggerating the risks of vapor products! I've done the research, so I'll give you the Cliff Notes version of the facts that ANTZ will never tell you: Not one study has found an increased risk of any disease for bystanders or employees exposed to second-hand smoke, in a work or social environment, that was statistically significant. Only two studies have found a significant increase in health risks for second hand smoke and those risks only applied to the spouses of heavy smokers, after decades of exposure. 

It's scientifically proven that the risks of second-hand smoke are extremely low. The CDC even admits that the (purely estimated) number of deaths from second-hand smoke makes up less than 10% of the deaths "caused by" cigarette smoke in the United States. In fact, CDC statistics show just as many people are estimated to be killed by the flu every year and twice as many die from adverse reactions to FDA-approved pharmaceuticals!

"Banning public vaping to protect bystanders from "toxins" is like banning the use of water to put out house fires to protect gawkers from lead-based paint chips."

It took decades to find out smoking was bad and they've already found bad things in vapor.
It took decades because it was new science. Now we know what is bad in smoke. It's a simple matter of determining if those same things are in vapor and we've already determined that most of those chemicals are absent. Of the chemicals that have been detected, they have been found to be at lower levels found in other common products that are generally considered safe: 
  • Carcinogens: Lower than found in FDA-approved nicotine patches.
  • Formaldehyde: At about the same levels as found in human breath when used as intended. Only found in higher levels if the device is "dry burned," which would create a harsh vapor that no consumer would tolerate.
  • Metals: Lower than what is allowed in FDA-approved inhaled medications.
  • Particulates: Misrepresented as the same solid particulates found in smoke/tar, but really are liquid particulates (ie. "droplets") that behave differently than solid particulates, so do not pose the same danger.
No matter how hard they try to spin the results, the fact is that the past decade has produced more than 100 studies and thousands of chemical analyses that have failed to find harmful levels of any chemical, metal or carcinogen.

I'm more concerned about taxes and other things. I can live with an indoor use ban.
If you've followed the war on tobacco at all, you know that the ANTZ pushed really hard for the bans, even though they knew the science didn't support any real health risks. The reason they did this was "public perception." As soon as they got the bans passed, they used the new perception that second-hand smoke was a danger to justify their other actions against tobacco users. 

The very indoor vaping bans you "don't care about" are going to bolster and support the taxes and other regulations that you do care about. The indoor bans are just the first step.

I'm still concerned the vapor would bother non-vapers.
Let me ask you this - do you think vaping is saving the lives of smokers? Does it reduce their risks? Do you think millions of smokers switching to e-cigarettes would save millions of lives?

I assume you do, because I've seen you posting as much on Facebook.

In that case, what if indoor bans actually cost lives? What if one smoker, right now, is considering buying an e-cigarette only because his boss said he can use one at his desk instead of going outside? What if he also has a wife and 3 kids at home, who are being exposed to his second-hand smoke (which is the one place any actual health risks have been found?) What if, because he can use an e-cigarette at his desk, he ends up quitting altogether? This would not only save his life, but possibly the life of his wife and children. And because he's quitting while his kids are young, it dramatically reduces the risk of his children becoming smokers themselves.

Now imagine if that indoor ban was passed first. He keeps smoking. His wife gets lung cancer. He dies from heart disease and two of his kids become smokers themselves.

How does that compare to the "risks" of vapor to bystanders? How does that compare to the risk of "annoying" people?

Ask yourself - do the possible small risks and "annoyance" to non-smokers - by allowing vaping in some public spaces - outweigh the known, great risks to smokers (and their families) who don't quit because they lost the incentive of vaping inside at work? When does the risk to smokers and their families from real smoke exposure outwigh the risks to bystanders from vapor? One smoker dying? Two? A hundred?

Is the indoor ban going to end up doing more harm than good? Do you want to be responsible for any smoker who keeps smoking?

I don't.

This is a picture of myself and my family members - who all vape:

In 2009, I bought my first e-cigarette because the state was implementing a smoking ban. I wasn't even trying to quit smoking. Since the ban has passed, I don't vape in restaurants or stores, but on the rare nights I get to go out on the town, I will ask the owner if it's OK to vape in their bar. I've never been told no and have convinced many smokers to switch to vaping (when they saw I got to stay inside.)

If vaping had been included in the state smoking ban, I know I would have kept smoking. Because of that, I never would have introduced my family to vapor products and they'd all still be smoking, too. (Including my mother-in-law, who isn't in the photo.) This is why it's my view that including vapor products in smoking bans will harm far more people than it will ever protect.

Please help oppose vaping bans. It's the right thing to do.

Find more information at:
The Consumer Advocates for Smoke-free Alternatives Association

Wisconsin Smoke-free Alternatives Coalition