Believes regulation should be dictated by science, not fear.

The United States is currently in the midst of hysteria surrounding nicotine vaping following reports of illnesses repeatedly misattributed to it, despite both the FDA and CDC finding illicit cannabis oil cartridges as the source. As other state officials fearmonger unfounded concerns about vaping, one state official stands in defiance of fervor and simply falling in line.

Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller wrote to federal officials stating that the ban of vapor products would harm public health. This letter comes as a federal ban on flavored vapor products is currently being drafted by the Food and Drug Administration.

Members of the vaping industry and community commend Miller for his support of vaping, and his recognition of the value vaping offers to public health at large. Some in the public health community note that investigations surrounding illnesses misattributed to vaping are still ongoing and thus can not say for sure that vaping is entirely safe.

Miller’s concerns stand in direct contrast with other state officials, who have taken to hastily enacted various forms of prohibition on vapor products despite there being zero evidence linking nicotine vapor products to any illnesses to date. In addition, these outbreaks appear to be wholly isolated to the United States, as there have been no other outbreaks in the world as of the time of publishing.

Standing In Defiance

Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller wrote to federal officials in early October to warn that the banning of vapor products to adults may pose a serious public health risk. He had previously joined 11 other public health experts back in June in a letter to Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, urging that Federal restrictions on vapor products will have a negative impact on the health of Americans.

Miller, a lifelong Democrat, told reporters at the Des Moines Register he fears hastily enacted vaping and flavor bans will force nicotine-addicted former smokers to turn back to smoking cigarettes. He had previously served on the board of directors for the Truth Initiative for several years, and most recently had held an unpaid advisory role with Juul Labs as apart of their initiative to combat underage vaping.

“I’m particularly concerned about telling people that have switched from combustible cigarettes to e-cigarettes to stop using these cigarettes because then they’re going to go back … that’s where I’m coming from,” said Miller. As Iowa Attorney General, his office has helped to recover billions of dollars from lawsuits associated with smoking-related diseases.

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds has previously stated she has no plans to sign an executive order banning vapor products but has also stated she hasn’t completely ruled it out either. “That’s not necessarily off the table … but right now we’re gonna take a look at building out what we’re already working on.” Reynolds said in an address to the press.

Truth About Vaping

The worldwide smoking epidemic is responsible for killing hundreds of thousands a year, and currently impacts over one billion people globally. The CDC estimates there are 38 million smokers in the US alone, 16 million of which currently live with a smoking-related condition.

Vaping has repeatedly proven itself as a smoking cessation tool in the battle against the smoking epidemic. A study by University College London found vaping helped 50,000 to 70,000 British smokers quit in 2017 alone.

Current research shows that vaping may be the single greatest smoking cessation tool we have. A study conducted by the University of Louisville found vaping was the single most effective smoking cessation option available, more so than going cold turkey or prescriptions.

In addition to its efficacy as a smoking cessation device, evidence finds that vaping is a reduced-harm alternative to smoking. A study published in the Journal of Aerosol Sciences found that vapers have a 57,000 times lower risk of developing cancer than smokers.

Implications

As most state officials have publicly taken stances against vaping despite there being no concrete evidence to do so, it’s refreshing to see a politician with the courage to take a stand against burdensome overregulation in the name of protecting public health. Many public health officials have already come forward against these flavor bans, noting that a lack of safe and effective smoking cessation tools may force people to continue smoking.

As the largest public health agencies, the FDA and CDC, and more politicians such as Miller come forward with fact-not-fear based approaches to these illnesses caused by vaping illicit marijuana products, we may begin to see a shift in the regulatory landscape surrounding vaping. We may also see the hysteria surrounding vaping begin to die down as more news outlets are forced to report on the crisis accurately instead of aiming for clickbait such as “vaping kills,”

The vaping industry must remain steadfast in continuing to work alongside lawmakers to create common-sense legislation that helps provide safe access to proven smoking cessation devices to adult smokers. In addition, members of the vaping community must remain vocal and civically engaged to help further sway additional lawmakers into recognizing the public health benefits vaping can offer.

How do you feel about the Iowa AG’s stance in support of vaping? Have you or someone you know taken up vaping to cut down or quit smoking? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below, be sure to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to receive all the latest vaping news!

(Image Credit – Pixabay – https://pixabay.com/images/id-1149962/)

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