The Future of Vaping: Can We Change Things, or is it Too Late?
So the future for vaping looks very bleak. Evidence carries depressingly little weight when pitted against a pre-existing mistrust of anything resembling smoking, and regulators seem more eager to appease special-interest groups than look out for the well-being of smokers.
The currently proposed regulations are morally disastrous, disproportionate and unjust, but is it too late to stop them? Can we bring the steam-train of heavy-handed regulation to a stand-still before it obliterates the hope for a future without combusted tobacco? Can we save vaping?
The Future of Vaping: Table of Contents
Home: The Future of Vaping
Part 5: Can we change this, or is it too late? (you are here)
What Can Ordinary Vapers do to Save Vaping?
The most relevant question for most vapers is what we can actually do, as individuals. Do our voices really count? Can we stop the rising tide of burdensome regulation before it’s too late?
If it wasn’t for ordinary vapers we’d already have been overrun by our opponents. Some ordinary vapers turn into industry stakeholders as their direct experience allows them to go into business. Others become strong advocates and champions for the product category and join in on either industry interests and/or consumer interests. Vaping is a consumer created solution to the problem of smoking and it’s ordinary vapers that are making all the difference everywhere it is needed. Of course, boosting the number of active ones that will put in a bit of extra effort and time would be nice to see, and I think we are seeing that happen more than in the past few years.
Lynda Abshear (“Lynda73” of r/electronic_cigarette)
For the average consumer, the best way to help is to donate money to groups like CAASA or find local groups like the Kentucky Smoke Free Associations and the Tennessee Smoke Free Association. State law moves much quicker than Federal law, so we really need to focus on these state advocates.
It is only too late to save vaping if you don’t do anything to save it. We have a voice and we vote. We need to use them both.
We as a community have made great strides as far as activism goes. But, still more can be done. More people need to be educated about the importance of lobbying. It’s sort of weird for people to become politically active over what’s basically a consumer technology. I mean, there weren’t any letters to congressmen about Beta being superior to VHS.
As more people enter the vaping fold, they need to learn not only how to use their equipment, but the importance of working within the political system to keep things as open as possible.
Will that be enough? I don’t know. It’s been my opinion for years that the vendors in the early days should have done more from a lobbying standpoint. The industry barely defeated the FDA in court by sort of banding together. After that it was back to minding their own stores and not thinking long term. That opportunity is gone and we’ll never get it back.
Vapers could never really do anything to improve the future of vaping, or influence the right people. The vaping community (the majority anyway) are from very different backgrounds. The only thing we have in common – truly have in common – is vaping.
Even the so-called organizations can’t really do anything except alert the disparate community about some hearing somewhere. None of these organizations have any real power. They give vapers a false sense that there are people who can actually help them keep their rights, but in truth, they are all simply town criers, calling attention to a new hearing or a proposed regulation. I know a lot of people will be angry with me, but these organizations are useless.
One question you didn’t ask that I would like to ask your readers: where are the leaders in our community? Who is really standing up and fighting the good fight?
The answer is there isn’t anyone. And that’s a shame because we need someone. We need someone the public respects, someone with a very large audience of non-vapers, to stand up for vaping and to quell the alarmists out there. Until that happens, we are at the mercy of those who make the loudest noise, and unfortunately the people with the most common sense have better things to concern themselves with than the act of vaping. In the grand scheme of things vaping is pretty low on the ladder, don’t you think?
How Should Vaping be Regulated?
So, putting aside what is happening, what should happen when it comes to regulations on vaping.
Safe manufacturing standards should be a priority in a perfect world.
The government does have a job to do; it is the same job it’s had since the beginning of this country: to do what it can to keep its citizens safe, without abridging their rights and freedoms. The job of the government in relation to vaping is to make sure e-liquids are safely produced, and that vape gear is subject to the same safety regulations as a lamp, or flashlight, or any other household item. Then get out of the way and let the industry grow. So the priority should be safety of the products, not removing them.
Lynda Abshear (“Lynda73”)
Almost all vapers have no problem with certain regulations such as child-proof caps, tamper-proof seals, clean rooms for manufacturing, and – of course – no sales to minors, but the current proposed regulations go too far.
Lynn Lutz (“Baditude” of ECF)
I believe e-liquid manufacturers should openly reveal what specific ingredients are used in their products, specifically what flavoring agents are used, as some have evidence of potentially causing respiratory issues to vapers.
The priority would be to introduce THR type products across the board with quality controls in place: standards that could be met by the majority of manufacturers and companies, and an abundance of choices. Let adults choose for themselves. Eventually smoking would become obsolete through our own actions.
[The focus should be on] fostering innovation to create products that appeal more to current smokers than they do to current vapers. Getting the current generation(s) and the next one off of combustible tobacco needs to be the main priority when it comes to that. The better the products, the easier it is for smokers to make the switch.
Would Sensible Regulation End Smoking?
Tobacco control fantasies of an “endgame” – the plan to wipe smoking off the face of the earth – appear to be just that: fantasies. However, if we embraced vaping, building a future without combusted tobacco might just be possible. With sensible regulation, would we be able to end smoking, for good?
I fully believe this. If vaping were to be left alone aside from light touch standards and quality control for product safety, I would like to think by the time I pass away, my grandchildren wouldn’t even know smoking used to be a ‘thing.’
Possibly, yes. It would still take a long time before the combustible tobacco cigarette is obsolete, because there are so many smokers out there. But eventually, that is what would be likely to happen.
Some people will never quit smoking, no matter what. But with the right kind of sensible regulations ensuring stuff is manufactured as safely as possible, vaping would continue to grow until smoking was a weird thing that hipsters did.
Whether vaping exists or not, we are headed to a future without tobacco products […] If the government passed light-handed regulations that just made sure no one is selling products that could blow up or poison you and removed itself from the equation, then the vaping industry would grow, innovation would continue and the hobby of vaping would become acceptable. But smoking is on the way out regardless.
Conclusion – “The priority should be safety of the products, not removing them”
We vapers have accomplished a lot so far, but it’s clear that there is a lot of fighting still to do, and the coming years will undoubtedly have a profound influence on the industry. Whether we’ll end up with what John Manzione and the other advocates see as a priority – regulations that ensure product safety without compromising innovation – or with what we seem to be getting: all the costs of bureaucracy with none of the potential benefits. Unless ordinary vapers step up and do something to make a difference, the future of vaping could end up being as grim as many are predicting.