The Latest on E-Cig Bans in Public Places
Even though all scientists have agreed that electronic cigarettes are a much safer alternative to tobacco, our dream of being able to get our vape on anywhere we wish is slowly turning into a pipe-dream. Other countries around the world have been quick to stamp out vaping, and now it looks as though the UK have also jumped on the bandwagon. Many major restaurants, transport companies and airlines have teamed up to ban the use of e-cigs within their premises. Starbucks, All Bar One, Caffe Nero, KFC and Nicholson's pubs are the latest outlets to join the list of those who prohibit the use of electronic cigarettes within their premises.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) released a health report this summer about the use of e-cigarettes. In general, this report prohibited the sale or advertisement of electronic cigarettes to minors.
This comes at a time when the use of e cigarettes are skyrocketing around the world, with many people switching over from tobacco smoking. Electronic cigarettes use battery-powered cartridges to release nicotine-flavoured vapour to the ''Smoker''. As a result, the user enjoys a flavour that resembles a real smoking experience without the tar and harmful substances associated with tobacco.
Unfortunately, this idea has sparked a wave of controversy about potential risks and benefits of e-cigarette use. For the World Health Organisation it seems there is still not enough scientific evidence to back up the use of electronic cigarettes. Some experts argue that they could encourage individuals to smoke tobacco, while others say they help individuals to ditch the bad habit.
According to a Sunday Times Report, the Royal Opera House, the Tate Gallery, the National Portrait Gallery and Natural History Museum have all prohibited the use of e-cigarettes due to lack of sufficient scientific evidence on their safety. But are their actions really valid?
What Manufacturers and Experts Say
Michael Clapper, who chairs the Electronic Cigarette Industry Trade Association (also the co-founder of Vapestick) says that the move to ban e-cigarettes is short sighted. He also adds that the vapour released to bystanders is not harmful, and that this will alienate those who ''Vape'' as an alternative to smoking tobacco.
Carcinogens and toxins are found in regular cigarettes, and so they kill more than 6 million people every year. But on the other hand, e-cigarettes are said to be way less harmful. They simply don't contain these deadly elements that threaten life.
The World Health Organisation at it Again
However, in the month of August, WHO (which is a branch of the United Nations health body), formed a commission whose main task would be to review the use of e-cigs, consequently stiffening up the regulations - which are similar to those applied on regular tobacco products.
But this report was critised by a group of tobacco addiction experts, who said that the report was riddled with errors, misrepresentation and misinterpretation. They also emphasised on the fact that it would see policymakers missing out on the health benefits of using electronic cigarettes.
Another researcher, based at King's College (London) national addiction centre, expressed her disappointment on the WHO report. She says there's not enough evidence to prompt authorities to conclude on the potential health impact of electronic cigarettes in the future. But it is clear that they are safer than normal cigarettes.
Peter Hajek, another co-worker at Queen Mary (tobacco dependence research unit) felt that it was important to evaluate and assess the use of electronic cigarettes in line with the potential harm of tobacco elements. According to Hajek, there are two products in the market that compete.
Regular smoking endangers the health of bystanders, and is likely to attract new customers from the non-smoking population. On the other hand, electronic smoking is risk-free to both the user and bystander, and is not likely to be over-used or abused.
Despite all this, the British Medical Association still maintains its stand - that it supports the ban no matter what. Sheila Hollins, who is the head of the BMA's board of science, says it's important to regulate where e-cigs should be used, to protect ''non-vaper''.
This is all very disconcerting and narrow minded of the BMA and the World Health Organisation. Smoking has been around for years and we finally have a product that is a much less harmful alternative. By imposing the same restrictions on e cigarettes as tobacco it is just giving smokers more reason to continue smoking tobacco and not to make the switch. We believe e cigarettes should be encouraged as a healthier alternative to tobacco and not hindered in this short sighted way. There is enough scientific data now that has proven that second-hand vapour isn’t a health risk, and that e cigarettes are fundamentally safer than smoking tobacco.
We wonder how much data these bodies need before agreeing that e cigs are the only sensible alternative to tobacco at the moment. It is a shame that many major companies are now jumping on board to ban e cigs. It looks like we have a long way to go until we can vape in peace, without being classed in the same bracket as tobacco smokers. But we here at Smokshop will continue to promote our e cigarettes as a safer alternative to tobacco, and we are sure our customers will too.
What do you think on this new ban in the UK? Do you agree or disagree? Let us know in the comments, we would love to hear your thoughts.
Author: Kevin Ewbank
Avid vaper & co-founder of SmokShop