The annual meeting of the British Medical Association had an interesting development for vapers. When a medic called for bans on vaping in public places, a top-ranking official had this to say about it:
"Vaping is not the same as smoking, second-hand smoke is harmful to health but there is no evidence that e-cigarette vapour carries the same harms. In fact a ban on using e-cigarettes in public places could be damaging, as it may put off smokers from using e-cigarettes to help them quit. "
That was said by Rosanna O’Connor, Public Health England’s director of drugs, alcohol and tobacco. While others at the same conference went on about how more research needs to be done and the usual counter-arguments, the fact that the comment came from one of the UK’s highest-ranking officials responsible for tobacco harm reduction is encouraging.
Do tobacco bans encourage smokers to quit?
Total bans on smoking cigarettes in public places and the home have been shown to encourage quitting by numerous studies. It changes what is perceived as normal in public, and enforces peer pressure to get smokers to quit. Any smoker can tell you that running outside to have a cigarette in the rain is an unpleasant experience.
And that’s all well and good - but lumping vaping in with tobacco smoking for purposes of bans in public places removes one of the smoker’s primary reasons for quitting - a more societally acceptable habit and one that causes significantly less harm than tobacco smoking.
Secondhand vapour not harmful to passersby
Even the most dire papers and studies that have been done on secondhand vapour acknowledge that it is exponentially less dangerous than cigarette smoke. While secondhand vapour contains particulate and Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), the amounts are far less than secondhand smoke. The rosiest studies have concluded that there is “no significant risk of harm to human health from e-cigarette emissions.”
Bans on vaping have been removed in Wales, numerous medical facilities around the United Kingdom, and many more due to the prevailing research that allowing vaping devices discourages smoking, and this is absolutely the case. Someone who smokes is more likely to bring a vape pen to work if they are allowed to vape at work, effectively reducing the amount they smoke and hopefully increasing the possibility that they will replace smoking with vaping.