This week is National Non-Smoking Week. It is purported to be a week for educating on smoking-related health issues, for urging Canadians to quit smoking, and for discouraging Canadians from starting. No one could disagree with any of these noble goals.
However, there is an important voice missing from the discussion – the voice of Canadian vapers. There are over one million Canadian adults who vape. The vast majority of whom are former smokers or have cut down their smoking with vaping.
None of the special interest groups that participate in National Non-Smoking Week include vaping as a way to help achieve all of their above objectives. Instead, they demonize vaping. They downplay vaping’s potential for tobacco harm reduction. They dismiss the irrefutable science that vaping is much less harmful than smoking.
The inability of public health advocates to see another path in the tobacco harm reduction road has limited their ability to achieve a smoke-free Canada. In fact, they are having the opposite effect. Thanks to a well-oiled and well-funded public relations machine that blows out misinformation on vaping, smokers (in fact, most people in general) believe that vaping is more dangerous than smoking.
This is extraordinarily dangerous – smokers don’t see vaping as a viable way to quit. And, punitive regulations push vapers back to smoking or to a black market where there absolutely no safety standards on the product.
The media has bought into the lie. When was the last time any mainstream media published a well-researched and balanced story on vaping or talked to actual Canadian vapers about their own experience?
Here are the facts:
• Vaping is less harmful than smoking. Health Canada says so. In fact, many international public health groups, like UK Cancer, have a much more accepting view of vaping, unlike their Canadian counterparts.
• Vaping can help smokers quit. Again, Health Canada acknowledges this.
• Approximately 48,000 Canadians die of smoking related illnesses annually. Zero die of vaping.
• Canada’s smoking rates continue to decline. They could decline even faster if there was greater public and public health experts’ acceptance of vaping as an effective tobacco harm reduction tool.
A smoke-free future for Canadians is possible. But it can only happen if we set our biases about vaping aside and accept this product as a way to save lives and improve health outcomes for Canadians.
National Non-Smoking Week
By Maria Papaioannoy, Rights4Vapers
January 19, 2022