E-Cigarette Ban: More Harm Than Good?

Simon Morales Santacoloma

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The Trump administration has made a proposal to ban the sale of all flavored e-cigarettes in the United States, accounting for approximately 85% of sales. This comes after various deaths reported being linked to vaping. Studies show that about one in four high school students are smoking some form of e-cigarette. 

Although recent reports on deaths linked to vape are concerning, they are misleading since these deaths are linked to THC, the main psychoactive component of cannabis. Vapes are filled with illicit THC juices which are not distributed by the companies being called into question. While the products distributed by brands such as JUUL contain high levels of addictive nicotine, they provide an escape from traditional cigarettes which contain over 69 chemicals that are known to cause cancer. 

The Trump administration seeking to prohibit entirely the sale of e-cigarettes would be a huge blow to all the efforts being made to drive people away from cigarettes. As soon as flavored vapes disappear from the market, many nicotine users will return to cigarettes or visit the unregulated black market and continue vaping. If this law is implemented, politicians should expect a surge in the use of cigarettes, responsible for 500,000 deaths per year in the United States, as well as the use of poor quality vapes which could cause additional health consequences.

E-cigarettes are a form of harm reduction for people already addicted to smoking cigarettes. The media is downplaying the benefits of vaping to smokers and exaggerating the harms it causes to teens. Cigarette smoking reached a historic low for teens in 2019, showing that vapes are effectively moving teens away from smoking. In addition to this, while nicotine is known to be a harmful substance there is no research to show that vaping can cause cancer or other illnesses. More research should be done and additional measures should be taken to discourage the use of vapes in teens, but policy makers must not prohibit the sale of these products if they do not want to revert the progress that has been made in ending the use of cigarettes.