What the critics don’t understand: vaping is fun and needs to stay that way

If anti-vapers succeed in their quest to make vaping boring, then vaping will lose its power to compete with traditional cigarettes.

Anti-vaping campaigners are worried by many aspects of vaping, but what they are most worried about is how fun it looks. To their minds, vaping being enjoyable is a bad thing; they see it as proof that e-cigarettes are part of a plot to get the next generation hooked on tobacco products. But what they fail to realise is that e-cigarettes have to be fun, and perhaps even a little risky, if they are to be a serious competitor to traditional tobacco products.

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E-cigarette flavors are one of the main targets of the anti-vaping movement. They argue that sweet and colorful flavors, such as Fruit Loops and Cap’n Crunch, make vaping more appealing to children, ignoring the fact that Fruit Loops are universally loved.

There’s a whole heap of emotion in that kind of “think of the children” style argument, but not a shred of evidence. An Office for National Statistics survey found that e-cigarettes are “almost exclusively” used by smokers or ex-smokers, while Professor Peter Hajek of Public Health England said that it is “almost impossible to find a young non-smoker who would be a daily vaper”. Let he who has never enjoyed a bowl of Cap’n Crunch throw the first stone!

Some anti-vaping lobbyists have gone one step further and targeted certain aspects of e-cigarette design. The pace of innovation in the e-cigarette market has been remarkable. Models that were cutting edge two years ago are now hopelessly outdated. Many of these breakthroughs, such as the box mod and temperature control, came about through the tinkering of independent companies. These newer devices are a big part of the enjoyment of vaping — not only do many enjoy the technical side of things, but current generation e-cigarettes simply enable a more satisfying vaping experience.

RJ Reynolds has lobbied the FDA to place restrictions on the ‘open tank system’ style of e-cigarette. Their argument is that open tank systems are vulnerable to misuse, but their intention is clear: it’s an attempt to shut down innovative competitors through legislation. Both the FDA in the US and the TPD in the EU have bought into this idea and restrictive laws are on the table that will place nonsensical limitations on the kinds of box mods that e-cigarette manufacturers can bring to market. Coincidentally, the cig-a-likes favored by RJ Reynolds and others will be regulated comparatively lightly.

An unholy alliance of misguided public health officials and duplicitous tobacco lobbyists are both trying to make e-cigarettes less enjoyable. While they are doing this for different reasons, the consequences will be the same: by reducing the appeal of e-cigarettes, you encourage smokers to go back to cigarettes.

Many smokers don’t necessarily struggle to quit cigarettes, but they certainly struggle to successfully stay off cigarettes long-term, especially after stressful events. This is where e-cigarettes really excel when compared to nicotine inhalers, gums and patches (which are no better than willpower for long-term quitting). While the thought of reaching for a nicotine patch after a bad day at work is about as appealing as a low-fat ready meal, a puff on an e-cigarette is actually enjoyable enough to prevent a full slide back into smoking.

Those of us in the pro-vaping camp sometimes see the anti-vaping crowd as a bunch of fun-hating, grey-faced ‘desk murderers’ who are unable to see the unintended yet deadly consequences of their actions. This stereotype is not helped by pieces of legislation that seem to serve no other purpose than to annoy vapers, such as proposed arbitrary limits on nicotine content and bottle size. But the reality is that we share at least one common goal: a reduction in the number of people smoking cigarettes.

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For this goal to be achieved, vaping needs to stay fun.

Author Bio: Pascal Culverhouse founded the Electric Tobacconist in 2013. Less than 18 months later the business was the UK’s number one online retailer of e-cigarettes. He still finds time to vape everyday and keeps up with the latest e-cig trends.

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