Indoor vaping bans have become increasingly common as more governments have begun to implement regulations on the use of vaporizer devices.
One of the most significant debates lies around the question: Are indoor vaping bans necessary?
The arguments for and against allowing people to use vaporizers in public spaces is vast. We took a look at each sides main points and summarized them so you could get a better understanding of the current debate.
Before we understand the debate, it is essential to get a better grasp of the facts we know about secondhand vapor.
THE RESEARCH ON SECONDHAND VAPOR
Secondhand vapor is the vapor produced after an individual exhales a puff from a vaporizer.
What do we know about it?
Unlike secondhand smoke, no combustion occurs in the creation of secondhand vapor. When combustion occurs, new chemicals form due to the burning of plant matter. With secondhand vapor, a liquid is vaporized, producing a gas. This is the same process that water undergoes when it boils to become steam.
Secondhand smoke contains over 7,000 chemicals. Secondhand vapor contains the four primary ingredients in e-liquid: propylene glycol, food-grade flavoring, vegetable glycerin, and nicotine.
Multiple studies that examined secondhand vapor concluded that it contained no toxicants or chemicals that could pose any threat to public health. If you’d like to read about more of the science and truth about secondhand vapor, we’ve written an article that goes into more detail on the subject.
With the majority of studies pointing to the fact that secondhand vapor poses no threat to public health, why would there be a debate over the issue?
THE ARGUMENTS FOR INDOOR VAPING BANS
Vaping in public could renormalize tobacco use
Some believe that by allowing people to use vaporizers in public, it will re-normalize the use of tobacco in public. Because smoking was once an ordinary activity in public, anti-vaping advocates believe that its potential to re-introduce smoking into society could be a devastating loss for tobacco control.
This argument is ridiculous for many reasons and presents many logical falsehoods.
Tobacco and e-liquid are so much different they almost are not even worth comparing. The only similarity between the two is the method of consuming them. Both involve users inhaling in a gas, and exhaling a substance.
Saying that using vaporizers would re-normalize tobacco use is like saying drinking milk in public would encourage more people to drink alcohol in public. Both are substances that people drink, but one is much less harmful. No one would ever make that argument, and governments should give vaporizers the same treatment.
Studies show vaporizers are far less toxic than regular cigarettes, and yet they continue to be lumped into the same category because the method of consumption looks similar.
It could encourage people to start using vaporizers and eventually tobacco
Proponents of indoor vaping bans believe that if more young people witness adults using vaporizers, they will be encouraged to try vaporizers and ultimately end up smoking regular tobacco.
This argument makes sense, but no current research points to the fact that vaporizers act as a gateway to smoking regular tobacco or that children and teens who have never used regular tobacco will ever take up vaping.
A study by the British Journal of General Practice discovered that the number of vaporizer users who had never smoked was incredibly small, only 0.2%. We created this infographic to give you a better idea behind some of the science that disputes the gateway claim:
The chances that someone will begin using a vaporizer frequently without ever having smoked are minimal. If that is the case, the chances of someone beginning to smoke tobacco because they saw someone vaping in public seem to be extremely minimal.
You have the right to vape, but not if it impedes on my right to breathe clean air.
Many people who do not understand the difference between smoke and vapor feel that allowing vaporizer use indoors impedes on their right to breathe in clean air.
The vast majority of people do not have a clear understanding of the differences between vaporizers and cigarettes. Because of this, they do not understand how little danger secondhand vapor poses to their health.
As a result, they feel that breathing in any amount of vapor may be harmful. If secondhand vapor is almost identical to regular air, it stands to reason that breathing it in should not be a violation of their right to clean air.
Now that you understand the argument for the bans in public spaces, we’ll take a look at all the reasons people believe these bans should not exist.
THE ARGUMENTS AGAINST BANS IN PUBLIC SPACES
There are no dangerous substances in the vapor
This is the most common argument made in favor of allowing vaporizers in public spaces. If the secondhand vapor poses no threat to anyone’s health, there should not a be a ban on it.
The reason governments banned tobacco smoking in public spaces was because the secondhand smoke caused disease and health issues.
There would never be a ban on cologne or perfume because those substances impede on other’s rights to breathe in clean air. Although the air takes on a different scent when someone is wearing cologne, it does not in any way endanger the person breathing it.
Vapor is similar in this aspect. It temporarily changes the scent in the room but does not lead to any harm.
If people use them as an alternative to smoking, the life saving and money saving potential could be tremendous
Those that argue there should be no indoor vaping bans in public spaces believe that governments should not place impediments on people picking up vaporizer use if they’re doing it as an alternative to smoking.
The health and monetary costs associated with smoking weigh heavily on everyone. According to a study by the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, the United States can attribute $170 billion in annual healthcare spending to cigarette smoking. Public funding such as Medicare and Medicaid paid for around 60% of those costs. Over 400,000 people in the United States die each year from smoking-related causes.
Opponents of public vaping bans argue that because vaping has the potential to reduce these costs, governments should not be doing anything to discourage people from using them. They believe that if people were allowed to vape indoors, they would be more likely to choose a vaporizer over a cigarette.
Governments should not tell people how to live their lives if it does not inflict any harm on anyone else.
Because vaporizers are not burning anything and do not appear to cause any harm to bystanders, many feel that they should not be regulated by the government. Rather than letting the government decide where people can and cannot use vaporizers, they feel it is best to let individual business owners decide.
It seems that many of those in favor of public space bans on vaporizers have a bias against vaporizers from the start. They believe that vaporizers and cigarettes are one in the same. They fail to realize the drastic differences between the two and the harm potential that each possesses.
We must continue to make a distinction between smoking and vaping. As long as the public remains unaware of how different the two processes are, calls for public bans are going to remain strong.
Do you think indoor vaping bans in public spaces are a good idea? Or should we be able to vape when and how we choose? Does the answer lie somewhere in the middle? Should we be allowed to vape in some public spaces, but not others?
Let us know your thoughts on Facebook and in the comments below!