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“The great vape debate” – Here we go again.

“The US is cracking down on vaping while the UK is promoting e-cigarettes as an aid to giving up smoking. Where does the truth lie?” Is the newest article regarding the misinformation campaigns around vaping in the Guardian. Whilst I’m sure we can all agree that The Guardian is one of the more trusted news sources, aren’t we getting a bit tired of having to reiterate the same information over and over again?

Every time a scaremongering article appears in the mass media, the vaping community, backed by the NHS and other authoritative health organisations, provides statistical and medical evidence to rebut these claims, only for the claims to resurface a month later.

The majority of developments within the vaping industry is situated in America with its continual shift of legislation, ‘epidemics’ and misinformation spread by the news outlets. We have seen a rise in states banning flavoured e-liquid, banning vaping altogether, and even the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommending stopping vaping completely back in 2019.

If you’re not caught up with the CDC reporting it’s ‘Mystery Vaping Illness’, here is a quick timeline on what happened. – This incident forms the basis of the majority of the anti-vaping arguments, which you can see is a complete moot point right from the beginning.

The ‘Mysterious Vaping Illness’ timeline

August 17th, 2019 – CDC investigates into 94 cases of ‘vape related’ illnesses in 14 states.

August 23rd, 2019 – The first ‘vape-related’ death is reported in Illinois reportedly using e-cigarettes to consume nicotine.

September 3rd, 2019 – Oregon’s Health Authority says it is investigating the death of an individual with a severe respiratory illness following the use of an e-cigarette.

September 4th, 2019 – Former FDA commissioner writes an editorial in the Washington Post urging federal officials to take action and to investigate into illegal and dangerous vape juices.

September 6th, 2019 – 5th ‘Vape-related’ death reported after user with a history of lung disease vapes an illegal THC product.

September 10th, 2019 – 6th ‘Vape related’ death and officials from the Kansas Department Of Health advise that everyone stops vaping regardless of the fact they had already established that those who had become ill or had died were using illegal and unregulated ingredients.

September 11th, 2019 – Trump administration announces it’s pushing a ban on all flavoured e-cigarettes in the US even though flavoured liquids aren’t the identified problem at all. Claims vaping is a health epidemic for teenagers regardless of statistical information.

September 15th, 2019 – New York announces a ban on flavoured e-liquid.

September 19th, 2019 – FDA conducts criminal probe into ‘vape-related’ illnesses.

September 24th, 2019 – Massachusetts announced 4-month ban on all vaping products declaring a public health emergency. So far that’s Michigan, New York, and Maine who have banned vaping products.

September 25th, 2019 – Juul CEO steps down although no evidence to show that Juul is tied to the illnesses. This could be completely coincidental as CEOs change all the time.

October 4th, 2019 – FDA warns not to use any THC containing vapes.

November 8th, 2019 – CDC homes in on Vitamin E Acetate, an illegal ingredient, plus the use of THC and states that people who have bought any e-liquid that contains THC have done so through illegal and unlicensed dispensaries.

December, 2019 – New York mayor Bill de Blasio signed a law banning flavours despite the evidence that e-liquid flavours are not the problem and never have been.

January 2020 – Justice Catherine Cholakis revoked the New York Ban saying that it was an overreach.

Mysterious Vaping Illness summed up

In summary, the ‘Mysterious Vaping Epidemic’ was caused by people using illegal substances that they purchased through the black market.

Governing officials and anti-vape campaigners started to use this tragic event to start banning flavoured e-liquid, or vaping altogether, even though the two are completely unrelated.

What’s new in San Francisco?

Since the end of January it’s been illegal to sell vaping products within, or to a person who resides within San Francisco. This has led to business closures, and a large increase of risk for the residents to pick smoking back up and seriously harm their health.

This is particularly interesting to see, given the fact San Francisco has historically been more progressive than the rest of the US, legalising marijuana back in 2016. The legalisation of marijuana is as progressive as it gets with only a few cities in the world allowing marijuana to be sold recreationally. So, if they’re so progressive with one of the most criminalised plants in the world, why are they banning vaping?

Won’t somebody please think of the children!?

The ban is a precaution on teenagers vaping. Again, we have seen the statistics that there is no crisis among America’s youth – or anywhere else for that matter! As we can see in the timeline, Trump was pushing for a ban to save the children back in September, claiming that vaping is a gateway mechanism to smoking. We would much rather see San Francisco banning tobacco which has caused countless deaths across the world than a highly successful stop smoking aid.

The Cross Atlantic Schism.

Here in the UK, which is a highly regulated vaping industry, the NHS continues to support vaping as the most successful way to quit smoking, and with a statistic that says e-cigarettes are 95% safer it’s hard to ignore (unless you are an American official looking to ban vaping!).

“Prof Ann McNeill of King’s College London, a tobacco and addiction expert who advises PHE, defends its position. “We are battling against misinformation on a massive scale,” she says. McNeill acknowledges there has been a rise in vaping among kids in the US and Canada, but does not see it as a reason for panic. “I don’t think it merits discussion of an ‘epidemic’. That word is overblown,” she said.”


“Ann McNeill says there is not much growth in vaping among kids in the UK. Her key concern would be a rise in vaping among young people who have never smoked, but there’s no sign of that. She thinks the key to reducing youth uptake is “getting adult smoking down”, because young people tend to imitate their elders’ behaviour.”

In conclusion

The ‘Great Vape Debate’ is the same nonsense that we’ve been seeing for years. Fear-mongering noise from the paid-to-publish media organisations versus facts. The Guardian’s article goes into more detail and, a testament to the Guardian as always, presents the facts and a balanced argument.

In the UK, the NHS continues to lead the way in promoting and even selling sanctioned vape stores within Hospital premises to help combat smoking related deaths.

I’m sure that this isn’t the end of the vaping debate, but we will be here time and time again to put the record straight with facts, all delivered from reliable sources.

For the latest facts on Vaping and your health, take a look at our aptly named Vaping Health Facts Guide.