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Guest Post: Vaping culture and its influence on society

By Margaret Wilson,
Special to Cannabis Daily Record

Around the world, vaping is moving towards a status of a mainstream. During the past few years, it has reached a significant spread, drawing a keen interest and converting from being used in private or a narrow circle of supporters to forming a large vape community and many brick-and-mortar vape lounges. It continues to fuel an ongoing debate among its advocates, people who are hostile to anything new, and governmental authorities.

Vaping culture on the rise
A whole culture is growing around a new smoking practice. Manufacturers go above and beyond to attract new customers and keep existing ones. They apply modifications to vape devices, develop eye-catching designs, and enrich the choice of e-juices. Whether it’s an up to date herb vaporizer or an oil vape, a user has a range of power settings, and an array of e-liquids available, with different flavors and nicotine or cannabis strength.

Vaping is extremely popular. BBC refers to the following facts that prove it:

1. There has been a constant decrease in the number of smokers worldwide from 2000 to 2018 – from 1.14 billion to 1.1 billion. By contrast, the number of vapers has been growing fast – from 7 million in 2011 to 35 million in 2016.

2. Spending on vape products is rising. Five years ago, the global vaping market was worth $4.2bn. Today, it is estimated to be worth $22.6bn.

Why do people vape?
Vaping culture is a grassroots movement. But people have different reasons to vape. The citizens of states like New York use it as a method of quitting cigarettes that is safer, cheaper and more effective. When a smoker is going to start to vape, they get a liquid which contains nicotine. This helps with the withdraw process as it eases the physical cravings.

For green stuff lovers in states like California or Colorado, a weed vaporizer is a way of smoking weed that is discreet, safer, and more efficient. Even some doctors who prescribe medical marijuana advice their patients to consider vaping for this purpose. It allows feeling the effects faster and avoiding the harmful toxins that are produced by combustion.
For young enthusiasts, it’s a sport. They buy the devices that produce the most massive plumes of vapor and engage in “cloud chasing.” Skilled performers amaze public and judges with vapor tricks.

For many, vaping has evolved into a lifestyle. People visit vape bars and shops. A newbie learns the basic things about this activity there, and the savvy users share their experiences. Of course, it’s possible to buy some oil or dry herb vaporizer there.
Vapers are active at social media. YouTube and other social media have created vape celebrities:

RiP Trippers channel has reached 210 million Youtube views. A blogger ends his videos with the slogan: “Smoking is dead, vaping is the future, the future is now.”
Nick Green runs the online vape store, Namber Juice community, and GrimmGreen Youtube channel. “I am all about vaping, e-cigs and tobacco harm reduction,” says Nick.
Austin Lawrence who is known as the Vape God has 2.3 million followers on his Instagram and 1.3 million followers on YouTube where he posts the videos of his vape tricks.

The authorities vs. vaping
As vape culture grows, it starts to feel the pressure of collective attention. The public health community is taken by surprise, and it’s struggling to catch up. Health professionals are hurrying to conduct research and develop evidence-based guidelines and policies.
An alternative to smoking still has an intricate status when it comes to public places, taxation and the halls of big pharma. Some countries ban vaping totally. Others heavily restrict the industry. The reason is the lack of research. Nobody can say for sure whether it’s safe or harmful.

Often, the debates involve the members of a single organization. For example, the FDA has declared war on vaping. But some of her representatives believe that vaping can be an effective means for quitting smoking.

“If you could take every adult smoker and switch them to e-cigarettes, that would have a substantial public health effect,” says Dr. Scott Gottlieb, FDA. His colleague Mitch Zeller agrees with him and says that a switch to “one of those non-combustible products” would be beneficial for everyone.

How can vaping change the world?
There are three ways to measure the advantage of vaping over smoking to individual and society:

1. Health.

For society as a whole, if smokers switch to e-cigarettes and never go back to tobacco again, it would be an enormous public health benefit. Though some studies show the possible risks of vaping, they are not convincing. It’s a new phenomenon, and it’s early to talk about long-term effects.

Many scientists find it safer than smoking. For example, Public Health England (PHE) said in their sensational review that vaping posed “only a small fraction” of the risk of smoking. So, a dry herb vape pen is definitely a better choice than a traditional cigarette.

2. Economic impact.

Smoking money machine is an essential part of the economy of any country. Its disappearance might leave a massive hole in their budgets.

But there’s no reason to worry. Vaping has forced the tobacco industry to change the direction. They quickly understood that consumers want a low-risk alternative to traditional cigarette. British-American Tobacco purchased Blu. R.J. Reynolds developed the Vuse. Even the father of vaping Hon Lik sold all his patents to Imperial Tobacco in 2014.

Besides, rising demand for vape products has fueled a small business boom. In 2017, the Vapor Technology Association reported more than 8.000 new businesses in 50 states. That means higher employment rate and additional money in the budget.

3. Environmental impact.

Cigarette butts take about 12 years to decompose. So, they are thrown into water or on the ground, the toxins leach out and harm the wildlife. Second-hand smoke affects air quality as there are about 4000 chemical in smoke.

As for vaping, it’s more eco-friendly. Vapor is much cleaner than smoke. And the counterparts of devices can be recycled.

Conclusion
Vape culture is a new craze. But it’s galvanized by strict federal regulations for production, sale, and use of vape products. Since tobacco harm reduction involves the replacement of smoking tobacco cigarettes with smoke-free alternatives, consumers deserve the right to choose what they want. Modern technology gives people vaping, and they want to enjoy it as long as it doesn’t harm anyone.

About the author:
Margaret Wilson, a blogger who writes about the healthy way of life (healthy food, sports, motivation etc.) Now she studies vaping as an alternative for people who are struggling with smoking.

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