The United Kingdom tends to institute health changes that benefit the overall well-being of its citizens. As we look to the changes that have been made in the UK, it's becoming clear that vaping is slowly but surely getting a more positive impression around the world. Vaping has been a positive change for many people, and it's largely due to the efforts of pro-vaping enthusiasts that any changes have been made. People are saying that vaping has improved their lives and outlook on life, and political officials are seemingly paying attention.
Still, while the situation is improving, the war in favor of vaping is still forging on and there is always the danger of citizens losing vital civil liberties. There are several antagonists in the world who have failed to understand the very real scientific research that backs up the claim that vaping is a safe alternative to tobacco. The bigger picture is at risk of being lost as people lose sight of the fact that vaping helps to reduce smoking in a way that no other nicotine patch or smoking cessation treatment can match.
People who smoke are aware of the health consequences, and it's apparent that a change is warranted. The public health community and many pro-vapers tend to focus only on the harm to public health that tobacco creates. However, it's not the only issue to be discussed. Regardless of the fact that millions of vapers have genuinely helped people put down their cigarettes for good, there are financial and societal concerns that need to be addressed as well.
A massive campaign against smoking has created a perception of anyone who smokes as being utterly selfish, self-absorbed, immature and just plain uncaring about the plague that smoking places on society. We've seen the commercials where cigarettes turn into vicious beasts and accost their users. We've seen the campaign to save the cats and smokers have been singled out as a group that is worthy of the scorn of all polite society. Understanding is not part of the conversation.
The very real addiction to tobacco that some people fight on a daily basis is not addressed. While smoking is a choice, there is very little support for smokers who are trying to quit. They are scolded by society and told that they are bad people and just a little willpower is all they need to become worthwhile members of society again.
The reason that a person chooses to smoke is never black or white. There are many reasons why a person may choose to smoke. Smokers have the ability to carefully weigh the pros and cons of smoking, and it improves the quality of life for many people. There are plenty of smokers out there who do not see smoking as a medical problem, but a carefully calculated risk. While vaping can relieve some of the cravings associated with smoking, the argument for vaping also must include the fact that it is a recreational and enjoyable activity as well. Much like drinking, running or playing tennis is a way to blow off steam, vaping is also enjoyable for many people.
Let's be clear. Vaping is a hobby. It is a recreational activity. It may look like smoking, act like smoking and offer a safer alternative to smoking cigarettes. But for millions of vapers around the world, it is not a substitute for smoking. It is an activity in and of itself that represents a distinct community from smokers. Many people who vape do so because it is enjoyable and not because they are trying to reduce their dependence on tobacco. Surely, vaping can offer a suitable alternative to this, but for millions of vapers, it's just a way to socialize and relax.
There is nothing wrong with public health officials trying to capitalize on the benefits to smokers who switch to vaping. But, they must also be aware of the damage that the EU Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) will do to the vaping community. It's time to stop taking vaping apart piecemeal and only promoting those aspects that fit the medical communities agenda. Vaping is more than just an attractive alternative to smoking cessation, it's a hobby and mode of relaxation that vapers around the world enjoy.