How Vaping 'Might Just Save Your Life!'

In the panic to ban and regulate electronic cigarettes, media and politicians are ignoring the benefits of vaping.


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Every week seems brings a new story about how vaping is really, really, really bad for you.

Only a few years ago, electronic cigarettes were being hailed as a new and healthier way for people to consume nicotine and pot. The number of vapers worldwide has grown sevenfold since 2011, to an estimated 41 million users. But now, vaping is being attacked as a dangerous trend that's luring teenagers into a deadly habit that might be as bad for you as conventnional smoking. Reports of vaping-related deaths and respiratory illnesses appear daily on cable news shows, in newspapers, and online. The FDA is considering a ban on flavored e-cigarettes, and many states have already instituted strict regulations on vaping sales and use. Congress has voted to change the age for legal tobacco and e-cigarette sales to 21, up from 18.

Is vaping bad for you? Should we be panicking? What sorts of policies should govern the use of e-cigarettes? To answer these and other questions, Nick Gillespie sat down with Reason's Jacob Sullum, who has written extensively—and authoritatively—about the issue for years.

Produced by Justin Monticello. Camera by Meredith Bragg and Regan Taylor. Music by Silent Partner, Topher Mohr and Alex Elena, and Jingle Punks.

Image credits:

Hollandse-Hoogte/ZUMA Press/Newscom
Nicolas Maeterlinck/ZUMA Press/Newscom
Douglas Graham/Newscom
Alex Milan Tracy/Sipa USA/Newscom
Blaine Harrington/agefotostock/Newscom
Nancy Kaszerman/ZUMA Press/Newscom
Jim West/ZUMA Press/Newscom
Keiko Hiromi/Polaris/Newscom
Douglas Graham/Newscom

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  1. I wonder how much money Reason gets from Juul

    1. You would be more in point ifyuo were to wonder how much money Big Tabac are feeding into this sudden crisis frenzy to ban all vaping… or limit it to 21 and over.
      They are the ONLY ones who stand to gain, and that very heavily, from banning the vape products.
      Don’t belive me? change the gill to ban ALL smoke and smoke type products. See how quickly that one gets dumped on.

      1. Government is losing cigarette taxes too.

      2. That’s a great point!

      3. Because nicotine oil now comes from carrots??? I guess…. Its the CDC and FDA and the exact same “Rebel without a cause” anti-smoking activists that went after Tobacco the first time..

  2. I had not heard that vape products from 2018 and before had never contained vitamin E acetate, but in 2019 these appeared. And I hadn’t heard that the acetate helped with dilution by keeping the solution a bit viscous like the pure oils.

    All else is old news.

    1. It is possible that some did and the diagnosis was missed. Chemical pneumonitis is a very difficult diagnosis. The findings are entirely nonspecific. There is overlap with multiple other things and this relies mainly on history to narrow the differential. Even since this was discovered it is possible that some suspected cases are idiopathic or due to something unrelated.

      If you don’t ask about vaping you would not know and patients lie. Until now medicine has mostly ignored pot because it has been considered benign.

  3. Pretty sure vaping isn’t going to save MY life.

    1. So don’t vape… Its so easy to decide not to vape and say no.. It’s a whole other thing to run around forcing your whim on everyone else you see.

  4. But you just don’t UNDERSTAND!
    Vaping is an individual CHOICE!
    And we simply CANNOT have the serfs making CHOICES!

  5. There’s no problem that’s so bad that government can’t make it worse.

  6. Yes nicotine is bad for you. It causes your body to release fat into your bloodstream which over a number of years causes arteriosclerosis.

    1. That would explain the smoking reduces fat well-known effect. Fat itself is more of a health risk than smoking right now though.

      More non-smokers die from lung cancer every year than smokers; a “epidemiological” statistic the activists will never let see the light of day or be made public without a million in a half excuses attached to it. That almost guarantees the “increased risk” they tried to saddle it with is less than 10%. Or that EPA’s “Clean Air” is causing cancer to rise in non-smokers..

  7. The vaping industry is nearly 2 decades old and it has not been until earlier this year that any any trouble with it. Now no trouble for one and half plus decades but trouble in this last few months means something has changed. They have found vitamin-E-acetate in the vaping fluids of those who have went to the hospital. The vaping cartridges which this product was found in has all been form illegal manufacturers of these cartridges. So in the legal manufacturer of this product has been going on since 2003 in other words for a decade and half people have had a better product than a regular tobacco smoke. Now are they going to throw away this legal product which has saved many people lung cancer.

    1. Geez, do you even science?
      Lung cancer is a medical condition.
      A detectable incidence of chemical pneumonitis is a medical condition.

      Medical condition=medical condition. Principle of identity, Q-E-fuckin’-D.

      The sudden spate of panicky coverage in corporate-owned media means nothing. There is no little man behind he curtain. Obey.

  8. No Reason reader wants more restrictions from the nanny state, and vaping is a great alternative for smokers. But Sullum is wrong about what’s going on among teenagers. It is not primarily teenage smokers who are vaping.

    We have two teenage daughters. Their friends have never smoked, but a lot of them are nicotine vapers. It’s cool, it’s trendy, they like the nicotine buzz, and there’s a lot of peer pressure to do it. The fear about an “epidemic” isn’t something the press made up. Vaping and nicotine addiction among non-smoking teenagers is a real thing, and it’s happening in our middle schools and high schools right now.

    Personally, I’m fine with zero government interference, because my daughters aren’t stupid enough to vape, so far. And it’s not my affair if a lot of their peers become nicotine addicts. But I can see how parents might be concerned.

    My point is that there is a real problem. Sullum isn’t helping the libertarian cause by denying the problem exists.

    1. If the “real problem” is nicotine addiction, it’s a pretty meh problem. OMG, you can find a health issue of X severity that shows up after Y length of time! Never mind that this is true of any substance metabolized over a long enough period, or in great enough quantity. Even water has an LD50.

      Never mind that it is conceivable, for some people, to make decisions that involve a trade-off of perfect health for other benefits.

      Some people accept without question that the single, sole and solitary goal of life is…longevity. Or that every activity must be assessed ONLY by it’s effect, positive or negative, on the goal of perfect health. Such people always feel free to impose that value on others, it being inconceivable to them that others might trade (bits) of health for pleasure, relief from pain or a break in oppressive boredom.

      You’re still being a slaver, even if it’s “for their own good”.

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  10. I was never dumb enough to become a smoker.

    I consequently doubt vaping will save my life.

    People who profit, directly or indirectly, from the sale of this product to minors are lousy people.

    Lousy people have rights, too.

    1. The Easter Bunny and his poopy chocolate is the devil!!!

  11. Sullum is right that the panic does a disservice to those who smoke Cigarettes, but the real deathly disservice is to those who smoke black market THC vaping products. THC vaper users continue to get sick and die because they are not getting the warning they need. Will you please point this out?

  12. The biggest “plague” to hit the 21st Century is “duped” by “prejudices”..

    I long for the time when “science” use to mean repeatable and predictable… Consider the “smoking kills” “dupe”; they based it on sectionalizing smokers vs non-smokers and see a rise in lung-cancer on one section. What’s funny is today their same “dupe” study would show not smoking causes lung cancer as more non-smokers get lung-cancer than smokers do for the last 5-years.

  13. For the record it was the pot smokers that started vaping and that was back in 1995-1996. So more than two decades now. I would need to go back into our old sales records to find out when It started, but It was old news by the time we started selling the cloud 10 vaporizers, with our pipes. Unfortunately for us the people who came to us with the cloud 10 got greedy and destroyed their end of the business. But their was a lot of different companies that sold vaporizers back then. If you have some old high times from the era you can see their advertisements.

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  17. This is really amazing that vaping could save someone’s life. It would be also great if it was and it can also lower the cigarette use. Thanks for your article. It was helpful. concrete companies in chandler az

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