It is possible that within the next five years, legal marijuana use will be more socially acceptable in the USA than vaping.
During 2016, the legal weed market in American enjoyed a 30% increase in revenue, posting sales of over 12 billion dollars and it is predicted that by 2021 it will be grossing 27.9 billion dollars annually. This is bigger than the dot com boom of the early 2000’s.
When the people of the USA were voting Donald Trump into office, they also voted for a further four states to legalise marijuana. This means that nearly one quarter of U.S residents will live in a state that allows the use of marijuana for recreational purposes.
President Obama has stated:
As has been well documented, I smoked pot as a kid, and I view it as a bad habit and a vice, not very different from the cigarettes that I smoked as a young person up through a big chunk of my adult life. I don’t think it is more dangerous than alcohol in terms of its impact on the individual consumer.
This is an astounding statement, coming from one of the leaders of the free world who has stayed extremely quiet when voicing an opinion on vaping. So much so that I cannot find a single quote from President Obama regarding the FDA’s extremely harsh regulations of e-cigarettes.
So how is it that the president of the United States of America can go on public record stating that he not only used to smoke weed, but actually sees it as less dangerous than alcohol and have this deemed ok by the western world?
How have we got to a point in time where it is more acceptable to speak openly about legal marijuana for recreational use, while a product that will save the lives of countless smokers has become a taboo subject, something to be discussed behind closed doors?
When did vaping become the elephant in the room?
We have to look towards the culture of misinformation across the pond. The anti-vaping agenda is in full swing in the U.S and shows no sign of abating.
Stanton Glantz, Doctor for the Center of Tobacco Control Research and Education, and a name synonymous to many for his misinformed statements regarding vaping sums the current mood in the USA perfectly:
We can get rid of tobacco as a public health problem without adopting the industry’s phony ‘harm reduction’ strategies. We don’t need their e-cigarettes, which are presented as a healthy alternative to cigarettes, when, in fact, they extend and protect the cigarette market by attracting youth and young adults and deterring quitting for most, but not all, adult smokers.
This quote was a reaction to California’s clamp down on vaping. California just happens to be one of the states that has recently legalised marijuana use.
How the FDA treat marijuana compared to e-cigarettes
When looking into the FDA rules and regulations surrounding marijuana and medicinal or recreational use, it’s an eye opener. The language used is fairly positive, here is an example:
“The FDA has not approved any product containing or derived from botanical marijuana for any indication. This means that the FDA has not found any such product to be safe or effective for the treatment of any disease or condition. Study of marijuana in clinical trial settings is needed to assess the safety and effectiveness of marijuana for medical use.
The FDA will continue to facilitate the work of companies interested in appropriately bringing safe, effective, and quality products to market, including scientifically-based research concerning the medicinal uses of marijuana”
Adversely if you look at the language used by the FDA with regards to vaping, is it vastly different:
“In 2016, FDA finalized a rule extending our regulatory authority to cover all tobacco products, including vaporizers, vape pens, hookah pens, electronic cigarettes (E-Cigarettes), e-pipes, and all other ENDS. FDA now regulates the manufacture, import, packaging, labeling, advertising, promotion, sale, and distribution of ENDS. This includes components and parts of ENDS* but excludes accessories.
More than 3 million middle and high school students were current users of e-cigarettes in 2015, up from an estimated 2.46 million in 2014
Sixteen percent of high school and 5.3 percent of middle school students were current users of e-cigarettes in 2015, making e-cigarettes the most commonly used tobacco product among youth for the second consecutive year
In 2013-2014, 81% of current youth e-cigarette users cited the availability of appealing flavors as the primary reason for use
In 2014, 12.6% of U.S. adults had ever tried an e-cigarette, and about 3.7% of adults used e-cigarettes daily or some days”
The statistics used focus on children vaping, there isn’t any information regarding the amount of adults that have quit smoking due to vaping, or potential lives that could be saved if smokers made the switch to e-cigarettes.
It seems that this once again boils down to money for the powers that be. The marijuana market seems to be an entity on it’s own. Widely viewed by many as untouchable as it is a ‘natural’ product, grown rather than mass produced. It seems as though there are some double standards between e-cigarettes and marijuana.
When you start to dig deeper into the war against vaping, it becomes obvious very quickly
On page 94 (Table 14) of the “deeming” Regulatory Impact Analysis (RIA), the FDA has estimated the average cost for each premarket review pathway for newly regulated tobacco products to be:
– An SE exemption report = around $1,500
– An SE report = anywhere from around $3,500 to around $22,700
– A premarket tobacco application (PMTA) = in the low to mid hundreds of thousands of dollars (around $117,000 to around $466,000), not in the millions of dollars described by some others.
The figures quoted are for each individual product, including variations on strength and flavour.
Is it any wonder that the government will demonise vaping to the point that the general population will start to believe its misinformation when there is so much money to be made?
So it seems that the USA is at a tipping point, as the legalisation of marijuana continues to pick up the pace, with President elect Trump stating that it will be up to each state to regulate weed as they see fit, the demonisation of vaping will continue at much the same pace.
In the UK, we are relatively lucky when it comes to the regulation of vaping. Our TRPR is certainly going to change to scope of the vaping market, but it is not a way of banning e-cigs without calling it a ban in the USA. With calls for Theresa May to legalise marijuana in the UK this week it seems that we may follow a similar path.
Do you think that Marijuana will soon be more socially acceptable than vaping? Let us know in the comments below.