Why isn’t anyone talking about smoking anymore?

Smoking is still considered very harmful and dangerous to one’s health, and many organizations, health professionals, and governments continue to raise awareness about the dangers of smoking. However, it’s possible that the message about smoking’s negative effects may not be as prominent in the media or public discourse as it once was.

One possible reason for this is that, over the years, there has been a significant decrease in the number of people smoking. Claims that this decrease is due to widespread education campaigns, stricter regulations on tobacco products, and increased public awareness of the negative health effects associated with smoking. But with vaping turning a lot of once smoking adults away from combustibles one has to wonder if there is a bigger picture here that is being ignored. 

Smoking is still a leading cause of preventable deaths worldwide, and it is estimated that smoking kills millions of people each year. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), tobacco use causes more than 8 million deaths each year globally. This includes more than 7 million deaths from direct tobacco use, and around 1.2 million deaths from exposure to second-hand smoke.

Tobacco use is a major risk factor for a range of health problems, including cancer, heart disease, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and other respiratory diseases.

Yet most anti-tobacco campaigns spend their time attacking vaping, a much safer alternative to smoking rather than focus on the more pressing issue at hand. Smoking.

Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids for example has made 10 press releases in 2023 so far, yet none of them solely address combustible tobacco, the majorities are aimed at flavor bans and more prohibition of safer alternatives. Ask any advocate for tobacco harm reduction and they will tell you that no one wants youth using these products. But this war on safer alternatives hurts the adults that use and depend on these options. The result of having these options taken away leaves a lot of adults with two options: the black market or going back to combustibles. Yet, this point never seems to be taken into consideration.

This week the CDC reported that smoking at an ALL TIME LOW. Something to be celebrated! Too bad this promising headline was followed up with “e-cigarette use increasing “another thing worth celebrating, you would think. The headline should read “Thanks to e-cigarettes, cigarette smoking is at an all time low”.  No such luck. 

The health risks of smoking are well known, but people still smoke. Per the Cancer Research Center UK cigarettes release over 5,000 chemicals when they burn, many of these chemicals are poisonous and at least 70 of those chemicals cause cancer. Some of these chemicals are: 

1,3-Butadiene is used in rubber manufacturing

Arsenic is a poison

Benzene is an industrial solvent, refined from crude oil

Beryllium is used in nuclear reactors

Cadmium is used in batteries

Chromium is used to manufacture dye, paints and alloys

Formaldehyde is used as a preservative in science laboratories and mortuaries

Polonium-21 is a highly radioactive element

Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons are a group of dangerous DNA-damaging chemicals, including benzo(a)pyrene

On the other hand e-liquids are made from 4 main ingredients: propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin, food flavoring, and nicotine. A great resource for learning about these ingredients in great detail can be found at the Vaping Post

One would think that since e-liquid which does not contain any of these dangerous chemicals it would be celebrated by public health everywhere since it has already helped so many adults who smoke kick the habit. Sadly, the reality is much different. 

Unless public health starts to tell the truth about vaping it seems this uphill battle will continue.

It makes you wonder how low smoking rates could be if this was promoted to adults that smoke.


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