Abstinence Vs Harm Reduction

Abstinence Vs Harm Reduction

The fight doesn't seem to be over between vaping and anti-vaping campaigners.

While the topics seemed to be discussed one article at a time - and usually taken online, the battle is still there.

People will always be intimidated by new technology. And that intimidation is multiplied when partnered with an industry that exploded in growth and has evolved into, not only a trend, but a full-blown movement. 

So what are people afraid of?

Well, if you ask the parents of high school kids, vaping is a sinful and dangerous "hobby".

If you ask anti-tobacco groups, vaping is just as bad as smoking.

If you ask the FDA, vaping is scientifically confusing and requires years of research before making any clear distinctions between it and smoking.

The truth is, vaping is still relatively new to the general public. Most people in North America and Europe are still confused as to how e-cigarettes work and what it is that you're inhaling when you vape.

To make matters worse, for people who believe in harm reduction as a method of smoking cessation, many nicotine replacement therapy tools don't work as well as people need them to.

Because of this, many disregard any form of harm reduction completely and assume the only "real" way to quit smoking is to simply abstain from everything related to it.

No gum, no patches, maybe some non-nicotine pills, but definitely no vaping!

Many bloggers, vloggers and media companies will shy away from drawing extreme conclusions - they prefer the art of subtlety. By insinuating that vaping is negative, people draw their own conclusions - or at least they think they do - from small influences in the writings.

But we're going to say it directly: There is a reason why most vapers are ex-smokers. And there is a reason why the biggest declines in smoking rates this decade, happened after vaping became popular.

So, we know that vaping can work. Will it work for everybody? Probably not. Biochemistry is too diverse to have a one-size-fits-all approach to something as addictive as smoking.

The issues facing total abstinence can be identified quickly. Your addiction to cigarettes has three parts: Chemical addiction, habitual movements and sensation addiction.

The chemical addiction comes from the nicotine and the habits come from months or years of moving that cigarette to your mouth over and over. The sensation addiction stems from the sensation you get from putting the cigarette to your lips, the smell of the smoke and the feeling of inhaling it - and, of course, the chemical "state" that the cigarette puts you in.

 Abstinence will mean you get none of that. You're essentially going from one-hundred to zero immediately. But the human body is not built for sudden change. We are much better at adapting to slow change - which is generally the idea behind harm-reduction methods.

This is why vaping needs to be looked at as a solution and not a problem. Should there be limitations regarding age? Absolutely. Should there be safety precautions put in place? Definitely.

But messing with access to certain flavours and devices means you're limiting the vaping community's ability to help people switch from smoking.

It's up to us as vapers to ensure that others have the same opportunity to drop the habit of smoking. If we can help save a life, or even just improve one - it makes a world of difference! 


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