So we are now facing a ban on vaping products. Why? Six people have died as a result of vaping. 450 people have permanent lung damage because of vaping.
At least that’s the claim. Don’t get me wrong. I think more research needs to be done on vaping products and ingredients. The flavors and scents used in vaping liquids have not been evaluated for heating and inhalation. It’s unlikely the standard plain or menthol kind are a problem. Other artificial ingredients seem like more of an issue.
Comparison. Now, let’s take a look at something else. Firearms. Especially assault weapons.
Assault weapons have been used in virtually every mass shooting in the US for years. Six people dead is a low number for larger mass shootings. 450 people with permanent physical injuries? We see more than that from guns in a single month. Permanent emotional injuries? More than 450 in a week, possibly more than that from a single event.
So, while a product that has been on the market for over a decade with little or no negative effects documented other than fanatical anti-tobacco pages, suddenly we have a rash of reports “confirmed” of deaths and lung damage. At the same time, devices designed for the express purpose of murdering large numbers of living creatures in a short period of time go virtually unrestricted. The unconfirmed instances spark outrage while millions of Americans scream mindlessly about retaining the right to own implements of death.
How many “thoughts and prayers” have we heard directed toward victims of mass shootings? How well has that worked?
Limiting access to firearms has shown tremendous success in other countries. While in America, we hear how “More guns will keep us safer.” Just like taking more poison will save you from being poisoned, more cancer will cure your cancer, slamming your head against a brick wall will fix your brain damage.
In 2017, at least 39,773 people died from gunshot wounds, the highest number in 20 years. Some sources claim that number decreased in 2018. Great. Decreased from the highest level in two decades. This number represents 12 deaths per 100,000 people. Keep in mind, these are the numbers we know about. Some people may have gone missing or died at a later date due to complications such as infection or permanent organ damage caused by gunshot wounds. I will also point out that firearms can cause significant permanent lung damage. In Canada, the rate is 2.1 deaths per 100,000 due to firearms, in Germany it is 0.3 deaths, in Japan it is 0.2 deaths.
In spite of anecdotal claims, the highest percentage of deaths by firearms in the US remains in states with the highest rate of gun ownership and loosest gun laws. So, when do we reach the point where we are safer?
The research on firearms has been done. We have personally been lab rats in that research our entire lives. Comparisons to other countries or even specific regions of this country paint a very clear picture.
However, when we compare actions taken by our government regarding vaping versus firearms, there is a massive discrepancy. Most Americans are in strong favor of stricter gun laws including a complete ban on assault weapons and high capacity magazines. I don’t recall hearing anyone calling for a ban on vaping products.
Or maybe vaping more will keep us safer?