Harm reduction is a term you often see when it comes to changing your own health habits. An example of harm reduction that is widely supported, for instance, is needle exchange programs for those who wish to get off opioids or heroin. 500,000 Americans died between 1999 and 2019 from the opioid epidemic. The Biden administrationrecently announced that it would address the opioid epidemic that had been an issue before COVID-19 took headlines. The plan specifically used the term “harm reduction” multiple times in regard to addressing the opioid epidemic. But what about addressing vaping’s role in harm reduction?
A History of Harm Reduction
In 1988, Congress banned federal funds from being used for needle exchange programs, while the Obama administration modified the restrictions to be used on other services. At the state and local level, Portland, Oregon had started using public funds on needle exchange programs in 1989, which continues to this very day. In 1993, then-San Francisco mayor Frank Jordan also started a syringe exchange program to address the HIV epidemic. While needle exchange programs are legal in 35 states, it is still illegal in 15 others. A legal oddity, however, is that needle exchange programs are prohibited in Orange County, but not in the state of California as a whole.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the American Medical Association (AMA), American Bar Association (ABA), American Psychological Association (APA), and the World Health Organization (WHO) are a few of the many organizations that support needle exchange programs as a form of harm reduction, giving it support from both the medical and legal communities.
Why Vaping is Harm Reduction
Even though vaping has been acknowledged as a form of harm reduction much like the needle exchange programs have been touted as harm reduction, many members of the Biden administration, including President Joe Biden himself, oppose vaping. According to Lindsey Stroud, a policy analyst with the Taxpayers’ Protection Alliance, manager and creator of Tobacco Harm Reduction 101, and a board director with the Smoke-Free Alternatives Trade Association (SFATA), “The FDA currently regulates vapor products. But the agency, which fought so hard to regulate these products, has yet to approve a single premarket tobacco product application for any e-cigarette product.”
In fact, as of this writing,sixmillionENDS products are still awaiting approval from the FDA itself. Stroud adds, “It is overwhelmingly hypocritical for lawmakers to support government funding those, while simultaneously blocking adult access to tobacco harm reduction products including e-cigarettes, heat-not-burn, and smokeless tobacco.” Some countries such as the United Kingdom actually encourage vaping as a form of harm reduction, but with flavor banstaking place in countries such as Canada and Australia, vapers will be forced to curtail or even completely abandon their harm reduction journey.
Many politicians and high-profile individuals are on board with harm reduction—but that all depends on what kind of harm reduction it is. Michael Bloomberg, who ran for the Democratic nomination for president in 2020, is one of the most high-profile anti-tobacco and anti-vaping personalities out there. He supports harm reduction regarding opioids, but not regarding nicotine. Bloomberg has donated $160 million towards fighting vaping in the past three years. In 2019, Bloomberg Philanthropiesdonated $50 million to combat the opioid epidemic.
The eJuices.co team fully supports all methods of harm reduction. As a business owner, you can inform your customers about the narratives surrounding harm reduction. If you have any questions or concerns, you can always contact your eJuices.co account manager or sales representative. We’re looking forward to speaking with you.