Vaping’s New Reach at UK Food Banks

For vapers in the United States, you know that the government isn’t exactly in favor of this ever-growing industry.  However, in the United Kingdom, public attitude toward vaping is far warmer than what we’re used to.

First, the UK passed extremely vape-friendly laws in an effort to make it easy for citizens to have an alternative to smoking.  Now, food banks are planning to offer e-cigarettes to smokers in order to help people kick the habit once and for all.


Giving Back in Another Way

In Hertfordshire, England, public health director Jim McManus found a new way to help low-income individuals by providing them with electronic cigarettes at local food banks.  The intention, according to the director himself, is to help citizens become less dependent on cigarettes.  According to McManus, cigarettes are both a costly and harmful habit, and he believes that vaping is a far better alternative in both respects.

While the plan hasn’t actually taken effect yet, things are underway.  Presently, several food banks within the area have teamed up with McManus in order to start offering e-cigarettes to low-income residents.

There’s another purpose to the endeavor as well.  While food banks distribute e-cigs to disadvantaged locals, McManus will be simultaneously conducting a study.  The purpose of the study is to evaluate the effects of vaping on low-income individuals in order to find a correlation between poor health and poverty.  Under McManus’ direction, a study has already been conducted that determined that low-income residents are far more likely to experience poor health as a result of smoking, most likely due to the less accessible healthcare to those in poverty.  Now, McManus wants to prove that vaping is far less harmful to underprivileged locals in the area.


UK’s History of Vaping Compared to the United States

In our country, vaping isn’t viewed in the warmest light.  The FDA, under the previous direction of Scott Gottlieb, famously targeted the vaping industry after JUUL become an extremely popular e-cigarette brand that, according to the commissioner, was marketing its products toward minors.  Since then, the industry has been subjected to harsh regulations and investigations.  Meanwhile, about one in five American adults vapes, with the large majority of those Americans being former smokers who have managed to be tobacco-free for over a year.

Despite the fact that so many Americans have successfully used vaping as a way to get off of tobacco, the FDA isn’t convinced.  Nor is the American Lung Association that refuses to acknowledge that vaping can be used as a smoking cessation method.

Now, due to the fact that these massive authoritative forces are so anti-vaping, it’s no surprise that public opinion isn’t exactly pro-vaping either.  However, in the United Kingdom, things are quite different.  Just a couple of years ago, the British government funded studies regarding the effects of vaping in order to guide their new legislation regarding the industry.  The study found that vaping is far less harmful than smoking cigarettes, which led to pro-vaping laws.  According to the United Kingdom, vaping can indeed help people quit cigarettes, and, therefore, it should be encouraged.

In fact, in the United Kingdom, doctors are encouraged to suggest vaping to patients who smoke as a way to get them off of tobacco.  According to leading health experts in England, vaping is a far less harmful alternative to cigarettes.  Meanwhile, in the United States, the medical industry largely frowns on the industry, and most doctors echo these sentiments.

There are several other countries throughout Europe that share the same vape-friendly attitude of the UK.  For instance, France has funded several similar studies with similar findings.  This has led to France becoming yet another pro-vaping country.


What This Could Mean for the Future of Our Industry

It’s clear that the United Kingdom is leading the way toward making the world a more vape-friendly place because authorities strongly believe that this industry has the unique ability to help people get off of smoking.  McManus is currently planning to launch his project, and if the studies come back in favor of vaping, it’s likely that we’ll see a ripple effect of more pro-vaping legislation.

What helps the vaping industry in this case is that electronic cigarettes are being used for humanitarian purposes, whereas they have not previously.  This can appeal to those in power who seek to benefit the lives of the underprivileged.  Of course, what American vapers hope is that this project inspires lawmakers in the United States.  If we can find a way to get low-income people off of smoking by offering e-cigarettes, it’s possible that we can save many, many lives.  And, of course, it’s hoped that this project will further destigmatize the vaping industry worldwide.


Continuing to Learn from the UK

While the United States for the most part continues to slam this space, the United Kingdom is using the industry to benefit the lives of underprivileged residents who are struggling to kick their smoking habits.  What remains to be seen is how this new project will impact the vaping industry as a whole.

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