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Misleading Headlines on the Rise

"E-cig nicotine poisoning on the rise"! trumpets a recent posting, giving a completely misleading idea of the article's contents. The title makes it sound like people who are simply vaping with electronic cigarettes are falling victim to nicotine-induced maladies. Of course this feeds into the current spate of hysterical, uninformed opposition to e-cigs.

The text of the article makes it clear that what we're talking about is children who get into the vaping supplies of the grown-ups they live with, and drink the vaping liquids, some of which contain nicotine. Of course they shouldn't do this, and steps should be taken to keep them from doing this. But it has nothing to do with the question of whether or not vaping is dangerous to the public at large.

One way of preventing such woes, of course, would be for regulatory agencies to... er, ...regulate the product. One function of a regulatory agency is to protect incompetent individuals, like children, from themselves. This can be done with packaging restrictions, warning labels, hard to open containers, and the like. One would not ban floor wax because children shouldn't drink it. But it might be a good idea to require a cap that takes adult abilities to open. In the US, the FDA has significantly failed the public by failing to regulate electronic cigarettes in this way. A similar charge might be laid at their door on account of the much-publicized explosions of e-cig batteries. To place blame for such incidents at the door of the e-cig industry is wrongheaded and unjust.

Another way to protect children from misusing products that can be dangerous when misused is for parents to get a clue. It shouldn't be hard to figure out how to keep your children from drinking nicotine. Do you have a liquor cabinet that makes it challenging for them to drink your collection of fine liquors? How about something similar for your vaporizer supplies? Do you have a medicine cabinet that keeps you in control of their ingestion of medications? Do you have your paint thinner, gasoline, and rat poison in places where your children can't get them? Here's an idea: do something similar with your vaping supplies. Again, this lapse is also partly the fault of the shilly-shallying of regulatory agencies, since they should bear the primary burden for creating public awareness of such needs. But parents and other adults living with children bear a responsibility too. Don't allow your neglectfulness to impugn a product that could produce great harm reduction in the public at large.

The article notes that some e-cig liquid containers do have protective, child-proof caps, and advises purchasing those instead of those without them. To be sure, responsible e-cig manufacturers have taken upon themselves the burden of protecting the public, since promised regulation has not appeared. Smart vapers need to share this burden by rewarding those responsible companies by patronizing them.

The article quotes vape shop proprietor Jonathan Lomax, who thinks lack of common sense is the problem, not e-cigs: “Don't leave it out if there is some nicotine in it where your kids could pick it up and use the device.