Independent researcher, consultant, and epidemiologist Carl V. Phillips is largely credited with bringing the term ‘tobacco harm reduction’ into the mainstream by incorporating it into his university study group and web page back in 2005. Tobacco harm reduction is now a term most of us in the vaping community are familiar with. It is a term that is very much related to what we are trying to accomplish with the VAPEDEX vape tasting bar.
Unfortunately, there are those in the anti-vaping arena attempting to hijack the term for their own purposes. This has led Dr Phillips to fine-tune the concept of tobacco harm reduction so as to make a clear distinction between the goals and agenda of his organisation as opposed to those of the anti-vaping crowd.
We believe it is important to support Dr Phillips by explaining the concept of tobacco harm reduction and how all of us in the vaping industry have a role to play in it. If you want to read Phillips’ entire post on tobacco harm reduction, you can visit his Anti- THR Lies website.
A Tobacco Harm Reduction Primer
You may not understand how tobacco harm reduction relates to the VAPEDEX vape tasting bar at the moment, but you will by the time you reach the end of this post. The idea we are attempting to cultivate here begins with an understanding of the harm reduction principle as it applies to things like smoking, drinking, using drugs, etc.
As Dr Phillips explains in his article, there are lots of things we do in the modern era to reduce the potential harm of dangerous activities. We install airbags in cars, for example. We wear sunblock on sunny days, put household chemicals out of the reach of children, and wear helmets when riding bicycles. Yet the phrase ‘harm reduction’ is not used when talking about these activities.
The concept of harm reduction is really reserved for those kinds of activities in which reducing harm seems to be the default way to go despite reality showing otherwise. Common sense dictates that the best way to reduce the harm of smoking is to simply stop smoking. Yet there are people all around the world who either cannot quit or choose not to do so. The same can be said about alcohol consumption and drug use.
This may be a fine line, but it is an important line. Why? Because certain groups within the anti-vaping arena are attempting to apply the tobacco harm reduction concept to tobacco abstinence. In other words, they believe that the only way to effectively reduce the harm of smoking is to not smoke. But if that’s true, why do they support giving free needles to heroin addicts in order to reduce the harm of taking drugs?
We have known for generations that full tobacco abstinence eliminates all the dangers of smoking. No one will be harmed by tobacco smoke if no one smokes. Therefore, applying the tobacco harm reduction concept to abstinence is misleading. Tobacco harm reduction is all about helping people who continue to use nicotine by way of smoking to utilise a less harmful way of doing so. Replace toxic tobacco smoke with less harmful vapour and you reduce the harm of the activity.
The Vape Tasting Bar’s Role
Tobacco harm reduction is not a concept reserved only for epidemiologist and researchers. It is also something those of us in the vaping industry promote every day. By making our products available to current and former smokers, we are helping them practice the tobacco harm reduction philosophy in a way that satisfies them. This is key. If smokers are not satisfied with the alternatives they are offered, getting them to stop smoking is exponentially harder. If they are satisfied, getting them to stop is rather easy.
The VAPEDEX vape tasting bar is a step in the direction of satisfying the needs and desires of smokers. Consider the average price of an e-cigarette starter kit these days. Starter kits can represent a sizeable investment for something you may not be sure you’re really interested in. By giving smokers an opportunity to sample vaping without making a financial investment, we are at least giving them a reason to try it.
Our vape tasting bar does not fully replicate the practice of vaping inasmuch as you are not putting something to your mouth when sampling liquids. However, our machine does produce a thick vapour cloud with plenty of flavour and throat hit capabilities. Your customers can get a very good idea of what your liquids are like by sampling with our machine.
By the way, the tasting bar is also a good tool for reaching current vapers who may be thinking of going back to smoking because they cannot find a flavour that satisfies them. Remember that our machine consists of 10 different banks. Two machines would give you 20 banks to work with. The point is this: you can offer a substantial volume of liquid samples to appeal to the largest number of customers.
There is little argument any more that vaping is a much safer alternative to smoking. As such, encouraging people to make the switch to vaping is a way to reduce the harm of the nicotine habit. That is what tobacco harm reduction is all about. Here at VAPEDEX, we are glad to be part of an industry and movement that is reducing the harm of smoking by turning people on to vaping via the VAPEDEX vape tasting bar.