LOS ANGELES: Millions of electronic cigarette users or vapers across the globe are celebrating World Vape Day on May 30, 2020, a day before World No Tobacco Day.

World Vape Day aims to raise awareness on e-cigarettes, or vapes, and encourage smokers who are unable to quit on their own or with currently available smoking cessation tools to switch to safer nicotine products.

“Safer nicotine products, such as e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products, are the most disruptive influence on smoking in decades… These are the innovations that have the potential to save millions of lives in the Asia Pacific region as well as globally,” said Nancy Loucas, executive director of the Coalition of Asia-Pacific Tobacco Harm Reduction Advocates, one of the lead organizers of World Vape Day 2020.

“These products have disrupted the standard of harm reduction in tobacco by giving the power back to the smokers to choose the option that works for them and allows them to have agency over their own and their loved one’s health and wellbeing,” he added.

The number of vapers globally had been increasing rapidly from about 7 million in 2011 to 41 million in 2018, according to Euromonitor International.

The market research group estimates that the number of adult vapers worldwide will reach almost 55 million by 2021. In its 2018 independent evidence review, Public Health England concluded that “e-cigarettes are around 95 percent safer than combustible cigarettes.”

Published in March 2020, the agency’s latest report stated that, “Despite reductions in smoking prevalence, smoking remains the biggest single cause of preventable death and disease and a leading cause of health inequalities. So, alternative nicotine delivery devices that are less harmful could play a crucial role in reducing this health burden.”

The harms associated with secondhand smoke from combustible cigarettes had been clearly established, but these did not apply to e-cigarettes and “secondhand vapor,” according to Peter Paul Dator, president of The Vapers.

“Unlike tobacco cigarettes, e-cigarettes do not burn organic matter at very high temperatures and, therefore, do not produce toxic fumes. The main components of the liquid used in e-cigarettes are propylene glycol and glycerin, accounting for 95 percent of the e-liquid. The remaining components are water, nicotine, and flavorings,” he added.

Every day, 80,000 to 100,000 young people around the world become addicted to tobacco, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). If current trends continue, the WHO predicts that 250 million children and young people alive today will die from tobacco-related diseases.

“The right to harm reduction should extend to all users who currently use combustible tobacco, including youth who currently smoke. Nicotine dependence in youth develops rapidly and over 50 percent of those youth who smoke daily are already nicotine dependent,” said Asa Ace Saligupta who runs the ENDS Cigarette Smoke Thailand consumer group.

He notes that young people are allowed access to medicalized Nicotine Replacement Therapy, in some countries from the age of 12.