Have you seen the groundbreaking new documentary A Billion Lives yet? If not, you need to see it immediately, especially if you are a vaper or someone who wants to learn more about the vaping industry.
The basic premise of the movie is this: The World Health Organization is estimating that one billion people are going to die over the course of the next century, and yet, it seems like the government, the tobacco industry, and even pharmaceutical companies are completely unwilling to even consider the idea that vaping could help reduce that number dramatically.
A Billion Lives director Aaron Biebert—who, it should be noted, is not a vaper himself—takes a closer look at why that is in his documentary and tries to spell out why vaping has been turned into a villain over the years.
One of the things that Biebert does really well in his documentary is show the role the government is playing when it comes to vaping. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently established a set of restrictive regulations that is probably going to put the majority of vape shops out of business in the coming years, but the government doesn’t seem to care about it.
Biebert also believes the government doesn’t seem to be taking WHO’s estimate of tobacco claiming the lives of one billion people over the next century all that seriously. According to Biebert and his film, this is due in large part to the fact that the government benefits from all the money being made by big tobacco and pharmaceutical companies.
In addition to releasing A Billion Lives earlier this year, Biebert also sat down with Forbes recently to talk about the problems that he sees with the government and the world’s dependence on tobacco. Forbes writer Jared Meyer wrote that e cigarettes are “at least 95 percent safer than cigarettes,” but he also pointed out that vaping seems to have opponents hiding around every corner trying to take the industry down.
In an article called “Government Puts Tobacco Interests Above A Billion Lives,” Biebert made some really interesting points about everything from the safety of vaping to the government’s unwillingness to reconsider the restrictions that are being placed on the vaping community.
How the Government Has Taken Aim at the Vaping Industry in the Past
The regulations that the FDA plans to put on the vaping industry are going to wipe out many vape shops and manufacturers and make it difficult for companies to do business as usual. But as Biebert pointed out while speaking with Forbes, it’s not the first time the FDA has attempted to prevent people from vaping. As far back as 2009, Biebert says the FDA tried to put a dent in the vaping industry by seizing large shipments of vaping products.
“A judge determined that doing so was illegal,” Biebert said, “but severe damage was already done. Many of the industry’s early pioneers were forced out of business.”
At the time, Biebert noted that the FDA also started to fund research in an effort to show that vaping is bad for people, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention worked tirelessly to try and get individual states to pass anti-vaping laws. For the most part, their attempts were unsuccessful, but Biebert said that this was a sign that the government was not going to be on board with the idea of allowing vaping to flourish.
What Pharmaceutical Companies Are Doing to Try to Eliminate Vaping
One of the things you’ll learn from A Billion Lives is that pharmaceutical companies have a lot to lose if the vaping industry continues to grow. Biebert found that these companies are actually “the biggest funders of the war against vapor technology” because they produce smoking cessation gums, patches, sprays, and medications that rake in billions and billions of dollars every year.
If vaping were ever approved as a smoking cessation technique, it could potentially cost these companies a fortune and, in some cases, even put them out of business. And that’s not to mention all of the treatments, prescription drugs, and chemotherapy that are used to treat diseases like COPD, heart disease, and more caused by smoking cigarettes.
“Simply put, smoking is a lifeline for Big Pharma’s profits,” Biebert said.
Lower smoking and cancer rates will ultimately be bad for business, Biebert said, which is why pharmaceutical companies are dead set on killing off the vaping industry at any cost. They’ve gained support within the world of charities as well, since organizations like the American Cancer Society and America Lung Association would lose lots of their funding if rates were reduced.
“Since these charities get over a billion dollars a year in donations, grants, and pharmaceutical sponsorships,” Biebert said, “we are talking about a big loss in revenue.”
It’s not hard to see why Big Pharma might want to take out the vaping industry!
Why the Government Isn’t Doing More to Research the Potential Benefits of Vaping
The pharmaceutical companies out there might want to do away with vaping, but does the government want to get rid of it, too? Politicians are supposed to have the best interests of the American people in mind at all times, so surely they should want to keep vaping around if there’s even a small chance it might help people quit smoking, right? Unfortunately, Biebert told Forbes that isn’t the case.
“Because of high tax rates and annual payments from tobacco companies based on sales,” Biebert said, “governments get a large share of cigarette profits. Since all this money provides funding for the pet projects of many politicians, it is easy to convince them to go along with bans, unreasonable restrictions, and damaging taxes on alternatives to cigarettes.”
Bottom line: Biebert believes the government may be to blame when it comes to the problems those in the vaping industry are experiencing right now. Even though vaping could be a good thing for many people, as Forbes pointed out, the government has tons of reasons to try and make life difficult on all of those who support vaping. You should watch A Billion Lives today to learn more about the problematic role the government plays in the vaping controversy.