Another State Is Trying To Completely Ban Vaping
Utah Lawmaker Proposes Complete Ban On Vaping
Vaping has faced a sustained series of attacks by legislators lobbied by anti-vaping activists, leading to various forms of prohibitive policies such as flavor bans and restrictions on where vapor products may be sold. Despite a series of political and legal challenges to similar proposals throughout the country, lawmakers in one state are adamant about pushing onward with their anti-vaping agenda.
State Representative Paul Ray introduced House Bill 375, a bill that prohibits the manufacture, distribution, sale, possession, and use of any vapor product throughout the state. The Republican from Clearfield explained that it might be the only effective way to stop black market operations surrounding vaping, but failed to clarify how.
Public health scholars continue to caution against such broad bans targeting vaping, noting that such policies would actually bolster the black market, causing a range of additional public health concerns. Anti-vaping activists continue to state that the only effective way to prevent teenage vaping is by the complete prohibition of vapor products.
It should be noted that in states where various vaping bans are in place, robust black market networks selling products imported from neighboring states and unregulated products from the internet were immediately established following their implementation. Ray’s bill may represent an act of political posturing more than a serious attempt to outright ban vaping in his state.
Another Complete Ban
Utah Senate President Stuart Adams announced he would like legislators to come together to draft a single bill regulating the vapor industry, as there are currently multiple bills looking to do so. “The Senate President said he wants just one vaping bill. Well, I’ve got that bill,” State Representative Paul Ray announced.
Rep. Ray introduced House Bill 375, a bill that would enact “a prohibition on the manufacture, distribution, sale, possession, and use of any electronic cigarette,” as well as repealing any previous provisions allowing their sale and usage. “I don’t want to ban vaping completely,” says Ray, who claims that current health and business regulations surrounding vaping are ineffective and that a total ban may be the only effective solution.
”That’s the most anti-American thing I’ve heard is full out banning something that I don’t agree with. Yanno, freedom is the freedom to make good choices and the freedom to make bad choices,” said David Black, a Salt Lake City vape shop owner. Other members of the vaping industry have also decried the bill.
These job creators and members of our community note the potential public health ramifications of dismantling a safe and regulated market, as well as the potential for steering people back toward tobacco. They also note the possible economic impact of the ban, potentially costing the state thousands of jobs and millions in lost tax revenue.
Broad bans targeting vaping have been repeatedly decried by both harm reduction experts and public health scholars alike. These groups note the major potential public health and economic ramifications behind such reactionary regulation.
As an example, in a piece published in the journal Science, several respected public health scholars came together to speak out against blanket bans on vaping. They note that there is currently no evidence that vaping is harmful, and these prohibitive policies may turn former smokers toward tobacco or the black market.
Vaping has been repeatedly demonstrated as one of, if not the, most effective smoking cessation aid available. For example, a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that vaping was more effective than nicotine-replacement therapies in helping people quit and stay off of tobacco. Furthermore, an additional study from the University of Louisville found that vaping was the most effective form of smoking cessation available on the market today.
Not only has vaping been repeatedly demonstrated to be the most effective form of smoking cessation, but it has also been demonstrated to be a significantly reduced-harm alternative to tobacco as well. In fact, research from Public Health England and the Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center each found that vaping is 95% and 93% safer than smoking, respectively.
Utah’s blanket ban would spell the end of the state’s vaping industry should it pass. While the bills own sponsor has eluded it was more of a statement than a serious attempt to regulate the industry, there is still a chance for the measure to gain momentum among state representatives.
Such measures targeting vaping may cost the state thousands of jobs by forcing hundreds of vape shops throughout to shutter in response. This move would also lose the state millions in potential tax revenue that could potentially be used to fund programs educating teens about vaping.
Members of the vaping industry and community within the state must band together and stand steadfast in support of vaping. Regardless if it’s a political stunt or not, any threats to the future of vaping must be taken as a direct threat to the future of public health.
What are your thoughts regarding the complete ban on vaping proposed in Utah? Do you believe the measure will pass, or do you see it more as a gesture of political posturing? We would love to hear from you in the comments below, be sure to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to receive all the latest vaping news!
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