Berkeley Wages War on Ecigarettes With New Regulations
We’ve seen a lot of cities tighten up rules on vaping, but none can compare to the massive crackdown on ecigs happening in Berkeley, California. This city is waging a public health war against vapers and it seems that the city council will stop at nothing until vaping is squashed.
In the latest strategic attack on ecigs, City Councilman Jesse Arreguin is trying to raise the legal age to purchase vaping devices to 21. This would make it just as hard to buy e-cigarettes as it is to buy alcohol. It seems almost ironic that Berkeley residents can enlist in the military and go to war at age 18, but they might not be allowed to vape a tobacco-free ecig until they turn 21. Arreguin reasoned that the new age rule would keep young people from using ecigs. Apparently, he believes an 18-year-old is not responsible enough to make smart choices in terms of health. Of course, the same 18-year-old is trusted with defending our freedom, but no one wants to talk about these inconsistencies.
Right now, California law prohibits the sale of tobacco products to anyone under age 18. If Berkeley passes the new rule, they would join just three places in the United States that have raised the legal smoking age to 21.
Arreguin had interesting timing in releasing this new anti-vaping proposal. It was just a last week when a new study proved that ecigs do not lead teens to start smoking or using tobacco products. Yet Arreguin’s whole argument in favor of an age increase hinges on the theory that ecigs are going to lead teens to use tobacco. He apparently overlooked the research that contradicts his theory.
In the big scheme of things, it really isn’t surprising that Berkeley is attacking ecigarettes. The city has already banned vaping in public places and they even implemented a new tax on sodas to protect public health. Arreguin boasts that the city’s take-charge attitude is going to make a long term difference. “Berkeley has been a leader in fighting smoking and increasing the age for buying cigarettes would be another step,” he said. His proposal will be brought up for discussion at the September 15 meeting of city council.
Do you think Arreguin’s new proposal is fair? Would you change any local laws to deal with the growing number of vapers?