Business Owners Claim Over-Bearing Regulations Are Killing Livelihood
A California vape shop owner is blasting state legislators for the way they’re handling vaping regulations.
Vaping has never been a simple topic. It seems like ever since they first hit the scene, people have been arguing over how to properly use them without putting teens in harm’s way. It’s not uncommon for legislators in the same municipality to change their vaping regulations on a semi-regular basis, as either new people come into power, or the media simply stokes public outcry. One of the regulations quickly gaining popularity around the world is e-liquid flavor bans. These outright bans on all flavors, except typically tobacco and menthol, are said to significantly decrease the number of teens trying them, but many in the vaping community believe they’re causing more harm than good. In fact, vape shop owners in California are up in arms over recent news that the state could soon pass a strict vaping flavor ban.
One owner even shared his feelings with an Op-Ed published recently in the Sacramento Bee. Most small business owners in his position are finding it increasingly difficult to sustain themselves and their employees. Meanwhile, researchers continue to prove that e-cigarettes are one of the most effective smoking cessation and harm reduction tools we have. Unfortunately, most people are still afraid of vaping, with polls findings only around 13% of adults understand how much safer vaping is than smoking. Even worse, some research shows flavor bans have the opposite of the desired effect, meaning they’re not only killing small business but ultimately leading to more smokers.
Killing Independent Business
The compelling Op-Ed was written by Noordidin Kachhi, who owns and operates a vape shop in Sacramento. Kachhi is worried the proposed e-liquid flavor ban would result in store closures across the state, and throw countless families into financial turmoil. One of his biggest concerns is perfectly valid. He believes that if the state starts by banning most e-liquid flavors, it’s only a matter of time before they move to ban flavors like menthol and even tobacco. It’s not hard to imagine state legislators using the technicality that all vapes are “flavored” as reason enough to further restrict their usefulness. He goes on to explain that 85% of his business comes from vaping products, and the new law would almost certainly cause him to close his doors for good, “If the flavor ban is approved, I will lose my business.” It’s not just him either, as many of his peers are facing a similar crisis.
Making matters worse, the way legislators are attempting to sell this ban is tantamount to a slap in the face. According to officials, a portion of the generated tax revenue will go toward investing in small businesses. Noordidin rightfully contends that if legislators were actually interested in helping small business owners like himself, they would take his thoughts and feelings on the topic into account. Left with no other options, Mr. Kachhi and some of his fellow shop owners have joined together to attempt and solve this problem in a way that doesn’t kill their livelihood. They’ve already self-enforced several checks such as age verification software and training programs which are designed to prevent underage sales.
Value Of Vaping
Once you take a look at the evidence for the harm reduction and smoking cessation value of vaping it’s not hard to understand why shop owners like Mr. Kachhi are so upset over the planned regulation. Public Health England concluded back in 2015 that vaping is at least 95% safer than smoking, and researchers have reached similar conclusions ever since. As recently as December a report found that smoke has 93% more toxicants than e-liquid vapor. Even more impressively is the report which concluded the excess lifetime cancer risk of a vaper is about 57,000 times lower than a comparable smoker.
It’s not just harm reduction either. Vaping has been proven to be not only a useful smoking cessation tool, but actually the most likely to lead to a successful quit attempt, even beating out prescription drugs. But likely the most impressive result of vaping research is how overblown the so-called teenage vaping “epidemic” has been. A study of over 60,000 students concluded that only between 0.1% and 0.5% of non-smoking teens are starting to vape on a regular basis. This means far fewer than have been reported are ultimately ending up smokers due to vaping.
It’s sad to see that most legislators are uninterested in protecting small business. This crusade against vaping made some sense when we didn’t know much about e-cigarettes, but these days it’s unacceptable. We have more than enough reason to support the smoking cessation and harm reduction value of vaporizers, even without the importance it has for people like Mr. Kachhi and his employees. Once innocent people’s livelihoods are at stake in the name of misguided regulation, we simply have no choice but to fight back.
Are flavor bans a good idea in any way? Why do you think vaping has proven to be so effective? What’s the best way to teach others about vaping? Let us know what you think in the comments, and don’t forget to check back here or join our Facebook and Twitter communities for more news and articles.