Concern Skyrockets As Vaping Faces First Outright Ban In US
Not satisfied with their nation’s strictest flavor ban, San Francisco is now aiming to ban vaping altogether, including manufacture.
The debate over vaping regulation has been going on for nearly as long as modern vaping has been around. You don’t have to look very long to find plenty of arguments from both sides which paint a dire picture. Critics are wrapped up with their perception of what will happen if vaping is supported, believing it will inevitably lead to more smokers as teens start to see vaping as 100% harmless. Supporters, on the other hand, use a growing pile of peer-reviewed research to make their case. Things are all the more complicated in America, where the massive number of local municipalities each have their own evolving understanding of how to proceed.
San Francisco has proven itself to be one of the least vaping friendly cities in the country. Ironically, it’s also the home of the world’s largest vaping company, Juul Labs. Last year the city voted on a robust flavor ban, which passed easily. Now city legislators are taking the next step, seeking an outright ban of online and in-store vaping sales. It didn’t take long for the vaping community to react to the news. Most pointed out the obvious flaw in banning e-cigarettes while allowing combustible cigarettes to still be sold in most stores.
The Next Step
Announced earlier this week, the move would ban all sales of vaping products, both in-store and online within the city limits of San Francisco. It would also be the first outright ban on vaping in any part of America; something vapers worry would open the door for similar moves elsewhere. The voters in San Fran have already proven their resolute support for vaping regulations, after easily passing the nation’s strictest flavor ban last fall. The authors of the release indicate the ban would only last as long as the deeming rules aren’t in effect. But not everyone is so sure they’ll keep their promise even after the rules take effect in 2022, with their true sights set on running Juul Labs out of town.
Shamann Walton is the City Supervisor who introduced the ban. He also submitted a separate ban which would effectively force Juul Labs out of the city by making it illegal to produce or distribute vaping products anywhere in the city. Instead of trying to deny their motives, the city legislators are proudly touting their concerted effort to drive away one of the fastest growing businesses of all time. In a recent statement, Shamann Walton went on the record to say “we don’t want them in our city,” referring to Juul Labs. Not taking the criticism and blatant attack lightly, Juul representatives have publicly questioned the logic behind banning vaping while leaving cigarettes untouched, questions the city officials haven’t had answers for yet.
Why Support Vaping?
Given how hard city leaders are working to drive vaping away, they must not put much stock into peer-reviewed research. It’s hard to be around the debate for very long without finding plenty of reason to support e-cigarettes as a smoking cessation and harm reduction tool. Back in 2015, we got our first large scale report which concluded vaping is at least 95% safer than smoking. But that was far from the only time. In fact, as recently as this past December researchers concluded e-liquid vapor has about 93% fewer toxicants than tobacco smoke. On top of that, we have another report which indicates vaping is much less likely to lead to cancer than smoking. The report published in the Journal of Aerosol Sciences found that vapers have about a 57,000 times lower chance of developing cancer than demographically similar smokers.
However, the harm reduction value isn’t all we have. In fact, the most common reason given against vaping is the impact on teens, and we have plenty of research on that as well. A report of over 60,000 students conducted by Action on Smoking and Health found that only between 0.1% and 0.5% of non-smoking teens are ever picking up vaping regularly. Finally, we also have research which indicates not only is vaping an effective smoking cessation tool but actually the most likely to lead to a successful quit attempt.
Vapers face a lot of challenges no matter where they live. But for those living in places like San Francisco, it’s about to get a whole lot worse. It seems like leaders are so concerned with getting Juul out of their city, they’re unable to realize how much value vaping actually provides. One thing is for sure. It’s unacceptable for any lawmakers to ban vaping while allowing cigarettes to be sold as usual. There is just no way to justify this type of blatant misguided regulation, especially in the face of all the evidence we now have. If ending the smoking epidemic is something our leaders truly want, they need to start supporting vaping instead of actively undermining it.
Do you think it’s surprising how far San Francisco is willing to go to fight vaping? Will this change lead to more outright bans? How should we work to spread positive information to those around us? 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.