Embattled Vote Changes Vaping In Florida Forever
Last week voters in Florida voted to ban vaping along with offshore drilling
This past Tuesday was Election day in America. Across the country, voters decided on both representatives and proposed laws. Some areas took votes on regulations concerning the future of vaping such as age requirements and bans. Many of these fights happened in smaller governances, but one particular case saw the entire state vote over the future of vaping.
Many vapers will have heard that Floridians were voting on an odd law, Amendment 9, this election. The bill paired potential bans on both vaping and offshore drilling. Voters would have to decide to either ban both of these unrelated topics or let them both continue unregulated. Advocates from both sides felt the pairing was absurd, but despite many pleas, lawmakers stood by their choice and put the decision to the voters. Unfortunately for vapers in the Sunshine State, Amendment 9 passed.
Some may be scratching their heads at how we got here, and the story is a bit complicated to explain. Earlier this year the Florida Constitution Revision Commission met for their meeting every 20 years to decide on possible changes to the state’s constitution. Lisa Carlton, the head of the commision, stated multiple times that she personally felt vaping was as dangerous as smoking, if not more. She then used her considerable influence to force through a vote, adding vaping to the 2002 amendment that banned smoking in public places. The measure passed through the commision and as such was put on the ballot for this election.
This measure, as it was passed, was tied with a potential ban on offshore drilling. Supposedly the two are linked as being a “clean air, clean water” initiative, despite an obvious disconnect between the two topics. Since that was how the commision passed the proposals, this was how Floridians had to cast their vote on the issue. If people wanted to keep their right to vape, then they would have to sacrifice the health of the ocean, and the beautiful shoreline views that help Florida’s economy so much. When the ballots were cast over 60% of Floridians voted to ban vaping along with offshore drilling. Now the future of vaping in Florida is in flux.
Evidence For Vaping
What really makes the whole situation sting more is all the scientific evidence showing the immense amount of harm reduction and smoking cessation assistance that vaping has to offer. Vaping has been proven to be at least 95% safer than smoking, and users have a 57,000 times lower chance of developing cancer. Not just that but e-cigarettes have been proven to be the most successful smoking cessation tool on the market today.
As for the concerns with clean air, a study conducted at the University of California looked at the air quality in homes that allowed smoking, homes that allowed vaping, and homes that allowed neither. The team found no discernible difference between the houses where people neither smoked nor vaped, versus the homes where vaping, was permitted. Vaping has a very minimal effect on air quality. More directly related to Amendment 9 is the concern for bystanders. While second-hand smoke can cause serious ailments, including cancer in those exposed, second-hand vapor has little to no effect. So the bottom line is that vaping is at least 95% safer for direct users, so it stands to reason that it affects bystanders even less.
The vaping community is once again subject to new restrictive regulations without any reliable information to back it up. In fact, what we do have is a growing pile of evidence which indicates vaping is a massively significant harm reduction and smoking cessation tool. So while the research points to the value of vaping, polls show that only around 13% of adults understand how much safer vaping is than smoking.
We must ask ourselves if ending the smoking epidemic is really something we strive for as a society, because if so we must rethink how we treat likely these often misunderstood devices. The fight may be mostly over in places like Florida for now, but if we continue to support vaping it’s likely that we can one day change things. Until then we must work to teach our friends and family about all the benefits of switching to vaping, so they truly understand what’s at stake.
Does it surprise you that Florida voted to ban vaping? What do you think about the drilling/vaping combination ban? What’s the best way to improve public perception in your opinion? 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.