Guess Which States Are Banning Vaping Now
Several states are set to enact regulations ranging from flavor bans to complete prohibition.
Amid unsubstantiated reports of illnesses blamed on nicotine vaping, as well as the Trump Administration’s looming federal ban on flavored vapor products, lawmakers throughout the United States have taken to hastily enacting various bans of their own. Ranging from flavor bans implemented through executive order to outright and complete prohibition of all vapor products, these lawmakers are subverting the democratic process to ban entire industries based on misinformation and hysteria.
Massachusetts recently announced a complete ban on all vapor products, placing the future of their local vaping industry and the small mom-and-pop vape shops that comprise it in serious jeopardy. The state follows Michigan, Rhode Island, and New York who have recently enacted bans of their own targeting flavored vapor products.
Anti-vaping activists claim these bans are aimed at protecting children and teens, as unique exotic flavors such as “vanilla” could never possibly appeal to adult smokers looking to quit. Meanwhile, members of the vaping community are still trying to understand the connection between flavored vapor products and the illegal THC cartridges fueling these bans. They note that flavor bans more often than not simply reduce access to reduced-harm alternatives for smokers looking to quit.
There are major potential economic concerns behind banning an entire retail industry primarily comprised of small businesses. Not to mention the major public health concern of restricting access to a proven smoking cessation aid which has already helped millions of former smokers kick the habit. Without dramatic legal challenge and public outcry in favor of defending vaping and clearing up the misinformation surrounding it, the future of vaping is looking quite uncertain.
Additional State Bans
After Michigan’s announcement of their ban on the sale of flavored vapor products, Rhode Island and New York quickly followed suit with flavor bans of their own. Not to be outdone, Governor of Massachusetts Charlie Baker took things much further and ordered the complete prohibition on sales of all vapor products in the state.
These state bans come following an announcement by the Trump Administration directing the Food and Drug Administration to outline plans for implementing a federal ban on the sale of flavored vapor products. At the core of all these various bans is a sustained campaign of misinformed hysteria, blaming flavored nicotine vapor products for various reports of lung illnesses as black market THC oil continues to be proven to be the actual cause.
These bans are often implemented immediately, or with very narrow 30-day windows for retailers to become compliant with the new regulations. Unfortunately for small mom-and-pop vape shops across the country, the only way to remain compliant is to discard most or all of their inventory, leaving these small businesses with few options and no time to weigh them.
To further complicate the matter, these bans place former adult smokers at serious risk of relapse, as flavored vapor products and vaping in general gave them a smoking cessation option where others had failed, and by banning the one option that worked they may very well end up smoking again.
Truth About Vaping
There is evidence supporting the above claim that flavor bans may lead adult smokers to relapse, as highlighted in a report by Dr. John Buckell of Yale University. His team found that flavored vapor products tend to appeal to adult smokers where other smoking cessation options cannot. This appeal tends to keep them using vapor products over tobacco in the long-term.
There is a growing body of research highlighting the effectiveness of vaping as a tool in the fight against the smoking epidemic. Researchers from the University of Louisville found vaping to be the most effective smoking cessation option available, beating out all other options.
There is also emerging research that shows the reduced harm vaping poses in comparison to smoking. A landmark report published by Public Health England concluded that e-cigarettes are about 95% safer than cigarettes. In addition, researchers from Roswell Park Cancer Institute found that vapor is about 93% safer than cigarette smoke.
Furthermore, a report from the Journal of Aerosol Sciences found the excess lifetime cancer risk of a vaper has been shown to be about 57,000 times lower than cigarette smokers. The report concluded that particulate matter in vapor is much smaller and less stable than cigarette smoke, meaning they don’t accumulate as much and contain fewer harmful byproducts.
We’ve seen legislators continue to infringe on the fundamental freedoms of vapers, quickly moving from basic bans on vaping in public spaces to bans that effectively cripple the industry. While at face value these bans may seem like an inconvenience for vapers, the potential economic and public health ramifications behind the prohibition of vaping are yet to be seen but have the potential to be devastating and far-reaching.
Economically, a $6 billion-a-year domestic retail industry comprised of small mom-and-pop vape shops is being directly threatened by overzealous regulation that may cause a bulk of it to go belly-up overnight. From a public health perspective, banning such a vital smoking cessation option removes an important tool in the fight against the global smoking epidemic, which currently impacts an estimated 1 billion people worldwide.
Members of the vaping community must do all they can to help shift the current hostile discourse surrounding vaping, from civic engagement to personally connecting with those who may be misinformed about vaping. Sharing your stories both online and in-person about how vaping has positively impacted your life and health can help highlight the benefits of vaping to lawmakers and the public at large.
How has vaping impacted your life personally? Do you have any concerns about the impending federal and various statewide vaping bans? We’d love to know what you think in the comments below! Be sure to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to receive all the latest vaping news!
(Image Credit – Pixabay – https://pixabay.com/images/id-559276/)