The Interesting Fight That Could Help Change The Perception Of Vaping Forever
Lawmakers in Michigan are currently at a crossroads in their vaping regulations but are poised to set an encouraging precedent.
It’s pretty easy to forget sometimes, but the entire vaping industry is barely over ten years old at this point. As such, vaping regulations tend to be quite different and often subject to change. Unfortunately, despite a growing pile of peer-reviewed evidence supporting the harm reduction and smoking cessation value of vaporizers, most legislators remain skeptical of their impact. Michigan presents a particularly interesting example, where lawmakers are currently trying to agree on any way to regulate vaping for the first time. However, vapers seem poised for an important victory as, if signed, the bill on Gov. Whitmer’s desk would officially ban vaping for anyone under 18, but without designating e-cigarettes as a tobacco product.
If this happens, Michigan will be the first state to make a clear distinction between vaping and smoking in all their regulations, instead of merely applying tobacco control laws to a process which contains no tobacco at all. Both sides of the vaping debate have been watching this story closely with so much at stake. Vapers are excited, but experts are unsure whether or not Gov. Whitmer will actually sign the bill. She’s reportedly getting pressure from several advocacy groups to veto the bill, which would continue to allow minors to purchase vaporizers under state law.
A Baffling Case
Currently, there is a bill awaiting either a signature or veto from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D). The bill, written by Sen. Rick Outman, would effectively ban the sale of vaping products to anyone under the age of 18. But to really understand this story, we have to go back a couple of years. That’s when Sen. Outman first tried to get e-cigarettes banned to anyone under 18 with a bill basically the same as the one now. Former Gov. Rick Snyder vetoed this bill back in 2014 because he didn’t think it went far enough. He was looking for vaping to be subject to the same taxes as tobacco products, despite the total lack of tobacco in vaporizers. So instead of getting most of what he was looking for Gov. Snyder allowed minors to this day to have access to vaporizers. It seems the allure of extra money was too much to pass up.
Fast forward to today, and current Gov. Whitmer is facing the same decision as her predecessor. She’s getting much of the same pressure as Gov. Snyder received from groups such as the American Cancer Society. This baffling logic is hard to follow, but seemingly they are hellbent on equating two utterly different processes. Fortunately, not all members of the government are so quick to take the easy way out instead of doing their research. In fact, it’s actually Sen. Outman who is once again very vocal about this misguided logic, saying “why aren’t we taxing the patch as tobacco? It is the same substance. It is nicotine. It is a nicotine delivery system. Either you tax them all or you don’t tax them.”
Why Support Vaping
It’s great to see that not every politician is unwilling to look into the peer-reviewed evidence for themselves. It’s not like it takes very long to find plenty of reasons to support e-cigarettes. A report from back in 2015 by Public Health England concluded vaping is at least 95% safer than continued smoking. While this report made huge waves at the time, these days we have plenty of supporting evidence to this extreme harm reduction value. A report from the end of last year by Roswell Park Cancer Institute found the toxicants in vapor are about 93% lower than in cigarette smoke. However, nothing compares to the report from the Journal of Aerosol Sciences, which concluded the excess lifetime cancer risk of a smoker is around 57,000 times higher than a vaper with a similar background.
If you look past the harm reduction value, you still have a lot to love about e-cigarettes. We have reports which indicate not only is vaping an effective smoking cessation tool, but it’s actually the single most likely to lead to a successful quit attempt. We also have proof that the teenage vaping “epidemic” is being majorly overblown by the media. A report of over 60,000 teens by Action on Smoking and Health found only between 0.1% and 0.5% of non-smoking teens are ever picking up a vaporizer more than a handful of times.
The American Cancer Society may call it a “dangerous precedent” for the Governor to sign the bill on her desk. But it seems a lot more dangerous to veto the bill and allow minors continued access to vaping products across the state. Vaping is not harmless, but we do have plenty of reason to believe they’re a powerful harm reduction and smoking cessation tool. If this bill is signed, it will be the first case of a state standing up and saying there is a distinct difference between vaping and smoking, and they ought to be regulated as such. That would be an unprecedented win for the vaping community, one that could ultimately change our course forever.
Do you think vaping laws need to be added in Michigan? What’s the most crucial part about vaping for you? How can we best teach others about the value of 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.