This Misguided Reason This State Is Regulating Vaping Like Tobacco
Idaho House Narrowly Passes Bill Regulating Industry
Vaping has been subject to a systemic onslaught by lawmakers in their ongoing war against the industry. This onslaught not only poses significant economic risks but significant public health concerns as well.
The Idaho House narrowly passed a bill that would regulate vapor products like tobacco. Vendors that sell vapor products would need permits from the state and would be subject to inspections for age verification compliance.
Critics of the measure say the bill creates unnecessary and redundant regulation, as it is already illegal for minors in the state to use or possess these products. Supporters of the measure state the bill helps create consistent regulations for all nicotine-based products and helps to prevent youth access.
This regulatory push conflicts with the current scientific consensus surrounding vaping and goes against the repeated warnings of harm reduction experts and public health scholars alike. The bill is now heading to the Senate, who just the week prior had killed a bill raising the minimum age to buy nicotine products from 18 to 21.
The Idaho House of Representatives passed HB 538, a bill that would regulate vapor products, much like tobacco products. Vendors who sell vapor products will need to obtain permits from the state, and be subject to regular inspections by the state’s Department of Health and Welfare to ensure those products aren’t being sold to minors.
Rep. Fred Wood, the bill’s sponsor, stated the measure is a means of regulating nicotine-based products consistently and helping to prevent teenage access to them. “Electronic smoking devices … are not defined consistently and are treated differently than traditional tobacco products,” said Wood. “This legislation puts all tobacco products on an even playing field and ensures we are able to prevent underage sales.”
Rep. Vito Barbieri, vape shop owner and critic of the bill, called vapor products an excellent reduced harm alternative to tobacco. “Nicotine is addictive, but it’s not harmful in and of itself,” said Barbieri. “Vaping gets people off of smoking, and they’re not the same thing.”
Other critics have called the regulations redundant, as any Idahoans under the age of 18 are already prohibited from purchasing and using these products. Defenders of the legislation say the bill establishes an enforcement mechanism for the laws already on the books.
Despite the ongoing war against vaping by lawmakers throughout the United States, scientific evidence and academic review continue to highlight the promise and potential it may provide. A multitude of studies has repeatedly demonstrated vaping’s effectiveness in aiding smoking cessation, as well as vaping being a reduced harm alternative to tobacco.
As mentioned, study after study continues to demonstrate the efficacy of vaping as a smoking cessation aid. For example, a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that vaping was more effective than traditional nicotine-replacement therapies, not only helping people quit but staying away from smoking as well.
Not only is vaping an effective in aiding smoking cessation, but it is also a proven reduced harm alternative to tobacco. Studies from both Public Health England and the Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center each found that vaping is 95% and 93% safer than smoking.
In addition to the studies above, research published by the Journal of Aerosol Sciences found that vapers have a 57,000 times lower risk of developing cancer in their lifetimes compared to smokers. The researchers also found that particulate matter in vapor is smaller and less harmful than the particulate matter produced by tobacco combustion.
Idaho’s excessive regulation represents one of the more desperate attempts by lawmakers to portray and regulate vaping similarly to smoking. This comes despite the aforementioned evidence, alongside a trove of other research repeatedly demonstrating its promise and potential.
Vaping must be regulated like the public health tool that it is, and not like deadly tobacco products, which are responsible for the deaths of millions each year. Ill-founded concerns over teenage access to vapor products should restrict access to the millions of smokers who may greatly benefit from these products.
Members of the vaping industry and community must band together and lobby their Senators to kill this legislation. The Senate had already demonstrated they’re more favorable to the industry, killing a bill that would raise the minimum age of purchase from 18 to 21 just a week before HB 538 was passed by the House.
What are your thoughts regarding Idaho regulating vaping like smoking? How do you believe this regulation will impact the state’s industry moving forward? We would love to hear from you in the comments below, be sure to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to receive all the latest vaping news!
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