Misguided Vape Ban Proposal Fails After Pushback
Vape Ban After Vape Ban Face Political And Legislative Challenges”
Despite the prevalence of vape ban proposals throughout the United States, political and legislative challenges continue to stop many of them from even emerging out of committee. This week, another major vape ban proposal was effectively ended due to a lack of legislative support.
A bill to ban the sale and distribution of flavored vapor products will not advance in the Oregon Legislature, following an economic analysis of the proposal that revealed significant potential losses in tax revenue. Economists estimated that the proposed flavor ban, set to include flavored tobacco products as well, may cost the state upwards of a quarter of a billion dollars worth of potential lost tax revenue in just a two-year span.
Members of the vaping industry and community have embraced the failure of the bill, noting the public health benefits of allowing adults continued access to vapor products. These devices have helped many remain tobacco-free, not to mention the economic benefits of continued tax revenue. Anti-vaping activists have expressed their disappointment over the lack of support, stating that flavor bans are the only effective way to prevent teens from accessing vapor products.
Now that this proposal is effectively dead within the current short legislative session, the sponsors of the bill are seeking alternative means of regulating the vaping industry. A new proposal seeks a retail licensing provision that would require any retailer selling vapor or tobacco products to apply, approve, and receive a license from the state.
Another Failed Ban
A recent proposed vaping ban has failed in the current short session of the Oregon legislature. Senate Bill 1577, sponsored by Senator Laurie Monnes Anderson, would have banned the sale and distribution of all flavored vapor products within the state.
“The flavor ban is gone,” Anderson stated at the beginning of a legislative work session last week, attributing the bill’s failure to a lack of support among lawmakers. Sponsors and supporters of the bill have now shifted their focus toward a new program that would license all retailers of nicotine products within the state.
Legislators had stopped supporting the bill following an analysis of the potential economic impact of the proposal. Analysts had found that the proposed ban may cost the state anywhere from 70 to 227 million dollars biennially in lost tax revenue.
A meeting of the Senate Health Care Committee removed the ban following the lack of support, replacing it with a licensure provision that would force any retailers selling nicotine products to acquire a license to do so through the state.
Harm reduction experts and public health scholars have repeatedly stated that the net public health benefits of vaping vastly outweigh any hypothetical drawbacks or concerns. These experts cite an extensive collection of research noting both the efficacy of vaping in aiding smoking cessation and the reduced risk of harm compared to smoking.
Most notably, in a piece published in the journal Science, several renowned public health scholars banded together to caution against blanket bans on vaping. This group of experts notes there is currently no evidence that vaping is harmful, and that blanket bans, such as the one proposed in Oregon, may force users back toward tobacco or black market alternatives.
There is a multitude of studies highlighting the efficacy of vaping as a form of smoking cessation, particularly over other methods. For example, a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that vaping is more effective than conventional nicotine-replacement therapies in helping people both quit smoking and remain tobacco-free. An additional study from the University of Louisville found that vaping was the most effective form of smoking cessation, more than any other form tested.
Not only is vaping the single most effective form of smoking cessation currently available, but there is an extensive collection of evidence that vaping is significantly less harmful than smoking. In fact, research from Public Health England and the Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center found that vaping is 95% and 93% safer than smoking, respectively.
As ban after ban passes throughout the United States with each new legislative session, it is important for the vaping industry and community to note of when and why these proposals fail. Learning from these experiences can help combat and strike down similar initiatives going forward.
New proposals for a state retail tobacco licensure system have bi-partisan support, and the state would no longer be among the handful that has yet to implement such a basic and common-sense system. The new proposal represents a more reasonable solution to help reduce youth access to vapor products than outright prohibition.
While a positive step for vaping at large, members of the industry and community must not grow complacent. It is important for both groups to remain adequately informed and civically engaged to be in the best position for defeating additional proposals across the country.
What are your thoughts regarding the failure of Oregon’s proposed flavor ban? How do you believe the new proposed licensing provision will impact vaping in the state moving forward? We’d 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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