New Congressional Session Has Many Vapers Worried After Latest Proposal
As the 116th session of the US Congress gets underway, the vaping industry is already facing some serious challenges
Properly regulating vaping has always been a tricky proposition, and as it continues to grow in popularity, it’s only becoming more challenging. As a relatively new tool, it’s somewhat understandable why so many different places have come to differing conclusions about how to handle vaping moving forward. Unfortunately, this means that many places are severely undermining the vaping industry with strict and overbearing regulations. The United States has traditionally fallen somewhere in the middle of the vaping rights movement, but a proposed law change by Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) could move us farther away from our goals.
This isn’t the first time Rep. DeLauro proposed a similar law. Back in 2015, she submitted a very similar piece of legislation that was ultimately shot down in the GOP controlled house and senate. That bill would have placed ID requirements on online retailers who offer e-cigarettes. But now that the Democrats control the house, in conjunction with much more support from the GOP on vaping regulations, many in the vaping community are quite concerned that the bill will pass this time around.
The Impact On Buying
The newly proposed bill, called the “Youth Vaping Prevention Act” aims at several aspects of the growing vaping industry. One of the most significant is what the law would do to the price and availability of vaping products around the country, such as reclassifying vapes under the IRS code for tobacco products. Currently vaping products are taxed vastly differently depending on where you live, but if this bill passes, all e-cigarettes sold in the US will be subject to the same flat tax as cigarettes (a little more than $1 per pack on top of your state and local vaping taxes). In an effort to sell their proposal, the office of Rep. DeLauro released a summary which claimed the new taxes would allow vapes to be sold cheaper. They claimed this is due to the closure of tax loopholes, but many experts agree that such a law being passed only increases the cost of vaping for the average citizen.
Another significant portion of Rep. DeLauro’s bill is requirements on retailers to ensure they ID everyone before selling any products. This includes a provision which makes even online stores implement systems which use approved databases to verify customer age with photo ID. The bill would also require businesses to develop methods for verifying age once the product is delivered, making things even more complicated. While protecting the youth is paramount, this bill would likely make much more sense if legislators sought out input from the vaping industry when crafting them.
But the part of Rep. DeLauro’s bill that has many in the vaping community most concerned is her provision for a flavor ban. This aggressive action would essentially give the FDA all the authority they need to ban all e-liquid flavors they don’t approve immediately. In fact, for businesses to continue making flavors deemed illegal they would have to submit a proposal to the FDA which proves to their liking the flavor is actively helping adult smokers quit, doesn’t cause any harm, and doesn’t negatively impact the youth in any way. If these companies fail to meet the expectations of the FDA committee, they could find themselves in a very tough predicament. Not to mention that many adult smokers point to fruit and dessert flavored e-liquids as a significant key to their ability to stay away from cigarettes, so taking away these flavors could have unintended consequences in the fight against tobacco.
Making these potential issues more clear is a report published by Dr. John Buckell of Yale University. Released by the National Bureau of Economic Research, the study took an in-depth look at how different types of flavor bans would have differing impacts on smoking and vaping rates. He gathered over 2,000 adult vapers, most of which were former smokers, and asked them a series of question regarding their personal habits and feeling on vaporizers. After analyzing all of their information, the team noticed some crucial patterns emerge. For instance, they concluded that if all e-liquid flavors expect tobacco and menthol were banned, nearly 10% of vapers would ultimately relapse back into a life of smoking. Alternatively, they found that if vaping flavors were kept legal while menthol cigarettes got the boot, it would result in Big Tobacco sales dropping across the US by around 5% in just a year.
It’s clear that 2019 is going to be a make or break year for the vaping industry. Between a newly Democrat controlled house, and growing bipartisan support for vaping regulation, it’s only becoming harder to prove the value of vaporizers in America. It’s not for lack of evidence, which still indicates vaping is at least 95% safer while also being one of the best smoking cessation tools at our disposal. So letting legislators take vaping away from us now would indeed be a travesty. That’s why we must keep working to spread the word about vaping. Otherwise, it will only be matter of time before the vaping industry as we know it is gone forever.
Are you worried about this latest vaping regulation proposal? What’s the most important factor when looking at how to regulate vaping properly? How should we keep up the fight as things get more hectic? 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.