Serious Setback For Industry After This State Targets Vaping
Indiana Senate and House pass matching anti-vaping bills
Throughout the United States, vaping has faced a constant legislative onslaught driven by lazy lawmakers and misinformed media. This onslaught has led to a wave of over taxation and various prohibitive policies that threaten the industry and the future of vaping as a whole.
The House and Senate in Indiana passed matching bills targeting vaping, increasing the minimum age to purchase nicotine products from 18 to 21, as well as stiffening penalties against youth caught with these products and any retailers who may sell to them. The House and Senate bills are identical in nature and essentially mirror one another.
Each bill codifies a recent move by the federal government to raise the minimum age of purchase from 18 to 21 in Indiana law. It would also impose fines of up to $500 for those under 21 caught with nicotine products, with retailers selling to those who are under 21 facing fines of up to $2000.
As both bills are so similar in nature, it remains uncertain which will eventually move to Governor Eric Holcomb’s desk. Lawmakers from each chamber are set to meet to make that decision.
The Indiana Senate and House of Representatives each passed anti-vaping bills that raise the minimum age of purchase for nicotine products from 18 to 21. The bills also impose penalties on people under 21 caught with them and any retail establishments that may sell to them.
House Bill 1006, and Senate Bill 1, have been drafted to mirror one another. Lawmakers are uncertain, which will advance to the desk of the Governor, although they are set to meet to figure out that decision.
Some lawmakers have spoken out against the bills, stating they are a prime example of government overreach. “You’re saying the government has control, they have the power now to come into your life and do what we think is right for you,” said Rep. Jim Lucas, who then argued that 18-year-olds should be able to purchase nicotine products if they can vote, go to war, and for all other intents and purposes be considered adults under the law.
Others have also criticized the stated intention of the bill, sarcastically arguing that if young minds aren’t fully developed until 25, why not raise the minimum to that age instead. “The true purpose of this, if it was truly to make the decisions about smoking and when they’re mature enough to make that decision, then we ought to make it 25,” said Sen. Phil Boots. “This is truly about raising fines, punishing people who don’t do exactly what we want them to do.”
The domestic vapor industry has been subject to unwarranted and undeserved scrutiny despite the potential it offers millions the world over. In the face of constant legislative onslaught throughout the United States, vaping continues to remain a proven smoking cessation aid and reduced harm alternative to tobacco.
As mentioned, study after study continues to demonstrate the efficacy of vaping as a smoking cessation device. For example, a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that vaping was more effective than traditional nicotine-replacement therapies in helping people quit and stay off of tobacco.
Not only is vaping one of the most effective smoking-cessation devices available, but research has repeatedly demonstrated it as a reduced harm alternative to tobacco as well. Research from both Public Health England and the Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center found that vaping is 95% and 93% safer than smoking, respectively.
Harm reduction experts and public health scholars have repeatedly spoken out against prohibitive policies and other overbearing regulations targeting vaping. In a piece published in the journal Science, a group of these experts banded together to speak out against such legislation, noting the negative public health risks of preventing smoker’s access to such an effective smoking cessation aid.
Indiana’s matching anti-vaping bills are a prime example of the legislative fervor to ban vaping based on nothing but pure hysteria. The proposals themselves and the process of passing them demonstrates the sheer inefficiency and incompetence of government, to where the House and Senate aren’t even sure which fear-mongering bill will pass.
Each chamber rushed to pass their misinformed regulations simply for the sake of earning political brownie points with concerned parents ahead of the upcoming elections. The entire process is nothing more than a political stunt to quell the fears of parents who believe every rumor of a teenager with a JUUL on their evening news.
Members of Indiana’s vaping industry and community must band together and speak out against such overreach. A campaign of sustained civic engagement driven by informative public discourse may offer the best opportunity to help correct the ill-informed perceptions and narratives surrounding vaping.
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