State Senator Proposes Unbelievable New Flavor Ban
New Bill Would Ban The Sale And Purchase Of Flavored Vapor Products Statewide.
We live in an uncertain and ever-changing world, with times as turbulent and as trying as ever. As we face, perhaps the most significant public health pandemic in modern history, lawmakers continue to prop up and attack the invisible boogeyman of the so-called vaping “epidemic.”
A Nebraska Senator has introduced a new bill that would ban flavored vapor products throughout the state. Anyone caught selling or purchasing these products may be charged with a Class III misdemeanor per offense.
Tobacco control experts and harm reduction scholars have cautioned against various prohibitive policies based on their understanding of the promise and potential that vaping may provide public health at large. The bill has been criticized as nothing more than political grandstanding on a topic of little importance or relevance during the very real public health emergency the country and states are currently facing.
Lawmakers and other public health officials have an obvious and real threat facing them, perhaps the greatest of our lifetimes. Now is the time for a focused and measured response to the issues we face, not fear-mongering political theater to court favor among the already afraid.
Nebraska Senator Tom Briese introduced LB 1176, a bill that would ban the sale, possession, or procurement of flavored vapor products within the state. The ban allows an exemption for menthol and tobacco-flavored vapor products.
The proposal currently only applies to closed-system devices which rely on disposable cartridges or pods, such as Juul or Vuze. The ban does not apply to users of open-system devices that use tanks users can refill themselves.
Senator Justin Wayne expressed concerns about the ban, and whether otherwise innocent teens will end up in the criminal justice system for simply facing addiction. In addition, two major public health organizations have spoken out against the proposal, noting that criminalizing the youth these lawmakers claim to be protecting is ineffective and antiquated.
Nick Faustman of the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Action Network noted that a far more effective and common-sense solution is to target retailers selling these products, rather than misguided teens addicted to nicotine. Faustman and the American Cancer Society were joined in their opposition by the American Heart Association as well.
Lawmakers continue to propose restrictive policies in the name of combating a so-called teenage vaping “epidemic,” yet research from the NYU School of Global Public Health found that a majority of teens don’t actually vape. The study, which was published in the journal Nicotine & Tobacco Research, found that over 85% of teens do not vape at all, and the few that do are not habitual users.
A group of respected public health experts banded together, in an article published in the journal Science, to speak out against prohibitive policies and restrictive regulations targeting vaping. They note that there is currently no evidence that vaping is harmful, and that such prohibitive policies may force smokers back toward tobacco or black market alternatives.
They also note vaping’s remarkable effectiveness in helping combat the smoking epidemic as a cessation aid and tool. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that vaping was more effective than other nicotine-replacement therapies in helping adults not only quit smoking, but remain tobacco-free as well.
Studies also continue to emerge, demonstrating the reduced harm vaping poses compared to smoking. Research from Public Health England and the Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, which each found that vaping is actually 95% and 93% safer than smoking, respectively.
Sen. Briese’s proposed prohibition represents the kind of grandstanding and fear-mongering political theater plaguing America today. The bill accomplishes nothing more than attempting to score brownie points ahead of the election with ill-informed parents too inept to take 30 seconds to actually talk to their child about vaping and criminalizes innocent youths in the process to do so.
We face one of the greatest public health crises in history, and yet lawmakers continue to target vaping with no scientific basis. These lawmakers act on a false sense of morality that ultimately creates a host of problems far greater than the one they claim they’re attempting to solve.
Members of the vaping industry and community must speak out against such proposals, and hold the lawmakers bringing them forward accountable for doing so. These legislators need to understand the benefits that vaping has provided thousands of adult smokers not just in Nebraska, but throughout the country as well.
What are your thoughts regarding Nebraska’s proposed flavor ban? Do you have any concerns about lawmaker’s priorities on public health amid this crisis? 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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