US Sees First Statewide Ban On Vaping Flavors
Michigan recently became the first state to ban e-liquid flavors, after being the last state to prohibit minors from buying the products.
It’s nothing new for legislators around the country to implement misguided vaping regulations in the face of growing concern. Over the last few years, instances of politicians treating vaping the same as smoking, or worse, have been steadily increasing.
This trend reached new heights last week, as Michigan legislators moved to ban vaping flavors immediately across the state. The decision was announced by Governor Gretchen Whitmer, as part of an address regarding teenage usage.
While some have supported the move as protecting youth, others believe misguided regulations like these are ultimately making matters worse. Critics even suggest this latest move is an overzealous attempt to make up for lost time, as they only recently banned the sale of vaping products to minors, the last state to do so.
Keeping the youth protected should always be a primary concern of any lawmakers, but by not doing their research, they could be making things much worse. We have plenty of evidence over the last several years which proves vaping is much safer than smoking, and continued attempts to equate the two processes is only reducing how many people are able to quit smoking for good.
With the news of their new ban, Michigan becomes the first US state to ban vaping flavors outright, even including menthol which is exempt from many flavor bans. The regulation not only covers brick and mortar locations but any online sales which are to be delivered within the state as well.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer gave the order to the state’s Department of Health and Human Services to immediately impose a ban on vaping flavors for six months. At the end of the six month period, legislators will be allowed to vote on an extension if an agreement hasn’t been reached yet.
While the Gov claims this move is only about protecting the youth, some vaping supporters have called into question their sudden change of heart as suspicious. It was only a few months back that Michigan even formally banned the sale of vaping products to teens under the age of 18, becoming the last state to implement this common-sense law.
However, perhaps to make up for lost time, Michigan is now taking things to the extreme and could be providing Big Tobacco a helping hand in the process. This type of flavor ban has been suggested to actually increase the number of smokers, as those who had successfully switched revert due to the lack of options.
Vaping Is Different
Making this new flavor ban all the worse is the evidence we’ve gotten over the last couple of years, which suggests these bans could be doing more harm than good. A report conducted by Dr. John Buckell of Yale University concluded vaping flavor bans are significantly increasing the chances former smokers revert to smoking, resulting in a distinct advantage for Big Tobacco.
Most people believe protecting the youth is a worthy reason to limit the freedoms of vapers. However, the evidence suggests a different trend. In fact, a report of over 60,000 teens conducted by Public Health England found only between 0.1% and 0.5% of non-smoking teens are ever vaping more than a few times, let alone switching to cigarettes.
These repeated attempts to discredit the vaping industry have continued despite a growing pile of peer-reviewed evidence indicating the distinct smoking cessation value of vaping. In fact, a report out of the University of Louisville tested all the most common smoking cessation tools and methods before determining it was actually vaping which is the most likely to succeed.
But we have the most evidence supporting the harm reduction value of vaporizers. This evidence goes back to at least 2015 when Public Health England reported vaping is at least 95% safer than continued smoking. More recently we’ve gotten reports out of the Journal of Aerosol Sciences which found the excess lifetime cancer risk of a vaper is about 57,000 times lower than a demographically similar smoker.
This could be the start of a troubling trend for the vaping industry in America. After years of independent evidence supporting the harm reduction and smoking cessation value of vaping, a few misguided legislators threaten to undermine it all.
Vaping bans are nothing new for the community, but when they’re as all-encompassing as a state-wide ban, it can make it exceedingly difficult for vapers to get the products they need to stay away from cigarettes.
Smoking still kills more people every year than any other preventable cause, and as such it should remain our primary concern. While only time can tell the full extent of what vaping does, we know beyond a shadow of a doubt that smoking is one of the worst things you can do for your long term health.
If we wish to protect our vaping rights moving forward, we simply must work together to teach those around us all about what vaping provides. The more people on our side, the easier it becomes to convince legislators to do the right thing.
What are your thoughts on the newest flavor ban? Do you think this is just the beginning? How important are vaping flavors to you? 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.
(Image Credit – Pixabay – https://pixabay.com/images/id-2439322/)