Vaping Bans Facing Judicial Challenges
As the constitutionality of new bans comes under question, some vapers are growing optimistic.
Vaping has been the subject of growing media and regulatory scrutiny over the last several weeks, with several states and municipalities placing bans on flavored vapor products, or even outright banning vaping entirely. In the face of these reactionary measures, judges across the country are actively challenging the legality and constitutionality of such bans.
Vaping bans in Michigan and New York have been temporarily halted in the face of ongoing litigation in response to these bans. Industry trade organizations and small retailers throughout the country have taken to suing their respective governments in response to reactionary overreaching regulations.
The vaping industry argues that these bans pose a significant public health risk by restricting access to a proven smoking cessation device that has gotten millions to quit smoking, as well as the threat these bans pose to the very foundation of the industry. Lawmakers have been hastily implementing these bans in response to reports of illnesses caused by illicit cannabis cartridges, repeatedly misattributed to “vaping” and “e-cigarettes” in the media.
Left unchallenged, these bans and other forms of prohibition could signal the end of the $6 billion-a-year domestic industry. In addition to the economic impact of effectively shuttering thousands of small businesses overnight, prohibition poses a serious potential public health risk as former smokers may be forced to turn back to cigarettes in response.
Constitutionality In Question
The states of New York and Michigan have each temporarily halted their respective vaping bans in the face of ongoing litigation brought on by the vaping industry. These blocks represent a small but substantial victory for the vaping industry in the face of growing adversity.
The ban in New York was blocked by an appellate court ruling, halting the ban until at least the next scheduled court hearing. A Michigan state judge temporarily blocked the state’s flavor ban, citing concerns that the ban may force former smokers back to cigarettes, and the irreparable harm the bans pose to the industry.
While these bans have been implemented in response to reports of various lung illnesses and injuries repeatedly misattributed to vaping in the media, most if, not all, cases where a cause has been identified found illegal marijuana cartridges to be the source. A lack of distinction between nicotine vapor products and illicit cannabis cartridges in reporting these outbreaks has led to a wave of hysteria and regulatory backlash in response.
This remiss reporting has led to the potential collapse of a multi-billion dollar domestic industry, largely comprised of small family-run businesses. In addition, it may lead to future public health crises, as these bans not only potentially exacerbate the smoking epidemic but also force users from a safe, regulated marketplace toward the black market responsible for the outbreaks.
Truth About Vaping
While lawmakers claim to be battling a fictional vaping epidemic, we are facing a genuine worldwide smoking epidemic impacting over a billion people globally. Recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) figures estimate there are approximately 38 million smokers in the United States alone, with 16 million currently affected by various smoking-related conditions.
Despite the controversy, vaping continues to establish itself as a proven smoking cessation tool in the fight against this epidemic. Research conducted by the University of Louisville found that vaping was the single most effective smoking cessation aid available, outperforming all other options.
In addition to vaping’s proven track record as a smoking cessation tool, there is a substantial body of research noting the relative safety of vaping compared to smoking. Studies by Public Health England and the Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center each concluded vaping was 95% safer and 93% safer than smoking, respectively.
Furthermore, research by the Journal of Aerosol Sciences found vapers have a remarkable 57,000 times lower risk of developing cancer in their lifetimes versus smokers. Their research also noted vapor is far less stable and smaller than cigarette smoke, which poses a reduced risk.
These rulings pushing back against vaping bans are a vital victory in the current war against vaping. They help establish the precedent of courts challenging unconstitutional regulation unilaterally imposed by lawmakers, making it easier for the industry and judicial system to challenge and overturn such bans in the future.
Hopefully, these rulings will serve as the beginning of repealing the current prohibition against vaping. Regulations imposed on vaping should be science and fact-based, not reactionary regulatory overreach based on hysteria.
The vaping industry must continue in its sustained effort to fight back against the regulatory war on vaping to help protect public health and the future of the industry. The vaping community must remain civically engaged and vocal in their support of their hobby, as inaction will only inevitably lead to complete prohibition.
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