Vaping Ordinance Passes Arkansas City Council
Bryant City Council Claims They’re Preventing Teenage Vaping By Imposing Strict Fines On Children
As Americans, we rely on our public officials to serve and act in our best interests for the stability and advancement of society. Unfortunately, more often than not, these same officials often end up marginalizing the very groups they claim to be serving.
The Bryant City Council recently voted to approve a vaping-related ordinance during a regular council meeting streamed live on Youtube. The law directly targets teenagers, imposing strict fines for those caught using or possessing vapor products.
The ordinance grants law enforcement the right to confiscate and destroy vaping products possessed by a minor. Additionally, violation of the ordinance is subject to a fine of up to $300 for the first offense alone, scaling with each subsequent offense.
The new regulation was introduced under claims that the juvenile courts are overwhelmed by cases related to vaping, so it would allow the school district to handle violations instead. At no point during the meeting did any council member justify or explain why children are being criminalized for possessing vapor products, which notably does not happen with tobacco.
The Bryant City Council voted to pass an ordinance targeting teens for the usage and possession of vapor products. The ordinance grants law enforcement the ability to confiscate and destroy vapor products found in possession of a minor and introduces new fines that scale with subsequent violations, ranging from $150 to $300 for the first violation alone.
The Council has stated the measure was necessary, noting that the juvenile justice system is currently overwhelmed by cases related to vaping. Additionally, school district officials have been lobbying claims that keeping up with vaping violations is proving overwhelming to keep up with. “Our school resource officer confiscated 60 vape pens from one student at one time because he was selling them,” said the Mayor of Bryant, Allen Scott.
The ordinance was rushed to passage after Bryant Superintendent Dr. Karen Walters expressed that she wanted to have it in place before the district prints handbooks for the new school year so that guidelines could be included. It had previously been put off during a previous city council meeting so that officials could speak with school administrators first.
Included in the ordinance is a provision for a vaping education class to be administered by the district. Violators can take the class together with their parents, and receive a reduced fine for doing so. “We are going to work on education, make sure students understand the dangers of vaping,” said Bryant High School principal Dr. Todd Edwards.
While anti-vaping activists and misguided lawmakers often parrot claims of a so-called teenage vaping “epidemic,” a study from the NYU School of Global Public Health found that most teens don’t actually vape. The study, published in the journal Nicotine & Tobacco Research, found that over 85% of teens do not vape at all, and even the few that do vape do not do so regularly.
Despite the sustained political and media campaign against vaping, study after study continue to emerge, highlighting the promise and potential it can provide. Research published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that vaping is more effective than other nicotine-replacement therapies in not only helping adults quit smoking, but remain tobacco-free as well.
Not only is vaping a remarkably effective cessation aid, but there are a number of studies affirming the reduced harm it poses compared to smoking. A study, published in the Journal of Aerosol Sciences, found that vapers face a staggering 57,000 times lower lifetime risk of developing cancer compared to smokers.
Not only are there a number of studies highlighting the prospective benefits vaping may provide, but evidence indicates that there is no risk of harm from prolonged usage as well. A study, published by the National Academy of Sciences, found that not only is vaping significantly less harmful than smoking, but there are currently no known long-term health effects associated with long-term use.
The Bryant City ordinance represents the ongoing misguided efforts of lawmakers acting upon fear-mongering misinformation perpetuated by anti-vaping activists. Imposing fines on the very teenagers, they’re claiming to protect is not an effective way to reduce use.
Education is one of the most effective ways to help teenagers understand the potential consequences ingestion of certain chemicals may have on their developing bodies, such as nicotine and caffeine. It is a direct punishment for vaping that represents how truly misguided this effort actually is in practice.
Constituents must press their lawmakers about these regulations that may potentially criminalize their own teenagers. While violations don’t appear on a criminal record, your child may have an unnecessarily negative interaction with law enforcement for something that should be handled by parents in the first place.
What are your thoughts regarding this new ordinance in Bryant? Do you believe targeting teens is an effective way to reduce youth vaping? Will this have larger implications on vaping regulations? As always, we would love to know what you think in the comments below. Also, don’t forget to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to receive all the latest and greatest vaping news and reviews!
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