You Won’t Believe What This State Representative Is Claiming About Vaping

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Representative uses outlandish fearmongering to push statewide vaping ban.

The general climate surrounding vaping and the vaping industry have appeared to turn hostile for the reduced-harm smoking cessation aid. Amid fearmongering reports of illnesses loosely attributed to “vaping,” likely caused by illegally produced cannabis oil cartridges, one representative is escalating misinformed hysteria to new heights.

Utah State Representative Paul Ray has called for a complete ban on all vapor products, citing “independent lab” testing and claims “roughly 84%” of products “tested positive for an illegal drug.” Ray claims these products from Salt Lake County vape shops contain narcotics such as opioids, barbiturates, and PCP.

Members of the vaping community have noted the findings have left them with far more questions than answers, with most questioning the validity of the research. Industry leaders note that the company used in Rays supposed “tests” used urine drug test strips on the products, which can not effectively test anything other than urine and will most likely produce a false positive otherwise.

While there are growing claims and concerns surrounding vaping, there is no reason scientifically to give Rays claims the slightest bit of credence. Public health officials and lawmakers continue to portray vaping in an inaccurate light, with some going as far as to outright fabricate claims.

Follow The Money

Utah State Representative Paul Ray took to the floor of the state capitol to share test results, performed by an independent laboratory, on vapor products from local retailers. In his findings, Ray claims that 84% of the products tested positive for narcotics, claims so outlandish that not a single one of his colleagues support him in any capacity.

Ray claims these products were simply purchased off the shelf from Salt Lake County vape shops, although he refused to name any particular retailer or product tested. Ray also refused to disclose the name of the independent laboratory who performed the testing, or release the results of the tests to the public for scrutiny.

President of the Utah Vapor Business Association Juan Bravo found through his own investigation that the lab in question didn’t even perform the kinds of testing Ray claims were done. Bravo notes Beechtree Diagnostics, the laboratory Ray refused to disclose, only performs urinalysis and has used urine test strips on the products provided. President of Beechtree Diagnostics Michael Moreno admitted to Bravo in a phone conversation that using anything but urine with these test strips could be problematic. Even saying a strip dipped in Redbull could easily come up positive for cocaine.

It is important to note that Paul Ray, who in 2015 helped to bring back firing squads as a method of capital punishment, is heavily financially backed by the pharmacutical industry, with a notably generous donor being AstraZeneca. AstraZeneca, a British-Swedish multinational with over $22 billion in revenue, announced in 2015 a $145 million partnership with Eolas Therapeutics to market their own smoking cessation therapy. While there is no direct link showing AstraZeneca’s donations directly influenced and funded Ray’s bunk research, we feel this series of facts are nonetheless important to disclose.

Benefits Of Vaping

Despite AstraZeneca’s marketing of their own smoking cessation therapy, nicotine vaping has already been proven as a remarkably effective smoking cessation aid and reduced-harm alternative to tobacco. In fact, research by the University of Louisville found vaping to be the single most effective smoking cessation tool available today, beating out all other options, including prescription smoking cessation therapies.

Calls for outright prohibition based on faulty science may create a negative stigma among the public, which could prevent current smokers from considering vaping as a viable tool to help them quit. A study by Action on Smoking and Health found that just 13% of adults believe vaping is safer than smoking, with 26% saying it’s just as bad, if not worse.

Despite these misinterpretations based on misinformation, there is growing evidence highlighting how much safer vaping is than smoking. A study published in the Journal of Aerosol Sciences found vapers have a 57,000 times lower risk of developing cancer compared to smokers.

In addition, separate studies from Public Health England and the Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center found vaping to be 95% and 93% safer than smoking, respectively. Despite the evidence supporting the value of vaping, the industry is under constant scrutiny by lawmakers despite them citing little evidence to support their calls for prohibition.

Implications

Paul Ray’s calls for prohibition represent an unprecedented level of fearmongering and flagrant conflict of interest. This type of bizarre legislative overreach and manufactured hysteria help lend credence to the conspiracy that bans against vaping are propped up by big tobacco and big pharma in order to increase their revenue by stifling potential competition.

If left unchallenged, lawmakers will continue to engage in these acts of legislative overreach with wanton disregard, just to protect their own interests and the interests of their donors. We’ve already seen this with lawmakers quickly moving from flavor bans to calls for prohibition, despite citing no concrete evidence to support them.

Lawmakers who are funded by industry and introduce legislation to ban competition against their donors need to be thoroughly scrutinized and held accountable. Members of the vaping community, and in particular constituents of Rep. Ray, need to remain both civically engaged and engaged in the broader discourse surrounding vaping. This is the best way we can start to help counter these myths and other misinformation.

How do you feel about this call for a complete statewide ban on vaping? Do you have questions about the validity of the tests performed? Please let us know what you think in the comments. Don’t forget to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to receive all the latest vaping news!

(Image Credit – Pixabay – https://pixabay.com/images/id-668449/)

Dustin has been vaping for almost a decade. He found e-cigarettes in 2008 and quickly became drawn to them as an early adopter. He's been writing reviews ever since and has established himself as a well-versed authority on the subject.

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