Congress Pushing Vape Ban As Trump Retreats
Congress Pushing Vape Ban As Trump Retreats
If you’ve been following the vape news recently there’s been a TON of confusion going around as to where the federal government is going to land on vaping. A few weeks ago Trump touted a full-on federal flavor ban along with a few other restrictions (which sources claim are coming as a result of the First Lady and First Daughters direct input on the president’s decisions). We were supposed to get a definitive statement on vaping from the president by the end of last week but that never happened. Now, because of Trump’s stalling, Democrats are taking the opportunity to champion the vape ban and score some political points with the uninformed American public.
Once again it seems like our vaping industry is being used as a football in the never-ending political game of disingenuous arguments against vaping. The members of our government on both sides of the political divide seemingly care more about appearing to be concerned about the health of their constituents than actually doing anything actionable.
After all, with all this talk about vaping being unhealthy and flavored nicotine being bad, I haven’t seen any of these people pushing for vape bans pushing for more cigarette bans and restrictions. In fact, despite the formerly laid out plans to cut the nicotine out of cigarettes announced by the FDA in 2017 just today, they’ve announced they won’t be following up on that!
So here was an actual effort by the Federal government to reduce cigarette consumption and addiction, yet it’s being shelved and pushed back. There were also talks of banning menthol cigarettes which have also since been shelved. So when politicians are saying flavors in vape are a problem but flavors in cigarettes are not, I find it hard to believe them.
Now we have a new bill, this one approved by the House Energy and Commerce Committee. This latest bill is much more aggressive than anything we’ve seen recently and contains a number of industry destroying restrictions. The ban would prohibit all flavored tobacco products, raise the tobacco purchasing age to 21, and ban online sales entirely.
So you can go to war and kill a person at 18 but the government thinks you’re not responsible enough to decide if you want to smoke?
Despite the fact that this bill has gained enough momentum to push through the House of Congress, drawing support from both sides of the aisle, it is still very unlikely to pass the Senate. Remember, anything being voted on in the Senate has to be approved for voting by the Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. I think we've all seen just how slowly Mitch works, that bill will probably still be on his desk in a years time.
Still, the politicians are taking this opportunity to get their licks in and sound like they’re making a difference. Dick Durbin, a prominent Democratic Senator took the opportunity to blast Trump stating “I'm hoping that the president cares more about children than he does about the lobbying pressure from 'Big Tobacco' and 'Big Vape companies”.
Who are these big vape companies Dick? Is he talking about JUUL, who is now controlled by their majority shareholder Altria group, makers of Marlboro and other cigarette companies??
Once again it looks like we’re being grouped into Big Tobacco despite the fact that Tobacco companies are losing customers to vaping hand over fist. We here in the vape industry have ALWAYS been against Big Tobacco, to group us together just shows how ignorant these politicians are. Of course, ignorance is the convenient excuse, a much more sinister motive may be coming from the insidious financial dependence of local governments on MSA money from Big Tobacco.
When the MSA (Master Settlement Agreement) first hit the law-books in 1998 it sounded like a great idea. Tobacco companies would pay states settlement money for cigarette caused diseases among their populations, the payouts would be based on the number of cigarettes sold in each state. Which made sense, because everyone knew the nicotine alternatives had a less than 50% success rate so it was a good bet that people would continue to buy cigarettes and the states could count on Big Tobacco settlement money for funding. What nobody saw coming was the advent of a completely new technology that made quitting cigarettes easier than ever before. This led to a drastic drop in cigarette sales which in turn led to the settlement money from Big Tobacco decreasing to the tune of several hundred million dollars per state.
According to the National Association of Attorney Generals
- New York received $1,432,460,402 from Big Tobacco payouts in 2016, in 2019 they received only $616,022,075. Less than half of the 1.4 billion previously paid out before vaping became popular.
- California recieved $1,111,243,297 in 2013, in 2019 they only got $849,315,111 in payouts.
So basically this ban boils down to the protection of government funding by Big Tobacco. I think, like most of the bans we’ve seen being touted, this bill will die before it ever becomes law. But then that begs the question, why bother making the bill in the first place?