The War on Vaping
Across the country, vaping has become the latest target of questionable government regulation. With access to many of their preferred products compromised, adults are faced with a dilemma: accept these regulations or push back. Many states are proposing bills to prohibit the sale of flavored e-juices under the rationale that flavored tobacco products are directly related to the threat of underage use. Many adult users are speaking out against these claims, justifying that e-juice flavors are actually in the public’s best interest. Nevertheless, many officials are seeking to restrict these life-saving alternatives, even in direct opposition of public outcry.
While many states have previously passed laws classifying the use of vaping devices to match that of their tobacco-based counterparts, some have gone beyond to restrict public spaces. This is the case with such states like California, Hawaii, and North Dakota, with Georgia specifically stating that the restriction applies also in city parks. However, these measures have not seemed harsh enough for some states.
In the case of both New York and Illinois, bills NY-S8610 and SB2332 were passed on May 31st. Ironically enough, restricting access to some of the best alternatives to tobacco on National No Tobacco Day.
Votes in both states Thursday resulted in measures to restrict the sale of flavored vape products to legal adults under fears of hypothetical access for adolescents. The NY bill’s wording even states that conventional cigarette usage has declined but that seems to make no difference. In the case of IL, many flavor categories have been flagged, including Fruit, Candy, Dessert, and other e-liquid options. This eliminates one of the biggest draws for adults to stick with vaping as opposed to going back to tobacco products, which have been proven to kill as many as 500,000 people a year.
Photo Credit to Stefan Didak
Thankfully, not all opportunities to speak up have passed. This coming week, on June 5th, San Francisco and surrounding cities will be voting on Prop E. Not only does this proposition have the potential to restrict users from purchasing flavored e-liquid products but also could lead to the shut down of many small businesses that rely on the sale of those products as well. Luckily there is a very devoted force of vapers standing up to the unfair proclamations that these flavors are being used to target adolescents and using their voice to promote the benefits to alternatives to tobacco products.
On May 31st, a group of demonstrators connected to the No on Prop E movement protested outside City Hall to show support of local vapers and business owners to keep their freedom. For more information on the movement and the upcoming vote this coming Tuesday, you can check out www.noprope.com as well as www.twitter.com/LetsBeRealSF.
What’s to Come
While some readers may have the opinion that these issues don’t affect them, I would suggest looking into Canada’s recent implementation of their Bill S-5. Much like many of the bills being pushed forward in the United States, the bill puts a regulation on flavored vape juice but the main difference is that they are also restricting devices and classifying them as prescription-required products. Increasingly worrying is that any promotion on the facts that vaping is a safer alternative to tobacco products has been completely prohibited. The CDC has reported that vaping is “potential to benefit adult smokers if used as a complete substitute” as well as the number of smokers has decreased. Bill S-5 was passed last year, taking effect on May 24th and resulting in many online orders being returned.
With the influx of regulatory actions across the United States, it is only a matter of time before the federal government is forced to take notice and make a decision concerning the United State’s stance on vaping. Without proper representation by the vape community to get the real benefits to officials, this could very well lead to blanket statutes for the entire country. That’s one of the most important reasons that every single one of these bills, no matter whether it’s state- or city-wide, needs to be addressed with utmost attention by the vaping public.
So what can be done by the average vaper? Through all this, getting informed about not only your local government’s response but those around the country is integral to keeping your rights. The next step is passing that knowledge on to others. Get the facts out there to combat the lies being perpetrated by the opposition. For those not up-to-date on the regulations, there’s a number of resources to better equip those that may not be politically-inclined. Check out the American Vaping Association ( www.vaping.org ) and the Consumer Advocates for Smoke-Free Alternatives ( www.casaa.org ). With constant updates on proposed bills and regulations around the country, these both will provide a plethora of information for those seeking it, as well as provide facts to use in defense of smoke-free alternatives that you can use to help inform your local officials when propositions are put forward. This knowledge can also be beneficial to help convince traditional smokers among your family and friends that may want to break free of the addiction that kills nearly 480,000 Americans a year (according to the CDC).
Another avenue for those wanting to speak up is an Open Opinion Request that the FDA is currently taking comments concerning the issue of flavored products in relation to adult users, as the constant argument by the opposition is that these flavors are used simply to attract adolescent users and not to provide a more enjoyable alternative for adults. By going to www.regulations.gov/document?D=FDA-2017-N-6565-0001 you can send the government your opinion on this issue. Over 16 thousand comments have been received thus far. Submissions will be accepted both electronically and written until June 19, 2018.The most important voice in the defense of vaping products is your’s, the consumer’s. People like you are the lifeblood of the industry. Your stories are most important. Speak up about the benefits of vaping as opposed to traditional tobacco products. With every voice that speaks up, more lives can be saved. This is an ongoing war against your freedom and the public health. You are our best defense.