Arizona State Senate Committee approves new vaping regulations in an effort to curb teenage use.
Lawmakers throughout the country have been scrambling to enact legislation regulating the sale and use of vaping devices in an attempt to curtail usage by minors. Despite active efforts at self-regulation and mounting evidence supporting the contrary, politicians continue to rush to impose new regulations on the still burgeoning vaping industry.
Arizona joins several states across the United States, as well as nations such as the Philippines, in an effort to curb teenage nicotine usage by regulating the vaping industry similarly to the tobacco industry. The move comes as industry lobbyists say that vaping and smoking rates are at some of the lowest levels of all time.
Senators in favor of the bill argue that regulating vaping products as tobacco products would reduce youth purchasing and use. Industry leaders against the bill say regulating vapor products like tobacco undermines the entire point behind using vaping devices.
Parents and anti-vaping activists continue to push politicians to enact new rules and regulations on vaping products similarly to tobacco in the name of protecting children and teens. With the proven efficacy of vaping as a smoking cessation aid, this constant grouping together with tobacco creates a negative association which deters people from seeing vaping as a viable reduced-harm alternative.
More Regulations For The Industry
The Arizona State Senate Committee on Health and Human Services voted without dissent to classify vaping devices and e-liquids as tobacco products. The bill places Arizona in a long list of municipalities, states, and countries that have imposed their own regulations on vaping products and devices.
State Bill 1009 would subject these products to all the same regulations and restrictions imposed on cigarettes and other tobacco products. This move may restrict the online sale of vaping devices and e-liquid to residents of Arizona.
Gibson McKay, a lobbyist for the Vapor Technology Association, objected against the new bill. McKay stated that his trade groups members take no issue with restrictions on purchases to minors, even going so far as get Rep. T.J. Shope to sponsor legislation that would impose penalties on outlets caught selling to them. McKay says their issue comes with being placed in a category similar to tobacco products, arguing they sell a reduced-harm glycerin vaporizing product instead.
Sen. Heather Carter is championing the added regulation. She argues that if vapor devices and products were truly smoking cessation aids, the industry would have them registered as medical devices with the FDA. That classification allows those products to be exempt from Arizona law and sold online, like nicotine gum and lozenges.
Why Vaping Is Important
Evidence continues to mount, showing the efficacy of vaping as a smoking cessation aid. A study by researchers from the University of Louisville shows that vaping is the most effective tool we currently have at our disposable, beating out prescription alternatives such as Chantix.
SB 1009 was created in an attempt to curb the so-called teenage vaping “epidemic” often perpetuated by politicians and the media. Despite these claims, a report by Action on Smoking and Health that included over 60,000 teens found that only between 0.1% and 0.5% of non-smoking teens take up vaping after trying it a handful of times.
Landmark research conducted by Public Health had shown that vaping is 95% safer than smoking all the way back in 2015. That study also concluded that there is no evidence that vapor products act as a gateway to tobacco smoking for minors.
As if that wasn’t enough, a study published in the Journal of Aerosol Sciences suggests there is a 57,000 times lower risk of cancer from vaping as opposed to smoking. This research concluded the particulate matter vapers were exposed too was far less harmful compared with the combustible byproducts from smoking tobacco.
There are significant potential negative ramifications for public health by grouping and regulating vapor products in the same way as tobacco products. These restrictions may potentially deter and create new barriers for smokers looking to quit and improve their health.
Politicians hastily imposing heavy-handed regulation in the fear-mongering name of protecting the children only serves to create roadblocks for the adults who can truly benefit from these potentially life-saving products.
Broad sweeping legislation like SB 1009 out of Arizona show that politicians aren’t properly informed on the current science surrounding vaping. Voters need to stand up and against politicians that actively stifle their freedom and liberties.
The vaping community needs to band together both in vocal support and civic engagement to ensure politicians understand our needs as citizens concerned for our health. Our voice and our votes are our single greatest asset in the war for our vaping rights.
Do you believe vaping should be regulated similarly to smoking? What helped you the most when you decided to quit tobacco? Do you believe the teenage vaping “epidemic” is a real public health concern? Don’t forget to like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and be sure to check back here for our latest news and articles!