State Lawmakers Propose A New Vaping Ban That Would Go Even Farther Than The Recently Enacted Federal Version
The new decade has not been kind to the vaping industry or the many who have quit smoking thanks to it. Following the announcement of a looming federal ban on flavored vapor pods, lawmakers in California have proposed new vaping rules set to be even more restrictive than the Trump administration’s.
If passed, SB 793 would make California the first state to completely ban all flavored vapor and tobacco products. Massachusetts had passed a similar measure restricting the sale of all flavored vapor products, but only under an emergency order, which recently expired and replaced with permanent regulations.
California’s proposed prohibitive policy goes far beyond the Trump administration’s federal flavor ban, which only impacts closed-system pod-based devices and excludes menthol. SB 763 would not only ban vape juice for open-system devices but would include menthol offerings and even ban the sale of flavored and menthol tobacco as well.
Harm-reduction experts and public health scholars have warned that prohibitionist policies are simply not effective, and flavor bans will turn former smokers back to cigarettes by restricting access to vapor products. The bipartisan group of lawmakers who introduced the legislation stated that the proposal was aimed at curbing teenage vaping.
Proposed Prohibitionist Policy
On January 6th, a bipartisan group of California lawmakers proposed SB 763, which is set to be the most restrictive statewide vaping ban in the United States. The bill would ban all flavored vapor products, including menthol and effecting open-system devices. The bill also bans other flavored tobacco products, including menthol cigarettes, and even restricts smokeless tobacco and shisha as well.
The proposal comes just days after the announcement of a federal ban on flavored vapor products by the Food and Drug Administration. However, that ban only impacts closed-system pod-based vaping devices, while also exempting menthol offerings. The proposal comes just after Governor Gavin Newsom called for a new California tax on nicotine content in vapor products, at a proposed $2 for every 40 milligrams of nicotine in a product.
Senator Jerry Hill, who led the proposal, stated the new legislation was aimed at protecting children and teens from accessing vapor products. “Flavored tobacco products are the gateway to nicotine addiction,” he said in a statement. “The tastes and aromas of candy, fruit, and other popular flavors insidiously entice children, teens, and others into unhealthy and potentially life-threatening habits.”
Tony Abboud, executive director of the Vapor Technology Association, has pointed to a litany of research by harm-reduction experts and public health scholars noting the dangers of prohibitionist policy and the potential impact of flavor bans in particular. “We know a flavor ban is simply the wrong policy — bans don’t work, they never have,” he noted. “A flavor ban will drive people back to combustible cigarettes, the leading cause of preventable death and disease in the U.S., or lead to illegal sales with a new and larger black market.”
Facts About Vaping
Harm reduction experts and public health scholars have repeatedly warned that flavor bans only serve to potentially deter current smokers from quitting, as well as turning former smokers back to cigarettes. Research from Yale University found that flavor bans result in limited options for e-cigarettes and an increased offering among combustibles, which may deter smokers from quitting and turn quitters back into smokers.
There is a wealth of data that demonstrates the remarkable efficacy of vaping in aiding smoking cessation. One such study from the University of Louisville found that vaping was the single most effective form of smoking cessation, even more than prescription options.
There is also a collection of research noting the reduced harm posed by vaping compared to smoking. Research from the Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center found vaping to be 93% safer than smoking.
In addition, current evidence indicates there is little to no risk of harm to long-term vapers. According to research from the National Academy of Sciences, vaping is not only less harmful than smoking, but there are no long-term health effects associated with long-term usage.
Vaping may be our single greatest asset in helping the battle against the smoking epidemic, which claims millions of lives throughout the world a year. Prohibitionist policies restricting vaping only hamper this live-saving potential, which in turn places public health at risk.
Regulations aimed at restricting youth access should be common-sense and fact-based, such as raising the minimum age of purchase from 18 to 21. Measures such as flavor bans only serve to harm current and former adult smokers rather than protect teens.
Vapers and the industry at large must continue to be vocal about the benefits that vaping has offered their health and lives. Civic engagement and informative discourse are some of the most potent ways to shift public perception and regulatory momentum.
How do you feel about California’s proposed vaping ban? What do you believe the more significant implications will be for the vapers and vape shops in the state? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below, be sure to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to receive all the latest vaping news!
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